Mechanic Chuck Browe has been employed at National Trails for two years. He was recruited to the Southfield, Michigan, company in 2019 by its President, Austin Arksey, who had worked with Browe for more than 12 years at previous companies before purchasing National Trails.
“I knew I wanted him to be part of the team because of his vast knowledge of the equipment, and his outstandingly positive attitude is contagious, helping us promote a positive culture throughout,” Arksey said of Browe, who serves as the company’s lead tech. “Through his team, he is in charge of making sure that our school bus and motorcoach fleet is safely placed on the road each day.”
Bus & Motorcoach News caught up with Browe to hear about why he loves working on motorcoaches, his career highs and lows, and his passion for the business.
What repair or job gives you the most satisfaction when completed?
The most rewarding part of being a lead motorcoach mechanic is the opportunity to mentor the younger generation of mechanics and to impart joy for the position.
What’s the strangest or most bizarre repair or fix you’ve done?
I once boarded a plane from Michigan to Virginia to perform an urgent repair on a charging problem on a motorcoach at the customer’s destination site to prevent them from returning to a stranded vehicle after their scheduled event. This resulted in no lapse of service and made for a very satisfied customer.
What’s your go-to phrase?
“I’m just sayin’!”
How did you become a motorcoach mechanic?
Thirty-four years ago, I accepted the position as a fleet mechanic at a local ground transportation company. I began working on vans and mini-buses and then progressed to transit buses and motorcoaches.
What are your previous careers?
From the ages of 15-18, I worked as a fence installer for my father’s company. After spending some time as a gas station attendant and auto technician, I became an entrepreneur like my father and opened my own automotive repair shop.
What’s your favorite and/or least favorite repair to do and why?
I love working on electronics and HVAC systems. My least favorite repair is working on toilets.
What’s your favorite bus feature?
My favorite bus feature is Prevost’s tag axle lift system because, if a mechanical problem arises out on the road, the tag axle can be lifted so that the bus can be driven to where it can be safely repaired.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received?
I have been told by multiple employers that I oversaw the best team of motorcoach mechanics around.
What’s your funniest shop/repair story?
I once inadvertently ran over — with a motorcoach — the belongings of an MCI service representative while he and I were looking over the fleet of motorcoaches.
What’s your best piece of advice for a newbie?
Put your heart into becoming good at what you do. Learn all you can about whatever position you hold so that coming to work every day is enjoyable and does not feel like a job.
What’s your favorite bus to repair/work on and why?
My favorite bus to work on is a Prevost because I have worked on them longer than any other type of motorcoaches, and they are mechanic-friendly. My second favorite bus to work on is an MCI, as they are also high-quality motorcoaches.
What’s your career highlight?
After being a motorcoach mechanic for 32 years, I still enjoy working on motorcoaches. Serving in this role for more than three decades has allowed me to meet a lot of people, mentor a lot of young mechanics, travel all over the United States and Canada, and participate in continuing education credits through MCI’s “Technical Tune-Up” training.
What question should we have asked you, and what’s your answer?
Q: “Why have you stayed working on motorcoaches so long?”
A: It is something I am good at and enjoy doing. Every day brings something different. Also, I have been able to travel across the United States and Canada repairing coaches.
Read more From Under the Bus columns.
If you are a motorcoach mechanic and would like to be featured in From Under the Bus, contact Shandra Martinez at email@example.com.