Jonesborough’s Fleet Maintenance Department, a three-man team of automotive experts responsible for keeping the town’s 167 vehicles and wide and varied assortment of other mechanical equipment up and running, has received the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence’s coveted Blue Seal.
From weed trimmers to back hoes, if it belongs to Jonesborough and has a motor that’s out of operation, the guys at the town garage, Fleet Manager Gary Lykins and technicians Jerry Davis and Tommy Norton, are there to take the call. And last month, they secured their department’s station among only three other public and private automotive repair shops in Northeast Tennessee to attain the industry’s most recognized certification organization’s highest distinction.
The Fleet Maintenance Department had been working for ASE “Blue Seal of Excellence” for more than a decade. ASE shop certification requires individual ASE certification for a minimum of 75 percent of its technicians to prove their proficiency in a total of eight automotive systems through a battery of tests and years of experience. “For us, it’s 100 percent,” said Lykins who received his first ASE certification in the mid-1990s and has since become ASE certified as parts consultant, service consultant and master automobile technician. Norton followed with his ASE master automobile technician certification in 2006 and Davis, who marked his 17th anniversary of employment at the town garage on Thursday, completed his ASE heavy truck certification early this year.
Notice of the men’s Blue Seal achievement arrived with little fanfare and was accepted with modesty. “It came in the mail,” Lykins said, and was celebrated the following morning with a round of sausage biscuits eaten on the go. It’s mowing season after all, and the town’s lawn equipment is in need of their attention along with a sundry of other motorized equipment. From garbage trucks to police cars, Lykins said, “Generally, we have about 20 vehicles broken down at any given time.”
Every day brings something new to the shop and its technicians are accustomed to being called away to assist with all manner of mechanical malfunctions. Ill-fitting storm grates. Jammed Dumpster doors. Out-of-order Park and Rec equipment. “It’s a little bit over everything,” Davis said. “The only thing that’s certain is you never know what you’re going to be doing day to day.”