Young techs offer carriers recruiting, retention advice

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Ask any Level 1 tech if they want to turn wrenches forever and you’ll likely find out quickly how important they perceive training.

This year’s annual Rush Truck Center Technician Rodeo, the tenth in as many years, rang in a new event designed for the new guys on the shop floor. The Rising Star category was open to Level 1 and 2 technicians and was designed to whet their appetities as their careers grow.

Steven Bancroft, of Rush Truck Center – Hickory, finished third in the category. He joined the company two years ago just as he wrapped diesel school, and says the company’s financial commitment to getting him through Navistar training was a big reason why he signed on.

“The training has been great,” he says. “They paid for that initial training and they’re sending me to training this year.”

Wayne Henderson, who joined Rush Truck Center – Dallas in July of this year, finished second and says he decided to jump out of the cab of his truck and into the service and repair business.

“I couldn’t keep my truck on the road without paying a bunch of mechanical bills,” he says.

Henderson, a graduate of UTI and Paccar MX and Cummins training, has put a driver in that old truck of his and says hopes over the next 10 years to build a trucking company while furthering his career with Rush.

“Realistically, at the end of eight years, I should be able to have 23 trucks,” he says of building a business he can retire on. “I’m still on the first one working out the bugs, but as soon as that’s done, the ball starts rolling … but (service and repair) is my living.”

It’s no secret that a critical shortage of diesel techs looms large over the industry, and the techs of tomorrow are keenly aware of how and where to seek out opportunity.

“I had been in the automotive world, and that didn’t seem to have much of a career path,” says Blake Fondren, the Rising Star Champion whose been with Rush Truck Leasing – Birmingham just short of two years. “This did, and I was somewhat familiar with it.”

Phillip Call, of Rush Truck Center – Orlando, a veteran of the company for all of five months says the growth potential of company with a dealership network 121 rooftops strong was a major draw.

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“I worked at a few small shops and the corporate part of it is better than an individual shop,” he says. “You get a lot more (support).”

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]