Schlecht, 27, has worked seven years at Omaha Truck Center, a Freightliner dealer, but "we work on 'em all," he said of other makes of trucks. His father worked on trucks, so the younger Schlecht's mechanical and technical aptitude was inherited. In addition to his education at Wyoming Technical College and experience at a technician, he was a foreman and service writer and that put him in touch with customers whom he listened to for practical knowledge.
This was the first time Schlecht competed in SuperTech. TMC created the competition to recognize and promote truck technicians on a national level through its Professional Technician Development Committee.
Schlecht also earned the high score on two of the 14 hands-on skills stations that, along with a qualifying written test, comprised the two-day TMC SuperTech 2010 competition. His advice for competitors in this and other skills contests: "Stay calm and just follow procedures, like you do at work every day."
Eric Vos, FedEx Freight, Harrison, Ark., earned second place and John Ragland, FedEx Express, Kansas City, Kan., earned third.
The other finishers were:
4. Michael Vallery, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Portland, Ore.;
5. Michael Bogard, Ryder System - Supply Chain Solutions, Nashville, Tenn.;
6. Richard Zacholl, Swift Transportation, N. Syracuse, NY;
7. Bailey Johnson, McKee Foods Transportation, Stuarts Draft, Va.;
8. Christopher Barnett, Ryder System, Florence, Ky.;
9.Phillip Mellork, Swift Transportation, Albuquerque; and
10. Grant Cherry, Wal-Mart Transportation, Pilot Rock, Ore.
Only 90 points separated the first- and tenth-place winners in the competition where 1,700 points were possible, said George Arrants, chairman of TMC's technician competition task force. "The scores are both an indicator of how tough the test is and how highly skilled the technicians are," he commented.
Christopher Tate, champion of last year's competition, received the high score for the written test, administered to the 103 competitors vying for the 96 slots of the hands-on skills challenge.
Winners of the 14 skills stations that made up the hands-on skill challenge include:
* Suspension/Steering - John Ragland, FedEx Express, Kansas City, Kan.;
* Fasteners - Jeremy Lipps, Batesville Logistics, Batesville, Ind.;
* Starting/Charging - Allen Davenport, FedEx Express, Brentwood, Tenn,;
* Drivetrain - Jeffrey Schlecht, Omaha Truck Center, Norfolk, Neb.;
* Preventive Maintenance Inspection - Randy Qualls, Wal-Mart Transportation, Waterloo, S.C;
* Electrical - Tyler Donnelly, Wal-Mart Transportation, Smyrna, Del.;
* Fifth Wheel - Jason Kleman, Navistar, Inc., Warrenville, Fla.;
* Trailer Alignment - John Ragland, FedEx Express, Kansas City, Kan.;
* Tire & Wheel - Christopher Tate, Mohawk Truck, West Seneca, N.Y.;
* Service Information - Jason Kleman, Navistar Inc., Warrenville, Ill.;
* Repair Order - Jeffrey Schlecht, Omaha Truck Center, Norfolk, Neb.;
* Wheel End - Jerry Bodkins, TravelCenters of America, Salem, Ohio;
* Engine Hardware - Eric Vos, FedEx Freight, Harrison, Ark.; and
* Engine Electronics - Mike McGuire, FedEx Freight, Harrison, Ark.;
First-place prizes included a premium Snap-On tool chest, an all-expense trip for two to the 2011 Daytona 500, a Reliance Supply Dream Shop cabinet filled with supplies and fasteners, a Midtronics diagnostic tool set, a one-year subscription to Repair-Connect.net from Mitchell 1, autographed collectors car from Jay Blake, and Follow That Dream, sponsored by Permatex.
Second place received hotel and transportation and four tickets for the NASCAR 2011 Brickyard 400 from Borg-Warner, a $1,000 gift card from Copart, and a Midtronics diagnostic tool set. The third-place winner received a $500 gift card from Copart.
All skill stations winners received the Noregon JPRO Fleet Diagnostic Software Bundle JPRO DLA+ Adapter, valued at more than $3,000 each. Several workstations winners received additional prizes valued at more than $1,000.
TMC, a technical council of American Trucking Associations, is made up of truck equipment managers and maintenance professionals in North America. Membership includes fleet equipment managers, service dealers, owner-operators, industry suppliers and manufacturers, educators and others who support the trucking industry.