The trucking industry has had an insatiable appetite for good help as far back as anyone can remember. A good technician can mean the difference between high profits and going into the red. Maximizing uptime is the name of their game, getting their hands dirty while working out complicated mental puzzles. Those with the aptitude to excel and experience in their field bring value to their teams and company.
The industry has used a number of strategies to retain these superheroes of the shop, like offering competitive pay, training programs, and a suitable shop environment. Not to be overlooked is the ability to show off their skills with friendly competition.
Enter: The industry’s premier national technician skills competition–TMC SuperTech.
The Best of the Best
TMC SuperTech is an annual event held in conjunction with The Technology & Maintenance Council’s Fall Meeting. TMC SuperTech contestants come from all segments of the trucking industry and, in many cases, are state, regional, or corporate champions in their own right.
Importantly, TMC Supertech requires technicians to have industry knowledge covering a broad spectrum of topics and even contains a component directly related to the trailer industry. Each year, Great Dane sends several technicians to compete following a rigorous selection process.
“The SuperTech competition is a great opportunity for service technicians to refine their skills and build important relationships.”
—Art Hobbs, Branch Operations Manager at Great Dane
To select the technicians, Great Dane hosts its own internal competition. “Techs, located across many different Great Dane service centers, are first given a written exam and then a hands-on challenge,” says Art Hobbs, branch operations manager for Great Dane. Finalists are given TMC training material to study before attending a three-day classroom and hands-on training at Great Dane’s Savannah Corporate offices. “We give them six weeks to study before the final test where the highest scores decide the best of the best.”
Great Dane sent four technicians to the competition this year, with one taking home the gold in both the Trailer Alignment and Central Tire Inflation categories.
Great Dane Gives Techs the Edge
As the only trailer manufacturer to have received ASE training provider accreditation for their Instructor-Led and eLearning training program, Great Dane’s technicians are certified by the Great Dane Aftermarket Certified Technician program (GDACT, more commonly referred to internally as ACT).
“They say, ‘necessity is the mother of all invention,’ and we needed a way to enhance and shorten the training curve for our new technicians. That’s how our ACT certification program became a reality,” Hobbs says. “Today, our techs have access to hands-on learning, online learning that they can do at their pace, and online how-to videos on over 20 repair tasks with job aids on each one.”
Hobbs says ACT certification is a powerful incentive for Great Dane technicians.
“ACT certification is something our techs are very proud of,” he says. “They wear different branding from the other techs and know very well that they are the only certified trailer technicians in our industry.”
With proper training and access to competition, technicians will know they are working in an environment that empowers them to perform optimally.
Great Dane’s aftermarket program recently earned the ATMC (ASE Training Manager’s Council) National Excellence in Training Award. Great Dane is one of only three organizations in the transportation industry honored for training excellence by the ASE Training Manager’s Council in 2021.