"Absolutely, unquestionably, SuperTech has made me a better trainer. It makes me study for the task, which for me, as an instructor for the past 35 years, makes me stay sharp, and current. So, it drives me into the books and literature as much as we're driving the technicians into the books!"
Wheel End Chair--National Service Manager, Consolidated Metco
"Just like in the shop environment, to successfully compete, the technician will have to understand the requirements, pick the proper parts and tools, and then follow the service information. The Skill Station will typically provide verbal and written information on the requirements of the work station.
"It is a good practice to quickly review the available service information and then read all of the questions and requirements before beginning. If there are both written and hands on activities in the work station, the contestant must decide which portion to do first and then budget his time to be able to complete all of the requirements within the given time frame. This is much like planning a job in a shop environment.
"Essential tools for this Skill Station are a dial indicator and torque wrench, as well as various hand tools and component installation tools like seal drivers and ABS tone ring installation tools."
Engine Mechanical Chair--Associate Dean, University of Northwestern Ohio
"One of the best things the competitors get out of SuperTech is seeing what they can share with the other technicians, as far as their skills, seeing how technicians from other companies do things differently, how you can learn from somebody else. It's that shared knowledge. Also the tech sessions we do after the skills contest are very helpful to a lot of the techs.
"A lot of the points lost by contestants come from not following directions from the manufacturer for that Skill Station. You may know how to do the job, you may have always fixed something in a certain way in the past, and it might have worked for you, but that's not the way the manufacturer recommends it. Especially with today's engines, if you skip steps, you could have broken parts later. So that's one of the crucial things we're going to grade on, especially at my station: being able to follow the steps recommended by the manufacturer.
"One of the big things I like about the contest is talking to all the techs. There are a lot of people from different areas coming together, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of talking to the different techs about what they've learned, and what they see coming in the future in their own jobs. I like to hear their take on things; that way I know what to teach my guys, who are just now entering the field. A lot of the techs we get are very skilled and have a lot of years of experience, so I like to get their opinion on what should be taught.
"Essential tools for this skill station include torque wrench and depth gauges, and knowing how to properly use them when doing a valve adjustment or installing the turbo or fuel pump."
Engines Chair--Department Coordinator, Diesel and Advanced Diesel Technology, Wyotech
"We're going to be testing the technicians' knowledge on Caterpillar Electronic Technician diagnostics. Basically, they need to be familiar with Cat engines and Cat diagnostics. We've done Detroit Diesel twice, Cummins and Cat once, and we're on our second go-around with Cats.
"We can't keep doing the same thing. Ultimately, we've been seeing a change in the technicians. They are getting trained better, they are more prepared for this contest, so we have to try even harder to keep them challenged. We have to change with them.
"I think a lot of the fleets have found through this contest that there are areas where they could be training. They have bought into this so well that they are doing internal competitions, so that their end product--the technician who will go to TMC SuperTech--is the best of the best in their organization.
"What the technicians get out of the competition varies. A lot of your fleet guys probably learn more about areas that they don't necessarily work on, due to warranties, etc., whereas you've got some dealer guys who may not deal with some fleet-side stuff. That's what's great about this particular contest: it's not geared for any one person out there in the industry. Everybody's going to have their strengths, everybody's going to have their weaknesses, and that's why you have to score consistently over all the areas to really place in the top end.
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?