The City of Montgomery Fleet Management Department is responsible for keeping over 1,400 vehicles on the road. From police cruisers to fire engines, the list is lengthy, diverse and challenging.
Inside the department’s headquarters in downtown Montgomery, J.F. Ingram State Technical College graduate Christian Parham is one of a dozen mechanics in the diesel or “heavy” shop which is responsible for an inventory of 400 plus trucks, busses, and equipment. An asphalt spreader has just left to yard, and all around sanitation trucks are getting routine preventative maintenance. Parham’s task for the day – troubleshoot and repair a dump truck.
“It’s never the same day twice,” said Parham, a graduate of ISTC’s diesel mechanics program who came to the department in 2017. “You have to be prepared to handle whatever rolls through the door.” Department director Walt Lilley describes Parham as an “excellent mechanic” with strong communications skills and the ability to remain calm and productive when the pressure is on. “Everyone needs their vehicle fixed now,” said Lilley, “and it’s up to the mechanics to make that happen.”
In addition to completing the 15-month diesel mechanics program at ISTC, Parham served as a student lab aide for ISTC diesel mechanics instructor Randy Hull for 18 months. Parham credits success in his current job to skills he learned working for Hull. “He gave me responsibilities that helped me develop confidence in myself,” said Parham. “Everything he teaches his students about what it takes to succeed on the job I’ve used right here.” One of Parham’s goals is to return to the classroom and share his journey with other students. “I want to let other students know what’s possible if they learn some skills and stay motivated.”