Coming from a family of mechanics – including his father, his uncle, and his brother, Bullock was warned by others that if he turned his love and curiosity of mechanics into a full-time job, he might lose his passion for it. Now, working as a fully licensed heavy equipment off-road mechanic with his own business, Bullock said nothing could be further from the truth.
Bullock explained that his career got off to a rocky start when there was little opportunity to secure a mechanical apprenticeship where he lived in the small, border town of Creston, B.C. However things took off when he secured a first-year apprenticeship as a heavy duty mechanic in Fort McMurray, Alta. After a few months, Bullock made the decision to move to Calgary where he finished his on-the-job training and education, ultimately earning his Red Seal certification in the trade.
Bullock would go on to work for companies like Hertz Equipment Rentals in Alberta and United Equipment Rentals in B.C. Working on equipment rentals gave Bullock an opportunity to gain experience with machines that were typically used by clients in the oil and gas industry.
Bullock explained, “Because there is so much diversity when it comes to rental equipment I was learning how to fix all kinds of things – generators, compressors, scissor lifts, forklifts, telehandlers – some things I didn’t even know existed.”
With encouragement from his wife, Franky Bullock, he agreed to move to Hyas, where they purchased an acreage and set up a homesteading lifestyle with their four children. He soon found local work, while balancing the needs of his children, his farm, and his wife’s career as a registered nurse. He gained a lot of experience working on farming equipment for seven years at a local ag equipment dealer.
Eventually, Bullock said he grew tired of investing all of his energy into companies he didn’t have a controlling interest in, and he began to envision a shop of his own. He and Franky made the decision for him to leave his job and start-up Bullock Mechanical from their home.
“I can still remember those first weeks – they were intense,” recalled Bullock. “Even though I knew this is what I wanted to do it was a bit nerve-racking. I was working out all the kinks in our new-to-us service truck and quickly coming to realize that we needed a shop." The couple went on to discuss the options of building a shop on their property or looking for one to rent.
“My wife began asking everyone she met if they knew of a shop to rent. Eventually, we discovered the RM of Clayton had a building they had outgrown. It was up for sale and it was just down the road from our farm in Hyas. It was perfect, so we made an offer to buy it. Bullock Mechanical moved into the building in 2017 and things have been really great ever since. Just recently, we did some renovations and purchased the building next door for extra storage.”
After four years in business, Bullock Mechanical has settled nicely into Hyas. The shop serves clients such as farmers, ranchers, and contractors. To keep up with the demand, a new staff member, Cole Rubletz, was brought on as a second-year Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprentice in August of 2020.
Bullock states: “I have never experienced more job satisfaction than working here in this old shop in the small town of Hyas. I can't begin to express the gratitude that I feel every time someone trusts me with their equipment. Honest, hardworking people are my kind of people and that’s who my customers are. Working in the ag industry isn’t always a piece of cake as any farmer will tell you, long hours during seeding and harvest in all conditions, but I am so happy to have the opportunity to be at their service when needed.”
It being a small, family-run business, Bullock enjoys teaching their young children the ropes in the shop. They have dabbled in learning to weld and love when they can hand tools to their dad.
A few years back, Bullock came across a decommissioned firetruck that was owned by the Village of Hyas. He learned the vehicle had been put up for sale but had received little interest. He made a successful offer and brought the truck home – much to the delight of his wife and four children who now enjoy Sunday drives in the vintage beauty.
“The family loves the firetruck,” said Bullock. “I’ve actually had quite a few offers from people who want to buy it. I always say – you’ll have to negotiate with my kids, because they have now claimed the truck as their own.”
For more info check out Bullock Mechanical on Facebook, or give them a call at (306)547-1338.