Think again: SuperTech Skill Station Chairs get almost as much out of the event as the technicians!
We asked some of the SuperTech2009 Skill Station Chairs to share their thoughts with us about why they volunteer, what they think the technicians get out of competing, and, of course, how being a part of SuperTech enhances their own skills as trainers:
Supertech Chair--Business Development Executive for Delmar Cengage
"Coming from the automotive side, and what I do in my normal job, my thing has always been: find out what the customer needs, and give it to them. The same thing holds with the contest. It's great to have the contest, it's great to have awards, and all that, but the other piece is that if we ask the technicians to demonstrate skills that they should be doing day-to-day in their jobs, then when they complete the competition, they can take their scores, and with their bosses, they should be able to look and see where the strengths are, and where there are areas for improvement where training needs to be done. For a fleet that sends lots of technicians, if they're not gathering all of the data from all of their techs, and determining if there are any consistencies, then they're missing one of the best opportunities to determine where they should be spending their training dollars. That's especially important with the economy the way it is.
"For me, not being a truck guy, but being a former educator working with industry, if we're able to give back to the company that supports SuperTech information that they can use to more cost-effectively spend their training budget, then you know what? We've served a huge purpose."
Fastener Repairs Chair--Shop Supervisor, Crum Trucking
"SuperTech gives the technician the ability to see industry standards on repair procedures that they can take back to their shops. I believe that once a technician gets the taste of the competition, and they see what rewards are at stake, the craving begins to learn all that they can before the next competition. This in turn gets the competitive juices flowing amongst many technicians in their shops, where they may have to compete against each other for the opportunity to be sent to SuperTech by their company. The technicians then become an even greater asset to the company, because of their knowledge expansion.
"In my mind, not following the instructions given to them by the skills station will be the fastest way to guarantee NOT winning the competition.
"But then again, only following the instructions, and forgetting to follow regular safety practices will also guarantee NOT winning the competition. I have seen technicians take their safety glasses off while sitting at a table flipping through the pages of a book looking for the proper procedure or spec, and then forget to put the glasses back on to do the hands-on part of the skill. I have also seen technicians key the chuck of a drill without unplugging it.
"Some of the best technicians that I was able to watch in last year's competition had the skill of talking to themselves out loud so that the judge could hear, as well as see, what they were doing."
Steering & Suspension Co-Chair--Assistant to the Director of Education for Engine City Tech
"Each year we try to change the Stations up a bit to keep them fresh. Sticking with the basics yet challenging the technicians at their level is a challenge for the Station Chairs especially. You have to put together a task that can be done in the allotted time, that is simple and basic enough to test their skill sets, advanced enough for the repeat competitors, so they're not seeing the same thing each year, but level the playing field for all the people that are entered.
"The biggest skill set being tested is not so much memory & recall. It's 'look-up skills,' where to find the information. We do provide either the manufacturer's literature or TMC Recommended Practices, and so a significant amount of it is looking things up, and then understanding what they have found.
It's not just the technicians who have to prepare for a competition; imagine the pressure on the organizers!
SuperTech volunteers get as much out of the event as they put in.
Do your technicians have what it takes to compete nationally?