All in the Family: How One Athens Mechanic Keeps a Proud Tradition Alive

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Vincent Lead Mechanic Rudy Dominguez – and his two brothers – follow in their father’s footsteps as Athens mechanics.

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Vincent Lead Mechanic Rudy Dominguez – and his two brothers – follow in their father’s footsteps as Athens mechanics.

Rudy Dominquez knew at an early age he wanted to be a mechanic. It was an easy choice: His father, David, was a mechanic; brother David Jr. also is a mechanic, and so is brother Salvador.

Not only are they mechanics: All have been mechanics for Athens Services, maintaining and repairing a variety of trucks. Father David is retired now, while David Jr. and Salvador are mechanics at the Salt Lake maintenance yard in the City of Industry, and Rudy works at the Vincent yard in Irwindale.   

A Mechanic’s Mechanic

Rudy has been a mechanic for 23 of his 43 years. He came to Athens from another waste company, was assigned to a couple of yards (Montebello and Salt Lake) before landing at Vincent, and for the past two years has been first-shift lead mechanic.

He opens the maintenance shop at 4:30 a.m. daily as drivers begin arriving to begin their shifts. More than 100 trucks operate out of the Vincent yard. They include residential side loaders, commercial front loaders, specially equipped pickup trucks that provide backyard service to foothill communities, and street sweepers.

“It’s a little hectic in the mornings,” he said. The most common vehicle repairs are electrical, not mechanical, which is not surprising given the growing role of electronics on the vehicles.

Rudy is also one of the yard’s main on-call technicians wherever a truck breaks down, from the San Gabriel Valley to Santa Ana to South Bay cities. In addition to electrical issues, the most common causes of breakdowns on the road are hydraulic leaks and hose breaks, especially on hot days. “We have a two-hour window to repair a truck on the road,” he said. “We usually finish within an hour.” 

A Respected Teacher

Rudy works closely with other mechanics to diagnose and repair vehicles. He trains all newly hired mechanics on the various equipment that operates at Vincent. 

“Rudy’s vast experience and knowledge have made him a huge asset to the operation in terms of limiting our downtime,” says Jaime Guerra, Rudy’s supervisor.  “He can communicate things simply, which allows new hires to absorb information quickly.”

Rudy said much of his knowledge comes from hands-on, real-world experience. He credits the work he has done with his father and other Athens mechanics as providing a form of ongoing training.

A Lifelong Student

Truck operating technology has evolved drastically since Rudy began his career. “It used to be all about manual controls, cable controls, hydraulics. Now, controls are much more computerized, with electric pushbuttons or switches.”

While vehicle technology helps mechanics diagnose problems, it requires Rudy and other mechanics to have computer skills and take ongoing training to keep up with advances in technology. “I like to figure out problems and pass on what I have learned to others. It saves time and makes things easier for everyone.”

An Automotive Enthusiast

Rudy is married and has four children. He said his favorite part of the job is learning something new each day. “There’s something different every day. It’s never boring.”

When he’s not repairing Athens trucks, Rudy enjoys restoring classic cars. One of his favorite projects was a 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe convertible that he restored for a friend.

Rudy is a valued Athens team member who truly exemplifies The Athens Way of doing things! Learn more about Athens at athensservices.com.