From Auto Repair Hobbyist to Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Zack Maldivia, Machinist at Athens

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From Auto Repair Hobbyist to Heavy Equipment Mechanic

Young mechanic is going places fast with Athens Services.

Zack Maldivia has turned his passion for auto mechanics from a hobby to a career. At age 20, he services and repairs heavy construction equipment at landfills and transfer stations in San Bernardino County.

A Family Affair

Zack joined Athens Services in 2021 when his father, Athens Operations Supervisor Alfredo Valdivia, notified him of an opening at the Mid-Valley Landfill in Rialto.

The position was perfect for Zack. His interest in auto mechanics began when watching – then helping – Alfredo restore a 1967 Chevrolet Impala. At first, he helped by holding lights and handing him tools, but over time he took on more tasks under Alfredo’s guidance.

Zack’s skills evolved to the point where he began to see the potential for turning his hobby into a career. He dreamed of opening a garage and restoring classic cars.

From Home Garage to a Career

Zack began as a Lube Technician for Athens, working on bulldozers, compactors, and other heavy equipment at the landfill. He was responsible for daily inspections, checking fluids, and performing maintenance when needed.

His supervisor, Landfill Operations Manager Tim Johnson, followed Zack’s progress and noticed him taking on additional repairs and responsibilities. He encouraged him to apply for a heavy equipment mechanic position.

“I was excited,” Zack said. “I was hoping to move up to mechanic in the next 5-6 years, but it happened a lot sooner.”

He is now part of a team working alongside more experienced mechanics on daily repairs and maintenance. Zack often turns to them for advice, knowledge, and wisdom to help better his craft.

Based at Mid-Valley, he often travels to other landfills and transfer stations in Redlands, Victorville, Running Springs, and Barstow to work on heavy equipment as well as collection and transfer trucks.

His next goal is to become a lead mechanic to help others grow and develop. For now, he’s enjoying his current role. “I get to handle all the machines and still have fun,” said Zack.

Zack Maldivia and Alfredo Valdivia

Building a Car While Building a Future

In his free time, Zack is building a car from the ground up – a 1961 Chevy pickup.

At first, he planned to make minor repairs, clean it up, and get it running. But the project has grown. He took apart the engine and stripped the truck down to the frame. His goal is to transform the vehicle into a muscle car with much more horsepower.

Whether maintaining a 20-ton bulldozer or building a classic car in his garage, Zack enjoys turning wrenches on vehicles. “I see it as a puzzle, taking it apart and putting it back together. I want it to be perfect.”

Zack is an inspiring example how far someone can go in a short time by following their passion. Athens Services has opportunities across various disciplines; visit to start your career today.

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