Keeping a fleet that serves up a healthy helping of capacity services – from truckload freight and dedicated transportation to freight brokerage and intermodal freight – takes more than fielding the right equipment. It also involves keeping that equipment rolling productively through proper maintenance. Like all trucking companies, USA Truck has felt the impact of the nationwide technician shortage, but the company has turned that challenge into an opportunity by hosting its annual USA Truck Technician Championship, a qualifying event for the Arkansas Trucking Association’s State Technician Championship.
The event highlights the best and brightest of the Arkansas technician community by first administering a written test and then bringing the top 10 contestants to USA Truck HQ in Van Buren, Arkansas, for the hands-on challenge. The overall winner and the runner-up are qualified for the state competition; if they place within the top three there, they advance to the Technology & Maintenance Council’s National Technician Skills Competition – TMC SuperTech, where Great Dane will supply seven 53-foot trailers for the competition. Regardless of how the competition shakes out, the event is a big win for USA Truck and the technicians.
“This is a time when USA Truck shows our appreciation for our technicians. The competitors are rewarded and recognized for their accomplishments,” said Ron Rogers, USA Truck corporate maintenance trainer. “Technicians are allowed to showcase their skills and talents during the competitions. It is exciting for the guys and they take that energy with them to our shops.”
Vendors and business partners lent a hand manning testing stations at the USA Truck Technician Championship. Great Dane jumped at the opportunity to be involved with this great event and worked with representatives from Hendrickson and SAF-Holland, alongside USA Truck, to create two test stations for tire inflation and fifth wheel diagnosis and repair. Great Dane and other sponsors also contributed items for prizes that were awarded to the competitors.
When it comes to the Arkansas Trucking Association’s State Technician Championship, USA Truck supports the event through sponsorship, prize donations, volunteer support, and by sending technicians to compete. It’s part of a strategy to highlight today’s best technicians and show the next generation that being a technician takes more than just turning a wrench.
“Today’s technicians need to have the ability to use computers for diagnosing equipment failures. This can be appealing to young people who have been raised in the video game era,” Rogers said. “The trucking industry as a whole needs to be involved in high schools, technical schools and job fairs to recruit young people into the business of trucking. This can be done through sponsorships and support of qualified individuals.”
USA Truck’s dedication to hiring and supporting the best of the best goes beyond its tech bays. The company was recently awarded with the 2017 Most Valuable Employers for Military award, presented by RecruitMilitary.
“It’s an honor to serve U.S. veterans, and we are grateful that our efforts are being recognized by such a prominent group,” says James D. Reed, president and chief executive officer. “We make a special effort to recruit veterans and transitioning military members to our team.”
“USA Truck has a Military Apprenticeship Development Program designed to make it easy for people leaving the military to transition into our company,” Rogers added. “USA Truck has long recognized the importance of employing former military personnel as they have the ability, drive and discipline required to be successful in our industry.”
By keeping the spotlight on today’s best and challenging tomorrow’s brightest, USA Truck continues to drive its success forward.