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David Brewingto


of its kind nationwide to own and maintain the entire state fleet of school buses. Brewing- ton’s been a fuel truck driver, collision repair specialist, route technician, and annual inspection technician. He also turned down offers to take administra- tive positions because of his love for being in the shop. “I really feel led to provide a hands-on approach to trans- portation,” he explained. Brewington is going on 54 years in


Providing a Hands-On Approach Now, he said a technician


simply goes to the parts win- dow and gets the brake shoes,


complete with lining, that are ready to install on the bus. He also said today’s mechanics need to be more tech savvy than they were decades ago. Those with a good understanding of computer language and mechanical aptitude will succeed.


pupil transportation, and he said he has no immediate plans to retire, as he still has a lot to offer the industry. When Brewington started in the industry, he shared that


there was no formal preventive maintenance program. Back then, mechanics merely changed the oil and torque- ing suspension, and of course responded to breakdowns. In those early years, he added, there was no automation


or prepackaged parts. Components such as engines, trans- missions, starters and alternators had to be built in-house. “I remember each set of brake lining that we replaced had to be removed from the shoe and replaced by hand, using a pneumatic press,” he recalled. “This process re- quired the technician to stand at a press—first mechanical, then pneumatic—while holding the brake shoe and lining and press out approximately 10 to 12 brass rivets per shoe. Each bus has eight shoes, so approximately 80 rivets had to be removed and replaced with each brake job.”


“When I was a new technician, it was all mechanical devices and analog electrical current,” he shared. “Speedometers were cable driven in those days, and now it’s all a digital signal. I could troubleshoot


any electrical circuit on the bus [using a low-voltage circuit tester to detect power, ground and find shorts and breaks in wires]. And now with modern multiplexing, it requires a digital multimeter or power probe. Another big change is the availability of information. A technician today has the virtual world at his or her smart phone, or computer keyboard.” He noted the use of technology has made a big impact


on vehicle maintenance, and modern school buses are more often than not controlled by computers. Brewington said that service personnel must understand all the mul- tiplexing, digital traffic and protocols the industry expects as well as the down-and-dirty maintenance require- ments, such as the lubricating properties of engine oil. ➔


School Transportation News received over 100 nominations for the fifth annual Garage Stars feature that highlights school bus maintenance professionals. Technical editor Robert T. Pudlewski helped narrow down the list of expectational nominees by using the following 10-point criteria:


1. Community involvement 2. Credentials 3. Industry development 4. Leadership 5. Level of responsibility


6. Life experience 7. Regulatory agency commendations 8. Time on the job 9. Training capability 10. Value to the transportation program


www.stnonline.com 21


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