Honoring a Dedicated Craftsman: Reflections on 49 Years of Service

Embarking on his journey into the world of mechanics, Kenneth Yontz's fascination with the craft began during his high school years, undoubtedly influenced by the footsteps of his father.

 Honoring a Dedicated Craftsman: Reflections on 49 Years of Service
by Rasheida Wimberly

Dec 1, 2023

Humble Beginnings

Embarking on his journey into the world of mechanics, Kenneth Yontz's fascination with the craft began during his high school years, undoubtedly influenced by the footsteps of his father. Taking a significant step towards his passion, Kenneth applied for the position of Body Mechanic at the Rail District for Cleveland Transit System (CTS) on January 6, 1975. This pivotal moment would mark the commencement of a lifelong career, preceding the transformation of the transit system into what we now recognize as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA).

Adapting to Equipment Changes

Over the course of several decades, the tools and equipment used by Body Mechanics working on rail cars have undergone a remarkable transformation since Kenneth Yontz's early days. Initially, diagnostic tools leaned more towards manual methods rather than electronic precision. Electronic advancements introduced tools powered by batteries. Equipment such as oscilloscopes, ammeters, ohmmeters, voltmeters, and ultrasonic detection devices also became electronic. Even motors and control systems, including circuit breakers and connectors, experienced significant changes since Yontz first entered the field. The integration of computer technology marked a notable shift from handwritten paperwork to digital logging for readings and other essential information, showcasing changes over time.

Outstanding Contributions

Kenneth Yontz, with his extensive expertise, has undertaken the formidable task of rebuilding numerous trains, some of which were severely damaged. His skill set extends to fabricating new components from older parts, breathing new life into trains that were once deemed inoperable. From crafting new doors to rebuilding control boxes, Kenneth's contributions span a wide spectrum of intricate tasks. Among his proudest achievements are the complete paint job he executed on an older light rail train (Blue/Green Line) in the '90s and the comprehensive overhaul of a heavy rail train (Red Line) over eight years ago. These endeavors, marked by their intricacy and significance, consumed several years of dedicated effort. In addition to these monumental projects, Kenneth takes pride in his daily responsibilities, including inspecting trains, ensuring the functionality of doors, and mitigating potential floor hazards, all aimed at ensuring the safety and operational efficiency of the trains for riders.