Mohawk Truck technician Tate wins TMCSuperTech2009

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Christopher Tate, refrigeration technician for Mohawk Truck, Seneca, N.Y., earned the distinction of being the nation’s top heavy-truck technician as he was named grand champion of TMCSuperTech2009, the Technology & Maintenance Council’s fifth annual National Technician Skills Competition, held Sept. 14-17 in Raleigh, N.C.

Tate, of Eden, N.Y., was also the winner of three of the 15 skills stations during the Hands-on Skills Challenge, including Tire and Wheel, Wheel End and Written Test. He finished 10th overall last year, and again this year represented the New York State Motor Truck Association as its champion truck technician.

In addition to his trophy, Tate was awarded a Nexiq Technologies’ Snap-On two-piece Classic 78 model tool chest valued at about $8,000, a Midtronics Celltron MAX battery analysis system (CMA7000) valued at $1,100, a trip for two to the Daytona 500, Noregon Systems’ JPRO Fleet Diagnostic Kit, a custom-made championship leather jacket, $600 in gift cards, and other items.

Ryder System technicians Rick Grivel, Alpharetta, Ga., and Christopher Barnett, Florence, Ky., earned the second- and third-place honors in the fifth annual competition conducted by TMC’s Professional Technician Development Committee. Each received the Midtronics Celltron MAX battery analysis system.

Michael Bogard, Neenah, Wis., captured fourth place for Ryder System. Bogard was last year’s third-place winner, and earned the top score on the written portion of the competition the previous three years.

The rest of the top 10 scoring contestants were: (5) Michael John Vallery, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Portland, Ore.; (6) Grant Allen Cherry, Wal-Mart Transportation, Pilot Rock, Ore.; (7) Richard Zacholl, Swift Transportation, N. Syracuse, N.Y.; (8) Jimmie Slusher, Ryder System, Elizabethton, Tenn.; (9) Ray Wordekemp, Omaha Truck Center, Omaha, Neb.; and (10) Thomas Pianalto, Diamond International Trucks, Lowell, Ark.

TMC, a technical council of American Trucking Associations, developed the national TMCSuperTech competition as a way to showcase the skill and knowledge of trucking industry technicians and promote the career opportunities for heavy truck technicians.

The 82 contestants competed for the 75 slots for the Hands-on Skills Challenge through a written test, and two prequalifying tests that included the use of the TMC Recommended Practices Manual, which is designed to give a specific yet generic approach to the repair process. More than 172 judges representing 125 companies in addition to the 30 PTDC committee members, involved in the planning and conducting TMCSuperTech2009.

In addition to the donation of manpower, industry sponsors provided equipment, tools and awards. FedEx Express, Ryder System, Swift Transportation, Southeastern Freight Lines and Wal-Mart donated the use of 25 Class 8 tractors and trucks; FedEx Express, Old Dominon, Ryder System, Swift Transportation, Southeastern Freight Lines and Wal-Mart donated trailers; and Silver Eagle provided converter dollies for the competition.

Nexiq provided one of its premium Classic 78 model Snap-on tool chests for the grand champion, and Noregon provided its JPRO Fleet Service software kits for each workstation winner. Each of the 75 finalists received a $150 American Express gift card, and skill station winners received an additional $150 American Express gift card from the PTDC’s Friend of the Technician sponsors. Friends of the Technician also provided the trip for two to the Daytona 500.

Repair Order skills station sponsor Cengage Learning-Delmar provided the winner of the skills station with a $1,000 AMEX card, Chicago Pneumatic gave a $1,000 product gift certificate to the winner of the Tire & Wheel skills station, and Roadranger-Eaton & Dana provided a Driveline Angle Analyzer kit valued at $500 to the Drivetrain skill station winner. Truck Pride sponsored the “goodie bags” provided to the competitors that included tools, hats and other items.

Next year’s competition, TMCSuperTech2010, will be held during TMC’s 2010 Fall Meeting, Sept. 20-23, in Raleigh.