"Preparation is key, whether they do their own research on their own time, whether they seek out training on their own, or whether it's preparation provided by their employer.
"There are a few technicians who have the contest anxiety factor, but I think the guys who have been here a few times are beyond that. So, just keeping a calm, level head at each Skill Station is priceless.
"Since we're doing electronic diagnostics on the engine, the essential tool for this Skill Station is basically a PC or laptop with software-based diagnostics. On top of that, the technician needs a good quality multi-meter and a full set of leads to go with that. Each manufacturer wants you to use specific pins for doing things like sensor troubleshooting and harness pin-out tests; you don't just jam your multi-meter lead into the connector, because it's probably not the right diameter and you'll damage the connector."
Drivetrain Chair--National Training Development Coordinator for Eaton Corporation
"You see these guys go through the stations and some of them struggle a little bit, and some of them are really on top of their game. It helps me where I need to be as far as the level of training I develop: do I need to tone it down a bit, or do I need to pick up the pace? That's what I get out of it.
"We've flipped the page for this year. It's still going to be driveline related, but there's going to be some computer work, there's some hands-on, underneath the truck work. Without spilling the beans, they're going to be challenged this year.
"Last year at the Skill Station, we had all the service literature in front of the technicians, and some of them would skip through stuff, and not follow step-by-step. Your service strategy should be to start at step one and go all the way through to step ten, without skipping step three or six or eight. That's how you diagnose stuff properly.
"We preach it in our training classes: they have to follow the manuals. There's enough information in the manual to make a proper diagnosis, but there are some who still like to skip through the steps. We're baffled by it.
"Generally when you skip steps it takes you down the wrong repair path. It brings more costs in labor, it brings more cost in parts, and the truck is down longer, so it's a bad deal.
"Essential tools for this Skill Station are a strong mechanical background, and, equally important, a strong electrical background. Electronics is here to stay, and it's only getting more complicated."
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?