Lowell Brown's family has been in the Rim country for generations. His great-great-grandmother was well-known Payson entrepreneur Polly Brown. His father, Pedo, and both his grandfathers, Jim Brown and Charles Hood, are mechanics. Hood died about a year ago.
Pedo works with heavy equipment, and his grandfathers were shade-tree mechanics who did precision work, according to Lowell.
The young man has been working with automobiles most of his life and now has his own business, The Power House Machine Shop at 1008 S. Stover St. in Payson.
Brown and Ron Butler opened the shop about a year ago. In March, Brown took over sole ownership.
"It's not a remove and replace operation," Brown said. "Automotive machinists are the surgeons of auto mechanics."
He works on cylinder heads, engine kits, blocks and crank kits. Brown learned his skills hands-on, working with his father and grandfather and at other auto shops around the community.
"This is my first business on my own," he said. But he really isn't on his own, he is getting tremendous support from his family.
His mother, Debbie, takes care of the shop's front office; his father helps keep the finances in shape and is available to help with some of the work when needed; a sister, Tiffany, provides the courier service for parts and supplies. A cousin, who builds computers, has made one just for the business, so Brown's laptop doesn't have to be used.
The machine shop is Brown's domain though.
"Summer's always kinder (to the business). Most of our work is heat related. So, I'm hoping the business takes off," he said.
A little further in the future, if there is a Payson High School student interested in learning the trade, Brown said he would like to participate in a vocational program to teach the youngster. He is a 1998 PHS graduate.
Brown would also like to have a second shop some day, though he does not yet know where.
"I'm not in this to get rich, but I would like to live comfortably," he said.
He said his main focus is not working with other automotive shops, but helping the backyard mechanics who work on their cars at home and need assistance with especially technical problems.
"Auto Zone and NAPA have both been really great about referring people to us," Brown said. "We have also worked with Chapman's (service department), Coyote Auto and other small auto shops around the area."
He said he would eventually like to be able to have contracts with large operations, the county or state.
"We try to do the best work in the minimum amount of time," Brown said. He explained if he gets a job for a set of heads in the morning, he can usually have the work done in a day. The work is done on a first come, first served basis.
The Power House Machine Shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (928) 472-6800 for more information.