The Quest to Be the Best

It's not just the technicians who have to prepare for a competition; imagine the pressure on the organizers!

Late last year, we started a new feature on our website: a guest blog, written by Amanda Schuier of the Omaha Truck Center. Schuier has taken on the monumental responsibility of mounting Nebraska's first annual truck technician competition, and when she expressed an interest in blogging about her experiences on our website, we were more than happy to oblige.

From the very start, we here at Fleet Maintenance were impressed and inspired by Schuier's attitude towards starting a statewide competition from absolute scratch. Some people might have been terrified to take on such a project, some people might have refused, but Schuier took it on without hesitation. In fact, she told us that this was the project she was born to do. It shows.

Perhaps one day you, too, will be called upon to organize a technician competition for your company or your state. Perhaps you'll be asked to volunteer. Perhaps you live in Nebraska, and Amanda Schuier is planning on calling you today!

Shouldn't you be ready?

We have reprinted Schuier's entire blog, thus far, to help you prepare for just such an occasion. You can learn a lot from her experiences, even if it's just a new appreciation for the people who do all the work behind the scenes...

December 1, 2008--

The exact series of events leading up to my involvement with SuperTech may be a bit hazy, but I do distinctly remember a friendly email from Larry Johnson. Johnson, Nebraska Trucking Association President, had recently heard of the SuperTech competition from long-time TMC member and mentor Darrell Hicks. Hicks' enthusiasm must've rubbed off on Johnson, because next thing we knew, Nebraska was poised to have its first SuperTech competition.

Of course, Johnson had to recruit some volunteers to help guide the competition first. Fortunately for me, Omaha Truck Center is a company that fully supports both the Nebraska Trucking Association and professional development events such as these.

After a brief moment that included virtually no hesitation, I decided it was a challenge I was ready to take on. I had the privilege of attending the 2008 TMCSuperTech competition with another representative from Nebraska, Jerry Wessel. Wessel and I were both overwhelmed by the kindness and friendliness of TMC members. We met a lot of great contacts, many of whom offered to help us. Everyone was encouraging. Honest, but encouraging. I can't even begin to count the number of times someone said, "It will take a lot of work, but you can do it!"

Upon arriving home from Nashville, we've kicked it into high gear. Since September, we've created a steering committee of seven members, including representation from fleet members, dealer service members and an NTA representative. We've set a date for our competition (07-08-09, so it's easy to remember!), so there's no turning back now.

In the next few months, I look forward to sharing with you a behind-the-scenes perspective of the inaugural Nebraska SuperTech competition.

December 11, 2008--

My mind is spinning, thanks to all the wonderful comments and suggestions I've received since the launch of the blog. Please don't be shy, feel free to comment anytime.

The SuperTech Steering Committee (STSC for ease of use) had a teleconference this week. Early on in the discussion of SuperTech, one of the members pointed out that we should try to have the competition in a central location. For those of you not familiar with our fine state's geography, Omaha and Lincoln are considered to be in the eastern part of the state. There are a lot more technicians in the western part of the state, and we want them involved.

Fortunately, Kelly Christensen at Central Community College in Hastings stepped up to the plate and hit a SuperTech homerun. Christensen is the associate dean of instruction for trades and industry at Central, and as luck would have it, the campus has a brand-new, state-of-the-art instruction facility for its diesel and truck driving programs. It was a match made in Heaven: a central Nebraska location with enough space to host the first Nebraska SuperTech competition. Christensen is also serving on the committee.

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