I’m a lead mechanic at the Vehicle Maintenance Facility in San Diego. I’m one of 14 mechanics on tour 3, which is 12:30-8:30 p.m.
We keep postal vehicles rolling. We do regular maintenance to keep them on the road, and we repair them when they break down. We service more than 2,000 vehicles — everything from tractor-trailers to LLVs.
Delivery vehicles require a lot of maintenance. Think of it like this: How many times do you start your vehicle during a normal day? Maybe 4-6 times, max. A postal vehicle gets started as many as 50 times a day, so it’s hard on the vehicle. Sometimes batteries only last a year or six months.
A lot of times, we’ll get response calls and emails in the evening. We then go out in the morning with parts to get the vehicle up and rolling. If we can’t do the job there, we’ll get the vehicle towed in. We aim for a one-day turnaround if it’s something simple. But if the vehicle needs engine work, it might take a week to get it back on the road.
We sometimes provide carriers with loaner vehicles. No matter what, we have to keep the mail rolling.
I’ve been with the Postal Service for 21 years, but I’ve been in the vehicle maintenance business for 35 years. In fact, I got a traffic ticket when I was 11 years old. I was working on a vehicle with my father. He stepped away and I thought it would be nice to take it for a little spin. I drove it down the block. Not a good idea.
I joined the Postal Service for the long term. It was for my family. My wife and I have four children: two daughters and two sons. I also have some little munchkins — my five grandchildren.
That’s what I look forward to: I have my family time in the mornings and the weekends.
The Postal Service keeps a roof over my head and food on the plate. I feel secure. This is a place where I can retire. I’m happy.
“On the job,” a series on individual employees and their contributions to the Postal Service, appears regularly in Link.