Marla and Marian in their machine shop
Grant Recipient

February 22, 2023

January 2023 Amber Grant awarded to Diesel Engine Repair

Diesel Engine Repairs, LLC

Woman Entrepreneur:
Marla and Marian Boado

We’re excited to announce the $10,000 January Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Marla and Marian Boado, Owners of Diesel Engine Repairs. They are the second qualifier for the 2023 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).

Recently, WomensNet Advisory Board member Jama Hernandez sat down with Michelle for an exclusive interview. You can listen to their conversation and view the transcript below.

Video Transcript

WomensNet: Hi everyone. Thanks for watching. We are so excited today to introduce you to our Amber Grant winner for January, 2023: Marla and Marian, they are sisters and owners of Diesel Engine Repairs.

We’re so excited to talk to them today to learn all about the awesome and amazing things that they’re doing.

Thank you so much for covering out some time. We look forward to getting to know you better, and even learning about this machine that’s right behind you.

Diesel Engine Repairs: Thank you for having the time and setting up the interview. It’s really a great honor.

WomensNet: If you two could explain a little bit about your business, what you do, how you got started… that would be wonderful.

Diesel Engine Repairs: So, as you said, we own a machine shop. And a machine shop has multiple machines, like this one right here, a surface grinder, that can be used to repair a specific part of an automotive engine. In this case, we specialize on truck engines, so we can repair cylinder heads or cylinder blocks — all the components that make a whole engine.

WomensNet: A very necessary skill.

Diesel Engine Repairs: So we learned how to do all this stuff. Back when we lived in Cuba, our dad had a shop in Cuba, but for small cars. We came here in 2015…it wasn’t until 2020 that we decided to start our own business, which is something that is very difficult and hard when you live in a country like Cuba.

So having this opportunity is just mind-blowing.

March, 2020 was when we bought this first machine, we rented a warehouse and we bought some parts and tried to start resurfacing cylinder heads, learning a lot also about the engine, the truck engine parts, which are larger than the ones that we were used to. So a lot of logistics, and how to use the technology for these new parts.

WomensNet: Your story is so inspiring… from starting as young women in Cuba working with dad, learning about cars and machine parts… and then bringing that skill over here and just continuing to build on that base that your dad has given you in that foundation all the way to turning it into a business. It’s truly amazing.

I know a lot of hard work went into that, so that’s truly phenomenal. And also for women working in the trades, especially the automotive business. Women are underrepresented in that group. And so really we find the work that you’re doing just amazing. And so thank you for that. We are so excited to award you the $10,000 this month. Tell us how you’re going to use these funds.

Diesel Engine Repairs: Well, that’s another part of the story. The first time we came to this place, my dad said it was too big for us. Once we started filling it with the machine, we realized that it was too small.

That was after a year and a half of running a business. So we found the other new place. Not too far from here, with this new metal barn. We have a plenty of room, but the only thing that we need was the three phase voltage on the plate. So our plan is to use [the money] and to keep this up and running. So, when you rent a place, every year you have to renew your contract. Maybe after the interview I can show you around the place…

We decided we needed a new place; we want to also at the same time save on rent. And so we’re gonna actually move to this place that has a house and a barn, and that way we can save on the rent of the warehouse. But it wasn’t until we actually got the deed and, we got into all this, you know, it’s a mortgage, so it’s a new debt that have to pay….that you can go to the electric company and, ask them for a quote to get you that three phase service electricity that 80, 90% of the machines run on.

And then there we learn that it takes $18,000 to get the service installed because they don’t have the transformer, the lower capacity transformers. The new location has some transformers on the property. And we saw this is all we need, but then when you actually talk to the electric company, they are like, ‘no, we don’t move them around. The only thing that we can do is get you new ones, so it’s gonna be $18,000.’ And so that was heartbreaking.And you have to pay in advance to get the service.

It was gonna be a slowdown for us, because it feels like it’s a huge stretch. We have to move this machine shop because our rent contract is done next month. We were gonna be slowly trying to save the money to not get into like a big debt right at the moment because that puts some pressure on you. So this $10,000 grant is like half, or a little bit more than half, what the cost is. So we are super excited and we actually already called the electric company and we are gonna go for it. So it’s a big cushion.

So once we get the electricity before the end of the rent, and when we get that installed, then we are moving the machines at the same time. We already moved 2 machines to the new location. So we’re gonna just start, up and running. We’re not gonna get stuck. I think we’re gonna be able to after get out of this location to the new location, we’re gonna have all the machines installed, and we can keep production and not have a hard stop.

WomensNet: Well, it sounds like you two were in desperate need of more space for your shop. So you’re gonna be able to get into the location that will fit your business to be able to have the space that you need. So we are very happy that that is going to be something that’s gonna propel your business forward.

Tell us a little bit more about this machine behind you.

Diesel Engine Repairs: Yes. Well, this is a surface grinder. On the engine, it’s really important to have all the compression inside the liners. So what this machine does — it keeps the flatness on the cylinder head, so if it’s flat, you lose all your compression and your engine has no power, you have leak all over the place. That would drive your mechanic crazy and you will found what is wrong with the engines.

WomensNet: It sounds like a disaster.

Diesel Engine Repairs: If the engine overheats, the middle can bend because of the heat. It loses the flatness of that joint. You have the cylinder head and the cylinder block; they go together with a gasket in between. So if the metals form because of overheat, then you get leaks and you’re not going to have the actual combustion happening properly. So these machines bring the form part or a defective part back to spec so it can grind the surface and get the surface back to the flatness that you need on it.

And if it’s not flat, the compression goes all over the place. You can load your hose and lose the cooling, you can burn more fuel and be highly contaminated. So it’s really important to have all the compression inside the engine. Not out of engine. And the oil we keep inside, and if there is no flat, the oil will be out of the engine and all over the road. So it’s important.

You can actually see it on the smoke. When the smoke is like dark. So it’s important to keep the engine as efficient as possible. And you have all these methods of maintenance to it, repair the parts… you don’t just need to throw the entire engine away and get a new one. You can use the same one and just put it back to the factory specs and then it’s gonna be efficient again and better for the environment.

WomensNet: Maybe you two can tell us about where your shop is located and how the WomensNet network — all our friends and supporters  — can find you, can look you up. How can we do that?

Diesel Engine Repairs: So right now we are in Louisville, Kentucky. We’re actually crossing the state because Louisville, Kentucky borders with Indiana. So we’re ~20 minutes outside Louisville downtown. And we’re getting to Indiana.

WomensNet: What is an upcoming milestone or goal that you have for your business?

Diesel Engine Repairs: As we said, we are moving into this new location where we’re gonna have more space for our machines. But at the same time we’re gonna have space in terms of area as well, not just not just the middle barn. And we are hoping we can actually get into a little bit beyond the machine shop services. We are planning on getting to like the actual mechanics of the engine and do more of the maintenance, the full maintenance. And that’s gonna even be better for truck owners since we can guarantee the machine shop car and then the maintenance. Right now in our community we service transportation companies that have their trucks and they do all the taking apart of the engine and then they bring the part to us. So we’re trying to do the whole thing, which is gonna give a better guarantee for the truck owners. That’s where we see ourselves before the end of the year with the new location.

WomensNet: Awesome. So going from not just machining the parts, but then maintaining them and helping the owners to extend the life of their vehicles that they own…that sounds like a very natural and wonderful thing to expand right into.

Diesel Engine Repairs: Yes.

WomensNet: So we can find you online, on Facebook maybe?

Diesel Engine Repairs: Yes. We are gonna update the address as soon as we are ready to get started in Indiana.

Regarding your question on how to support. It was sort of a hard question because it’s not like we sell a product. I guess our market is smaller because it’s a service. I would say just keep an eye on us; we won’t disappoint you and we’ll try to keep everybody updated through our Facebook page with a lot of content and the cool things that this lady over here can do. Mainly, she’s the more skilled one.

Now that we got it started and we’ve got a lot of support already since the finalist announcement, a lot of new people are following us and giving likes and everything. Just keep an eye on us and we’ll share what we do and we won’t disappoint you.

WomensNet: So Diesel Engine Repairs on Facebook, and that’s where we can find the updated info on Marla and Marian.

I have seen videos of Maria working away in the shop. And there is a phenomenal interview [on Facebook] for any of our viewers that speak Spanish. You two were covered on …perhaps a Spanish news channel… but it’s a beautiful interview. We got a chance to meet dad on that interview. I’m sure he is beaming with pride and so excited at how far you two have come.

So, thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us. We know you two are very busy.

Diesel Engine Repairs: Thank you.

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