TEMECULA, Calif. – (April 21, 2014) – Customers at Pechanga Resort & Casino who find themselves with a dead car battery have recently been met by a vehicle that looks more like it should be at a hot rod auto show. For eight months, the five person auto mechanic shop at Pechanga Resort & Casino carefully spent any minute of downtime building a small-profile service truck completely from scrap. In the process, they saved four outdated resort passenger shuttles from hitting the scrapyard indefinitely.
“We don’t throw anything away,” says Mike Lemire, Pechanga auto shop supervisor. “When the resort purchased shuttle vans in 2012, we hung onto the old passenger carts that take people to and from the parking lots and the entrance. When the driver pulls up in this truck to help customers, they love it. It becomes an instant conversation piece.”
Featuring bright orange accents and diamond chrome plating, the truck was originally a six-passenger EZ Go shuttle that Lemire says had been rebuilt six or seven times. With thousands of people visiting Pechanga Resort & Casino every day, resort security received an average of 65 calls per month for service such as jumpstarting a dead battery or driving a customer to retrieve a gallon or two of gas. Guests sign a waiver before any assistance is administered. The Pechanga auto shop also tows any of the 48 gas-powered service carts or more than 100 golf carts in case of a breakdown. The custom-built service truck has become the workhorse taking care of all of these jobs.
Lemire says they only spent $381 on new materials for the refurbished service truck. They fabricated the tow boom from handrails from another cart. Crews pulled chrome diamond plating scraps from the resort’s welding shop. They installed seats and a compressor from an inoperable cart.
“Apart from saving the four other carts from ending up in the landfill and doing something nice for the environment, we’ve been able to use this service truck as a training tool for our guys,” says Lemire. “Everyone has their specialties here in the shop, but a project like this allowed guys who are good at mechanics to work on painting, or someone who does welding to get some practice under the hood.”
Pechanga leadership says the resort and the tribe has long upheld a tradition of being kind to the earth, working to preserve the natural resources critical to the region and to California. More information about Pechanga’s work to reduce, reuse and recycle can be found here.