2022 40 Under 40: Ace Everett

Aug. 23, 2022
Ace Everett, Mechanic, Mountain Line

Andrew “Ace” Everett has been a mechanic in Mountain Line’s Fleet Department for more than 13 years. His nomination form explains chief problem solver is a more apt title for his role as he is the go-to person for any mechanical or technical issue. Not only does he have the technical know-how to help his own team, as well as neighboring transit systems, but he is also credited with developing innovations that have saved Mountain Line money and ease potential strife for his colleagues.

For example, Mountain Line needed a safety barrier installed between the driver and passengers to offer protection from COVID-19 and allow the agency to resume fare collection. Instead of paying nearly $200,000 for a manufacturer's solution and waiting months for the product to be delivered, Everett fabricated and installed his own safety barriers on the entire fleet. The barrier offered protection from the spread of COVID-19, and it prevented a person from entering the driver’s space.

His drive to find a better solution has resulted in fabricated tools that have improved mechanic shop efficiency, such as the development of a battery mount to remove hybrid batteries from vehicle roofs. He made a tester to diagnose the electrical system of a hybrid bus, designed a battery jump cart compatible with all vehicles, redesigned the snow traction insta-chain to work with buses, as well as cutaway vans and redesigned the fare console and farebox based on driver specifications to eliminate distractions and bolster driver convenience.

Everett serves as lead trainer where he passes on his knowledge to other mechanics to make the staff more efficient with Mountain Line’s fleet. His aptitude was recognized at the Arizona Transit Association Mechanic Roadeo where he won first place among his peers.

Everett is also credited with becoming proficient in multiple maintenance techniques, such as fiberglass work, matching paint and other cosmetic repairs to ensure vehicles can be serviced in-house rather than outsourced.

Everett’s level of commitment goes above and beyond his job description; he regularly clears snow at the shop, on roads or at stops to ensure employees have a safe route to enter the facility and buses and riders can better access stops. Additionally, Everett volunteered his skills to refurbish a donated hot pink motorized wheelchair for a colleague’s grandson into a one with slick black paint with flames, which, reportedly brought “a huge smile to the young man” who would be using it.

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

I’m following in my father’s footsteps. He has been a mechanic at the Arizona Department of Transportation for 27 years.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like being part of the bus builds and inspecting the new ones before they get delivered. I also like coming up with solutions to unique issues. I recently had the opportunity to fabricate a door that was dual purpose – it provides security for the drivers and serves as a barrier for viruses like COVID-19.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

We live in the mountains, so our buses get stuck in the snow in the winter!

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

I’m proud that I’ve been part of this team since the beginning. I was the first mechanic and worked to bring all our fleet services in-house. We previously outsourced everything and, today, we only send out warranty work.

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?

Always ask questions, even if you think it’s dumb, because it could be a good one. I’ve been doing this a long time and I still have lots of questions!