“I have asked many of my company’s suppliers and competitors to serve as judges for the wheel end competition. They all have done so willingly. They have all given their time during the competition, helped to develop test questions, and provided technical support for our portion of the skills challenge.
“Because of the relationships I have developed working with them in the SuperTech event, I don’t hesitate to call them at other times of the year if I need technical support or have questions about their products. This is typical of all TMC projects. Customers and competitors work together for the overall good of the industry.
“The SuperTech program gives a technician the opportunity to receive much deserved recognition for their contributions to the industry. I know of many cases where it has caused companies to re-evaluate and improve their own training programs. Each SuperTech event provides an opportunity for the technicians in attendance to receive specialized technical training on a variety of equipment maintenance topics.”
Tire & Wheel Sponsor and Judge
“This will be our second year with SuperTech. Last year, we supplied two air compressors and all of the 1-inch guns for the Tire & Wheel segment of the competition. George Arrants (SuperTech Chairman) got us up and running. He pursued us pretty heavily last year to get involved with this.
“We really didn’t know what our involvement was going to be until we got there! We thought we would supply this equipment, and then observe and see how this all plays out. Once I got there last year I met with George and some of the other TMC officials, and Randy Patterson, who heads up the Tire & Wheel end of it, asked me to be a judge, which actually worked out very well.
“I think the competitors are showcasing their talents. I think it’s a big support for the training that’s going on all year for these technicians. I heard a lot of the buzz going around about certain fleets that had enhanced their training to get their guys prepared for this, which I think is very encouraging.
“So many people think of the stereotypical image of the mechanic as the guy with grease under his fingernails, but these guys take it to a whole different level. They are so professional, and their training is so superior.
“My company uses the event to showcase new products. Last year we introduced our rotary screw compressors, which were pretty impressive to a lot of people. They would be standing next to the compressors, talking to me, and they would ask ‘Could you kick this thing in so I can hear what it sounds like?’ and I’d say, ‘Well, it’s running right now.’ That happened quite a few times.
“Also, we support the winner of the Tire & Wheel Skill Station with a gift certificate for tools. We did that last year, and we’ll be doing it again this year.
“As far as I’m concerned, we will be involved with TMC and this event as long as they’ll have us.”
Service Information Chairman
“I didn’t try to get involved... I was curiously interested in what was going on. I’m a member of TMC, and I would sit in on the meetings. Someone came up with the idea of doing a service information skill station, and then George Arrants, the chairman, who worked for Snap-on at the time, mentioned to the committee that Snap-on had a company, Mitchell1, that had a service information product, and they approached me.
“And of course I said yes. I’m an ASE Master Technician myself, so I knew the importance of service information, and I also was responsible for transitioning Mitchell1 from print to electronic. So, I knew the industry was heading away from the print product towards electronic. The younger generation seems to embrace it quite readily, but the older guys were not really embracing it; they were sticking to the old shop manuals or figuring it out on their own. But that creates a productivity issue, so it just became obvious that we need to make sure that the technician of today knows how to use a computer, knows how to jump on the internet, knows how to look things up and get quickly back to work and fix the vehicle. So, this was a good way to test that.