Let the Championships Begin!

Fleet Maintenance Magazine has always supported the efforts of State Maintenance Councils, and that support will be growing even stronger in 2008. It all started back in 2003, when the Tennessee State Maintenance Council invited me to their annual meeting, so that I could see first-hand what a difference a State Council could make to its members. I was so impressed by the number of people in attendance, and the variety of useful technical information presented to those attended, that I decided to write a story for the magazine about it. Since then, we've made a special effort to promote State Councils and their activities whenever the opportunity presents itself. Our February issue will feature a guest editorial from an executive with the Indiana Motor Truck Association describing their efforts to launch a new Maintenance Council, and later in the year we'll be doing some in-depth reporting on the new Indiana State Maintenance Council. What has surprised me most about working with the State Councils is how popular the concept of the "technician championship" has become. When I first started working with the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) on the SuperTech technician skills competition a few years back, we counted five state championships around the country. Now hardly a month goes by that we don't hear about a new state championship in the works. Even more gratifying is the fact that TMC is providing support and guidance to state groups trying to start their own competitions; ultimately, we could see 50 state championships and 50 state champs entered in TMC's SuperTech event. So with a new championship season upon us, it's time to look at those states that don't have technician competitions, and ask why. Many state trucking associations already have truck driving championships, and some are finding it relatively easy to piggyback a technician competition onto that. And once the first competition is off the ground, they find that it becomes self-sustaining, because everyone wants to come back again for another chance at first place! What's the case with your state? If there's a competition, do you enter your top techs? If there isn't a competition, would you like to have one? More to the point, are you willing to work on starting one? The benefits to the industry and to your shop are endless--so, what's stopping you?