TMC announces Silver Spark Plug Award recipients

The Technology & Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations awarded its highest honor — the Silver Spark Plug Award — to five trucking industry professionals during the Council's 2012 Annual Meeting, Feb. 20-23 in Tampa, Fla.

The 2012 TMC Silver Spark Plug recipients are: Norman Ball, training officer for Michelin North American; Doug Jones, engineering support manager for Michelin North American; Jim LeClaire, Southwest regional manager for Horton, Inc.; Lee Long, director of maintenance for Southeastern Freight Lines; and Greg Shipman, partner with Vertical Alliance Group.

These recipients were awarded the Silver Spark Plug for their outstanding contributions to the improvement of equipment, maintenance, industry-related technology and management practices.

Ball, a member since 1988, has chaired several task forces within the S.2 Tire and Wheel Study Group, including the Impact of Using Flammable Bead Breaker for Demounting Tires and Tire Casing Data Markings Task Forces, contributed to numerous other recommend practices and participated in several technical sessions. His activities both within and outside TMC have had a major impact on tire repairing, retreading and training that have definitely improved the operations, safety and efficiency of the trucking industry.

Jones, a member since 2000, has contributed to numerous recommended practices and task force efforts within the S.2 Tire and Wheel Study Group, chairing the Troubleshooting Radial Tire Irregular Wear Task Force and active participating in more than 20 others. He has served as a panelist for numerous educational sessions within and has shared his knowledge of tire conditions as a guest on the Council’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio Show "Tech Talk With TMC."

LeClaire, a member since 1998, has been steadily involved various meeting and membership related committees since he first joined. He has been an active member within the S.3 Engines Study Group, having chairing several task forces, including one that developed an RP pertaining to Fan Drive Spec’ing and Maintenance. He has participated as a panelist or organizer for technical sessions and he has appeared on the Council’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio Show "Tech Talk With TMC." He is a Recognized Associate, recipient of TMC’s Gerri Murphy Membership Leadership Award, a leader in the Council’s mentor program for new members, and is a strong support of TMC’s National Technician Skills Competition.

Long, a member since 1996, is a former technician that is now closely identified with TMC’s Professional Technician Development Committee, chairing several task forces, leading the production of several information reports, and serving as PTDC chairman from 2007 to 2010. He was elected to TMC’s Board of Directors in 2011, served as vice chairman and chairman of meetings last year and is now TMC general chairman and treasurer.

Shipman, a TMC member since 1996, is a Recognized Associate and is well known for his service to TMC’s Mentor Program and other meeting-related groups, such as the Sgt-at-Arms Committee. He was a strong support of TMC efforts to establish the IT/logistics sector of the Council, and has served on various task forces within the S.12 Vehicle Electronics Study Group. He also chaired the S.4 Cab & Controls Study Group’s Seat Belt Installation Standards Task Force and has served as a task force and study group secretary. He has also been technical session panelist.