I was born in 1958 so that makes me 54 years old (It's just a number!). My family was your average middle class suburban type...2 sisters and 2 brothers and a hard working stay at home Mom and 9 to 5 working Dad. We were your typical Canadian family that sat together to watch the Ed Sullivan Show every Sunday night. My parents paid $11,000.00 for a brand new house back then!
I always loved swimming and playing in water, the regular baths I got was just the beginning :) Growing up in the sixties was full of many changes with music, the space race and politics ( I remember watching the J F Kennedy funeral on our Marconi square box TV.. It was a very interesting era, cheap gas and food. As I recall I could go down to the local corner store and buy a soda and a bag of popcorn twists for 25 cents.
It was purely by chance finding out I could run fast. One day in the 4th grade I raced a bunch of older kids and beat them all. It meant automatic membership to the track team. "Run Forest Run!" (Photo 1971). It was a real gift to have the opportunity to participate in sports and learn all about competition.
In Kamloops where I live there are endless hiking trails which my wife and I love to do along with mountain biking and kayaking. You know the saying "getting back to nature?" It's a great way to clear your head and appreciate life.
I'm here with my dog Rudi, we adopted him from the pound and had lots of great years with him pushing us every day to take him for a run. Working out is also a routine that I like to stick to and it keeps up the strength which you need especially working in a trade.
I Love playing guitar.. (Photo taken in 1981 at a local studio). It's very relaxing to sit down and play! My favorite music is the Jeff Beck, Eagles, Blue Oyster Cult, Tommy Emanuelle (Google him he's great!), Neil Young and anything with guitar from the fifties on.
Getting Into The Trade
Thinking About What Trade to Pursue
Metalwork was always my favorite class in high school and getting into that trade was definitely my first choice. However once talking to the apprenticeship board counselor in 1977 it was clear that Heavy Duty Mechanics was the trade of the future.
He was absolutely right and I have no regrets. Once you get your Mechanic Certification and Inter-Provincial the world is your oyster. You can find work if you're willing to move, the demand for Mechanic Tradesmen is huge right now. As a matter of fact I know that Mechanics in Fort McMurray Alberta (Tar Sands)are making close to $50/hr.
Heavy Duty Mechanics Pre-App
So luckily I got into the local college and took the 6 month pre-apprenticeship course. That really developed my core as a Mechanic with theory and practical experience that set me on the right track to go out and apply for jobs with confidence.
The First Job
In July of 1977 I got hired as a 2nd year apprentice at Afton Mines just 15 minutes out of town (how lucky was that?........ along with 1 year credit for the pre-app training).
Moving On For More Experience
Mining is a great place to work but I was lacking practical experience so in my 3rd year I got hired in Fort St. John at a Cummins dealer and gear repair shop. Talk about being thrown to the wolves....that was the best experience ever. I was doing engine in-frames, 13 speeds and differentials left and right. Including the dreaded electrical problems (after lots of hands on I couldn't wait for the next short circuit or no start / charging problem). Basic theory is something I use every time along with common sense.
|Journeyman Mechanic Certification|
Moved Back Home
A couple of years passed by and I moved back to my home town (homesick), worked back at Afton Mines then on to an International dealer getting a great background on IC products. After being laid off I got a job with the local GM dealer as a medium duty mechanic. It was Topkick and Isuzu heaven :).
Almost 7 years passed by there when I had an opportunity to get on with the local school district bus garage and up to now I've been there for 18 years. It's a fleet of 75 school buses along with all the support equipment. I've advanced to Shop Foreman and it's a different view from an office delegating work and managing inventory.
There is always interesting problems that come in to the shop and I enjoy the diagnostic process. Common sense is the first step to any problem and looking back at the vehicle history sometimes helps with the troubleshooting process.
Writing Articles For STN Magazine
Approximately 1 year ago I started writing articles for "School Transportation News Magazine" and thoroughly enjoy it. Topics have varied with articles on "ULSD" "Diesel Heaters" and a case study on building a fleet maintenance garage from scratch. Here is a link to one of my articles on building a transportation facility.
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