This year’s TMCSuperTech – the National Technician Skills Competition - is set for Sept. 9 to 12 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Put on by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) (tmc.trucking.org), it will be the ninth annual industry-wide competition dedicated to honoring technician professionalism and to acknowledging the best of the best.
A technical council of the American Trucking Associations (www.trucking.org), the largest national trade association for the trucking industry, TMC is North America’s premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals. Its mission is to improve transport equipment, its maintenance and maintenance management.
The TMCSuperTech is a two-day event expressly designed so technicians can exhibit their knowledge, skills and aptitude with medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles. It was organized by the Professional Technician Development Committee (PTDC) - a group within TMC established to promote and enhance the professionalism of commercial vehicle technicians.
The National Technician Skills Competition involves a series of both written and hands-on diagnostic and problem-solving tests and challenges to assess both theory and practical application. The technicians that perform the best win tops honors and numerous prizes.
Any actively employed commercial vehicle technician may participate in the competition.
The TMCSuperTech has been likened to an Olympic competition because while competitors come to win, they revel in the camaraderie and excitement.
Fleet Maintenance (www.vehicleservicepros.com) is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the TMCSuperTech.
As usual, the TMCSuperTech will be held in combination with TMC’s annual fall meeting. Precision Maintenance is the theme for this year’s meeting. (This is covered elsewhere this issue.)
There are two phases to every TMCSuperTech: pre-qualification and the finals. The pre-qualifying process for this year’s competition, taking place on Monday, Sept. 9, has been expanded to include both written examinations and hands-on skills workstations.
The qualifying written exams are complicated multiple-choice questions based on tests prepared by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) (https://www.ase.com). ASE is a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.
New for this year are 11 hands-on skills workstations, each of which must be completed in 25 minutes. This was done to accommodate the increase in registered contestants and, most importantly, to increase the value to both the contestants and their employers, says Robert Braswell, TMC’s technical director.
“The change in format for this year’s competition affords our planning committee an opportunity to revamp our various skills stations, retiring some venerable favorites for a while and introducing new stations,” he notes. “The changes will allow new skills to be measured and perhaps force some competitors out of their comfort zone.”
Those 11 stations are:
- Recommended Practices
- Wiring Diagrams.
- CSA Compliance (formerly Repair Order).
- Safety & Environmental.
- Wheel End.
- CNG Safety.
- Precision Measuring.
- Sealants & Adhesives.
The 100 or so top scorers in the pre-qualification phase are announced at a reception Monday evening. These technicians move on to phase two of the National Technician Skills Competition - the Hands-On Skills Challenge that will be held on Tuesday, Sept.10. This is a series of 25-minute-long stations that cover key diagnostic skills areas. Each station has its own set of challenges.
This year, there are 14 skills stations:
- PMI (pre-trip inspection).
- HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
- Starting & Charging.
- Service Information.
- Wheel End.
- Fifth Wheel.
- Tire & Wheel.
- Steering & Suspension.
- Engine Electrical.
- Engine (Hardware).
Value of TMC helping build the organization.