Women in IT
Dawn Weikle of Southport PC on growing in the tech industry
On any given day, DAWN WEIKLE can be found neck-deep in motherboards, memory chips, and disk drives happily solving computer problems. As the owner, IT director, and technician of Southport PC, she has been providing software installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and training in addition to hardware repair and backups for 20 years.
Born in New Jersey, Weikle’s family moved to Southport in 1970 when her mother fell in love with the town where her father’s family lived for generations.
“I grew up in a modest home. My dad, the sole breadwinner, was a devoted father who worked hard,” Weikle recalls, “We never did without food or clothing, and we were well-shielded from the knowledge of the day-to-day financial struggles of running a construction company in a small town in the 70s.”
Everyone in the family was involved in the business. Weikle learned early on how to answer the phone professionally, a timeless lesson in customer service.
Weikle loved high school physics and mechanics and also assembling “everything in her home.” Comfortable around construction, it was natural for Weikle to eventually volunteer on construction sites, doing everything from wiring switches, electrical outlets and smoke and motion detectors; to fiberglass installation; roofing and bricklaying. She discovered her love for wiring and later chose to study computer networking.
Being in a male-dominated career field has not been without challenge. A college physics instructor looked directly at her, the sole female student, saying there were some who didn’t belong in the class. And in her own shop, Weikle recalls the time a gentleman stated, “When the man in charge gets back…”
While Weikle sees women making progress, there are still gaps. “Women in technology have to work much harder for the gains we make. However, it ends up worth it.”
Weikle recently discovered a great community of growth-focused female entrepreneurs who helped her with marketing, sales, and business management principles.
“I applied these principles to awaken my business from its COVID-19 slumber and am creating a stronger, more profitable business,” Weikle says. “Running my business is fun again.”
Now she shares what gains she has made with other female entrepreneurs.
“Like many business owners, I’ve had to grapple with some pretty serious head trash around money and invoicing,” Weikle says. “And I’ve noticed this is fairly common among female entrepreneurs who are wondering why their business is not making money.”
Through her online IT tips and tricks called “Yes, You Can Do Technology!” she shares her experience and skills. Additionally, she offers honest, no-cost advice through short personal one-on-one sessions.
“I listen far more than I talk. I ask questions to discover specific business needs and uncover any IT difficulties Then I give a laser-focused gem of advice.”
Weikle’s goals for Southport PC include expansion from brick-and-mortar to online IT services specifically supporting female entrepreneurs.
“I’m serving from the heart, touching people’s lives, and making a difference one person at a time,” Weikle says. “I love working for wonderful people and helping others, but I especially love serving female entrepreneurs in our community.”
To view more of photographer John Muuss’s work, click here.
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