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She can, so she did: Coastal Bend women in non-traditional careers hope to ignite passion in the workforce

Corpus Christi Army Depot Chief Chemical Process Branch Peggy Hatcher told 3NEWS that the first time she saw a spark, she knew she wanted to be a chemist.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Two Coastal Bend women hope to inspire others to take up space in non-traditional careers for women -- just like they have.

ATS Industrial Safety Manager Jamie Flores said that she never imagined taking on a career like the one she has now, but said she wanted to switch out of the nursing field.

Flores was a nurse for 10 years, until one day, she decided to change careers and go into construction. While it was her new passion, Flores knew she had to go back to school. 

"I believe 45 women who started the program and six of us completed it," she said. "Went back to Del Mar, got a second degree. I was a little uncomfortable at first. You know, being surrounded with a bunch of dudes in class and then it just got easy. It was something I really liked, and I never went back."

Flores has been working in construction for six years now. She said for the most part, she has no problem rising to the occasion while on the job.

Corpus Christi Army Depot Chief Chemical Process Branch Peggy Hatcher said that for her personally, she knew what she wanted to be a long time ago.

"I am the first woman to be a chief that oversees chemists at the chemical process plant at the depot," she said. 

Hatcher told 3NEWS that the first time she saw a spark, she knew she wanted to be a chemist. 

"That ignition is passion, so the passion was chemistry. Was it easy? Absolutely not. It was not easy. Did I fail? Yes. Did I fail chemistry two times? Yes," she said. 

Even though Hatcher is now the leader in charge, she said that at one point she was turned away because of a lack of experience. That didn't stop her from trying again later.

"Somebody asked me, 'Do you have management experience?' I said 'Nope, I don't, I want to be a chemist.' So what I did was I walked into Moore Plaza, and applied to become an assistant manager three months later," she said. 

Hatcher said it's nice being the first female chief of her branch, but what's better is knowing she won't be the last. Hatcher hopes other young women will catch the spark just like she did. 

"I go 'Let's pay it forward. Let's go to the science fairs in Robstown, let's go to TM, let's go to Texas A&M and do a demonstration'. Let's pay it back. It's not specific to a school. It's for the children," she said. 

Both Flores and Hatcher hope to show young women, they're paving the way for them.

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