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!

The STSC has divided itself into sub-committees, based on TMC's fabulous "How to Host a Technician Skills Competition." I've marked that manual up so many times; I had to print a second copy. We have three sub-committees: "Competition Directors," responsible for logistical organization of the skills stations and contest preparation; "Rules & Judges Directors," responsible for recruiting volunteers and running the judging table; and "Publicity, Promotions & Sponsorship Directors," who will focus on promoting the event to fleets, dealers and vendors.

It's been a busy month for Nebraska SuperTech. As we head into the New Year, I know it will only get busier. I'm looking forward to TMC's Annual Meeting in February where I can solicit help from many of you!

December 18, 2008--

After the first couple of meetings of the SuperTech Steering Committee, we found ourselves a little overwhelmed. We have the date and we have the location, but now what?

As we sat down around our long oval table, the one problem we got stuck on was "how do we actually figure out the scenarios to create for the competition?" We glanced around, waiting for the answer to magically make itself known to us, but it didn't come. As we all shook our heads, I said, "It's time to call in the reinforcements."

Actually, I didn't really say that, but you get the idea. It was the perfect moment for me to pull out the stack of business cards I gathered at TMC's SuperTech in Nashville.

Fortunately for me, I didn't have to twist any arms. I had several great conversations with Carl Tapp and Mike McBurney. Tapp helped established the competition in Arkansas, and McBurney works for Mitchell1. Also, DC Collins from Haldex has been on board since day one and offered some great advice. The knowledge and wisdom of these three is something I hope Nebraska members will aspire to someday. I'm sure it will take quite a bit of time for us to catch up.

Another group that has been instrumental in our planning thus far has been the United States Postal Service. Bonne Karim, manager, facilities & retail branch, NCED, met with me at SuperTech and took me under her wing. Karim also arranged for three of her co-workers to meet with some of the STSC members to get advice for the competition. Karim has also gone above-and-beyond in answering my numerous questions by phone and e-mail. She has the patience of a saint!

My point is that for those of you thinking your state may want to get involved but aren't sure where to begin, all it takes is one phone call or one e-mail to get the ball rolling. And from personal experience, I can guarantee you that once you get that ball rolling it's not going to stop!

January 7, 2009--

July is months away, and I'm certainly aware that the date is only getting closer. But, since we're enjoying a little break in the planning, I thought this would be a good opportunity to go "behind the scenes" to introduce you to the rest of our steering committee, and what they've been working on.

Jeff Hoefer from Nebraska Truck Center and Dave Jacobs from Wick's Sterling Trucks are heading up the judging rules and recruitment of volunteers. They are working hard to get knowledgeable people to work the stations.

Kevin Ingalls from Werner Enterprises is heading up publicity, promotions and sponsorships. He serves as president of Metropolitan Community College's Diesel Advisory Council, so he is good at getting people signed up for things! His years of training experience will help the STSC immensely.

Kelly Christensen from Central Community College and Jerry Wessel from Vantage Pointe Homes, who have both been previously mentioned in this blog, are in charge of logistics. These gentlemen have been poring over catering menus and figuring out the best way to stage all of the stations. Both bring a lot of good ideas to the committee.

So there you have it: the 2009 STSC. We also are working closely with the Nebraska Trucking Association, who sends a staff member to our meetings. Stay tuned for more fun from Nebraska!

January 14, 2009--

From an outsider's perspective, it may be easy to think SuperTech is just a frivolous, expensive idea. But as I've learned from many Technology and Maintenance Council members, this is absolutely incorrect.

In a conversation I recently had with Nebraska Trucking Association president Larry Johnson, he mentioned how excited he was to have the competition in the state. He said it's a great way to highlight the professional skills of our hardworking technicians in Nebraska, and definitely long overdue.

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