Teamwork, unwavering support from top management and personal dedication all paid off Wednesday for FedEx Freight as the company’s maintenance division swept all the top honors at the Technology and Maintenance Council’s 2015 SuperTech Technical Challenge.
Various other fleets and service providers, such as WalMart, Petro and Old Dominion, scored wins in individual categories, but FedEx Freight won top team honors, as well as second and third place spots. Eric Vos of Boise, Idaho, was named SuperTech’s 2015 Grand Champion, winning an all-expense-paid trip for two to next year’s Daytona 500 and a gift package of tools and accessories totaling several thousand dollars.
Vos has flirted with the Grand Championship slot before: He was second place runner up in 2010, 2013 and 2014. This time out, Vos won no individual categories and admitted he was “sweating it out” as the countdown to naming the Grand Champ intensified. But, he said, consistency worked in his favor and gave him enough of an overall edge to emerge as the day’s winner.
Asked how he prepared given his past two near misses, Vos said, “I really hit the books this year. I was good with the hands-on portions. But it’s the book work that gets a lot of guys. So once I mastered the books, it was really just a matter of following procedures and good maintenance habits.”
Vos said support from FedEx upper management and the team atmosphere the company fosters was crucial to today’s TMC Clean Sweep.
“Our management is really awesome and totally backs us up in this effort,” he said. “They give us the tools we need to work with every day. And as a team, we’re growing and learning what we need to know to become better techs.”
FedEx Express President and CEO Mike Ducker, who was in Orlando, Fla., to cheer his team on, agreed, saying, “I’m a proud papa right now. These guys really knocked it out of the park. They work as a team, and that’s the thing that makes me prouder than anything.”
Ducker said the key to FedEx Freight’s SuperTech success is to hire the best and brightest technicians and develop training systems to help them succeed.
“We know how valuable our techs are to our overall business,” he said. “We only have one product to sell. And that’s service. If you have trucks broken and not working, if you don’t have equipment in good operational order, you risk service failures. And these techs are really our front line defense in terms of service. And if these techs give our drivers a good truck to drive, we have a lot better chance of making that service happen.”