Fleet Services Manager General Services
Born in 1957, Eddie Johnson is the son of Bobby and Patty Johnson. His early interests were hunting, fishing, and cars. While in high school at Elliston Baptist Academy, Eddie drove a laundry truck for Cavalier Cleaners on Poplar. Eddie and his wife Janice married in 1994, and he has one stepdaughter.
His grandad was Superintendent over the Maintenance Shop for the Post Office, and his dad was head of the Motor Pool for the Tennessee Army National Guard. His Dad also liked to work on hotrods. Following in the family tradition, Eddie continues to work on a 1979 Bronco that his father purchased at Oakley-Keesee Ford at Poplar and Collins. In 1976, he began working in the heavy truck, the maintenance division of Oakley-Keesee Ford.
Ray Wright and Hugh Ford hired Eddie to work for the City as a mechanic in 1981. The first shop for working on the City’s fleet of vehicles was at the back of the Germantown Charity Horse Show. There was no bathroom and the employees had to go to the Pickering Center or Public Works. The second shop was within the Public Works area under the City’s water tower. For years, they worked out of the Public Services Complex at 7700 Southern Avenue.
With more years and experience, he would create a Tech Step Program for Fleet Maintenance – Step 1, Step 2, and Master Tech. Each level requires various levels of certifications. The two types of certifications are ASC (Automotive Service Excellence), and EVT (Emergency Vehicle Technician). Both are common throughout the state. There still may be no more than two governmental ASC shops in the State of Tennessee, and Germantown is one such shop.
In September 2014, the Fleet Maintenance Building was built due to a lack of space for accommodating the City’s fire apparatus, issues with maintaining OSHA compliance, and the ability to meet environmental regulations. Fleet maintenance provides scheduled maintenance along with diverse repairs to all City fleet equipment and vehicles. They also supply the fuel for all City vehicles. At one point, the City even owned a street sweeper, but because it ‘lived in the shop”, the City decided to contract out this business.
As Fleet Services Manager, Eddie’s staff is composed of a Fleet Manager, Senior Fleet, Foreman, Shop Foreman, Tech 2, Master Tech, and Vehicle Attendant. Fleet Maintenance is a 24/7 operation.
Under various times and organizational titles, Eddie has worked for Jay Hollingsworth, Harvey Faust, Sam Beach, Pam Beasley, Kristen Geiger and Bo Mills. Two of Eddie’s mentors were Robert Morris, a shop foreman and Bill Gray, whose parents owned Hopper’s Store on Germantown Road.
One unique occurrence involved Unit 126, a Fire Department Pumper that left the roadway and rolled upside down into a ditch. That was February 21, 1990. The brakes overheated in a curve. Eddie keeps photos of such issues in his desk drawer, reminding him of unusual times.
He says that as Fire Engines have gotten bigger, they are more difficult to work on, and the problems center around the emission systems. More parts are now computer operated, and a single scanner to detect problems can cost as much as $9800 each today. Once a diesel engine ran away on him. You would have to watch a You Tube video to understand how tragic that can be for the vehicle, much less the operator or the mechanic.
With Eddie’s quality of service and dedication to the profession, Germantown’s City vehicles now rank in the top 100 fleets in the United States. Preventive Maintenance is at the heart of the life of any fleet. 99% of the City’s vehicles are always up and running, and 99% are ready when due. His staff carries 58 certifications, 31 ASC and 27 EVT; and the Tech-on-Call Program calls for a person on duty 24 hours each day.
Eddie retires on his birthday, February 26, 2021. He will miss his many co-workers and friends, take away years of memories, and go home to work on his Bronco.