Q: What is your role with Quinte West and how long have you been with the City?
A: I’m one of four mechanics on a team in charge of the maintenance, diagnosis and repair of all the City of Quinte West vehicles and equipment. I do maintenance for light-duty vehicles, small engine equipment, as well as big trucks and large vehicles. This is my fourth year with the City.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The best thing about my job is being able to work closely with the other employees in the shop. There are four of us mechanics on the team, myself, Randy, Pete and our boss Randy, and we all bring different backgrounds and skills to the table. Randy has a background from the truck side of things, Pete has a background in equipment repair, I have a background in automotive repair, and our boss Randy oversees the crew. So it’s really handy that we get to work together as a team and get things done. Quinte West is also really good at providing us with any training that we need, so I like the fact that we are constantly learning new things about the field.
Q: What’s the most challenging/rewarding part of your job?
A: Sometimes it’s tough to find cost-effective solutions for the City. We always try to find quality solutions that will actually last, instead of “band-aid” solutions. Specifically, with parts, there may be a certain part that is the cheapest option but will only last us two years, or we could pay a little more for a part and it will last us up to 10 years. There are pros and cons to every fix, so it is our biggest challenge to weigh them appropriately for the best choice. Additionally, vehicles and equipment are constantly evolving when it comes to parts, systems, tools and prices, so it can be a challenge to stay on top of the knowledge surrounding the ever-changing technology and equipment. The feeling of repairing something effectively and quickly is the best part of the job. Even if it’s a small fix, it’s nice to know we did our part in making sure our coworkers have the proper equipment to do their jobs. Nobody likes sending off a vehicle or piece of equipment and having to wait a week to get it back from a shop. The fact that we’re in-house makes it more efficient for all City employees. It’s nice to make people’s lives a little easier.
Q: How does a person get into a career like yours?
A: If someone wanted to get into this career, they would have to register under the Ontario College of Trades, and they would have to be registered through a facility associated with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. From there, they would take a four-year apprenticeship. This requires a certain number of hours working hands-on, as well as course material. I did my training at Centennial College in Scarborough and went on to complete the General Motors ASEP (Automotive Services Educational Program). I found the hands-on experience was helpful with gaining confidence in the job, and the training was amazing.
Q: What is something you wish people knew about your job?
A: There’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to being a mechanic. I think a lot of people have this idea that mechanics just have a hammer and a wrench and things get fixed with ease, but that’s just not the reality of it today. With the electrical systems of vehicles these days, we have to have so much more knowledge under our belts than ever before. Not to mention, we have to supply our own tools. Most mechanics who have been working for a number of years have their own collection of tools that is usually worth between 10 thousand dollars and 40 thousand dollars. The City of Quinte West has been awesome with supplying us with specialty tools that we need, but mechanics usually have their own set of main tools. When the industry/technology surrounding vehicles changes, our tools have to evolve and change too.
Q: What’s your favourite thing to do/eat/see in Quinte West?
A: I love the park spaces and outdoor activities in Quinte West. I bring my kids down to Centennial Park a lot, the waterfront is awesome down there. Quinte West does a great job at hosting all kinds of outdoor events like Ribfest, things like that. Oh, and can’t forget Wannamakers! Definitely one of my favourites.