After nearly 50 years in the trade, local mechanic David McKenna is ready to swap the workshop for the open road.
He started in the early 70s at Dever and Sons and is now wrapping up his career after selling his family business, McKenna Mechanical, to another local family.
Mr McKenna, who will be 64 this year, started young.
“I started in September 1972 – I got special leave to finish school at 14,” he said.
“Frankie Cahill was the workshop foreman when I did my apprenticeship. I was straight on the grease gun the first day and just kept going.”
He worked for Devers for a decade until the dealership closed, then at other places around town until starting his business in the mid-90s, growing it from a one hoist to a seven-hoist workshop.
He never dreamed of being a mechanic but is happy with how things went.
“Through family matters, I had to get a job at 14. Originally, I wanted to go to Gatton college and work for the DPI – that was my dream. How big a change is that?” he said.
“Dad had milk tankers and we’d milk cows on weekends for other people. I didn’t mind ag mechanics at school, then I went into motor mechanics, and it’s just gone from there. I don’t have any regrets.”
Over his decades in business, Mr McKenna has put on about a dozen apprentices and has found it rewarding to see many of them working in workshops around town.
He has appreciated support of his staff and customers, past and present, and spoke with positivity about his staff staying on under the company’s new ownership.
He has serviced cars for three generations of some families locally and seen vast changes, from when there was only a handful of car brands to work on, to there being about 65 brands of cars in Australia today.
Mr McKenna said his career had been a team effort, particularly thanking his wife Wendy and their family. He said he looked forward to working on their 100-acre farm at Palen Creek, enjoying time at their family home in Beaudesert and taking trips to central Australia.