Sonny Merryman Technician Recognized for Professional Accomplishments

The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and Young Professionals of Central Virginia hosted its third annual Level Up Young Professionals Summit earlier this month on the University of Lynchburg’s campus.

At the event, five outstanding young professionals were recognized for their accomplishments. A host of nominees from community businesses were received and reviewed by the Alliance and Young Professionals Executive committee. The professions of awardees spanned numerous fields from finance, human resources, marketing, and electric vehicle service. Sonny Merryman Senior Electric Vehicle Technician, John Hatcher was named to the list of awardees for his role in the adoption and support of electric buses across Virginia.

John Hatcher Under Electric School BusJohn Hatcher joined Sonny Merryman’s service department in 2017.

“I’ve always enjoyed figuring out how things work and what makes them tick. Before coming to Sonny Merryman, I used to work on small-engine equipment for fun,” said John.

John’s interest in learning new things and his talent made him the perfect fit to service electric vehicles.

“John is the type of person who you can present with a challenge, and he’ll run with it. He sees a challenge as an opportunity to learn and be part of something. When electric buses started coming to Virginia, I knew John would embrace the technology,” said Brady Childress, Vice President of Parts & Service.

John’s interest to learn new things even took him down the path to obtaining his master’s in business administration (MBA) from the University of Lynchburg prior to joining Sonny Merryman. While not a program often associated with a professional in the commercial vehicle service and maintenance industry, unquestionably the leadership training, critical thinking skills, and business acumen he gained in the program have contributed to his success as an electric vehicle technician as well as the leadership he demonstrates to other up and coming electric vehicle technicians.

Sonny Merryman delivered Virginia’s first electric school bus in November 2020 and since then, the company has delivered more than 70 electric buses across the state. To date, the buses have accumulated more than 600,000 service miles.

“With the announcement of the EPA Clean School Bus Rebate Program awards and growing demand for electric buses, we’re going to continue to see significant growth of EVs not just in Virginia but across the country. Ambitious and intelligent technicians like John will be crucial to successful adoption,” said Caley Edgerly, President & CEO of Sonny Merryman.

John is one of few diesel technicians in this region to become fully certified to work on electric commercial vehicles. Sonny Merryman operates a service facility in the Lynchburg region, as well as Ashland (VA), Bristow (VA), and Chesapeake (VA), that employs certified electric vehicle technicians.

“Bedford County operates two Jouley electric school buses and one of them drives by my house every day. Each morning I see one of them, it makes me proud to say, ‘I’m part of that,'” said John.