Taking it to the State

In this issue, you will read a story about two different maintenance managers in two neighboring states trying to establish State Maintenance Councils. I won't give away the ending here, but these two men have found different types of success in their efforts, and we salute them for their perseverance.

There is another story that you won't read in the article, but it bears mentioning here. It, too, is a story of patience and perseverance.

In the February, 2005 issue of Fleet Maintenance, we profiled Craig Talbott, vice president of safety with the Maryland Motor Truck Association. At the time, Talbott was in the very early stages of reviving the Maryland State Maintenance Council, a once-thriving group that had shut down in the '90s.

When we spoke with Talbott back then, he had just hosted his first successful maintenance-related presentation at a Safety Council meeting. "We cover several topics that are of interest to folks in the maintenance field, so why not combine the Councils?" he said at the time.

After the presentation on air brake maintenance by a representative of ArvinMeritor, Talbott told us, he asked the 25 attendees if they would be interested in more maintenance programs in the future.

"The folks all said yes, they'd like to have more programs," he said. "We didn't have a bad word about it. That surprised me; you always get some dissenters, no matter what the program is."

A year and half later, Talbott is close to making the dream a reality. He is on track to host his first Maryland State Maintenance Council meeting later this year.

Although timing and circumstances prevented Talbott from giving a full recap of his activities over the last year and a half, he does report that, as planned, the meeting will feature educational programs from several vendors. Current plans are to hold four meetings per year at member facilities in different parts of the state.

Talbott has worked with Middleton and Meads Company, Inc., a prominent truck repair and fleet maintenance company in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, on the revival of the Maryland State Maintenance Council, and we at Fleet Maintenance congratulate both parties on what we are sure will be a smashing success.

One of the things that excites us most about the Maryland State Maintenance Council is the fact that its revival was spearheaded by the State Trucking Association. As you'll see when you read the Page 6 cover story, the degree of support—measured in staff time, office space and funding—that a State Trucking Association gives the organizers can make or break a State Maintenance Council.

There are still states out there without their own Maintenance Council. How about if more State Trucking Associations follow the examples of the Maryland and Arkansas Associations and get a Maintenance Council operating in their states? The rewards are obvious: the Trucking Association benefits from increased membership, and the members benefit from the educational and networking opportunities that wouldn't be available to them otherwise.

For many maintenance managers, the American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) is the way to go. But for every maintenance professional who can get to the TMC's national meetings, there may be five, ten or more who only have the time and money to go to a state meeting, and could get just as much out of it.

On that note, we are also pleased to congratulate the winners of the Arkansas Maintenance Council's 2006 Technician Championship, which was just held this past June 23rd.

Forty-one technicians competed in the areas of Brakes, Diesel Engines, Drive Train, Electrical, HVAC, PMI, Steering and Suspension, Service Information and Tires. An additional four tire technicians competed in a separate event testing their skills in tire repair, wear, and mounting procedures.

Winners were named in all categories, but there can only be one overall Grand Champion: Troy Scott of Transco Lines walked off with that honor.

Scott and the six other category winners (several won in multiple categories) will be seen next competing in TMC's SuperTech 2006 competition in September.

Congratulations to all, and good luck in SuperTech 2006!