Eric Vos, a FedEx Freight technician from Boise, Idaho, has won the grand championship of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s SuperTech 2015 National Technicians Skills Competition.
The 11th annual contest was held during TMC’s fall meeting near Orlando, and concluded Wednesday afternoon.
Vos also joined Drew Dilmuth from Jacksonville, Fla., to win a team competition. FedEx Freight also boasted second place finisher Brian Blevins from Harrison, Ark., and third place finisher Josh Nordick from Roseville, Minn., to help FedEx Freight sweep the top three spots on their way to a win in the team competition.
The 2014 and 2013 grand champion, Mark McLean, also works for the company in its Montgomery, N.Y. shop. McLean was a judge this year, but will compete again in next year’s SuperTech contest.
“We hire the best people we can,” said Mike Ducker, the company’s president and CEO, after the announcements following a lunch on Wednesday. It supports SuperTech with its own internal competition which commences every year in April. Winners of those competitions go on to the national program later and 12 employees competed this year.
“We allow them the time to participate, and we more than recover that when they return,” said Ducker.
In addition to SuperTech for working technicians, TMC also named Daniel Hanna, a student at Forsyth Technical Community College, winner of the Velociti FutureTech National Student Technicians Skills Competition. Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College, finished second and Karl Kerutis, WyoTech Blairsville, placed third.
Vos, 31, won 2nd place twice in TMC SuperTech previous competitions. In preparing for this contest, he said he spent more time “boning up for the written tests. Hands-on is one thing, but the book knowledge is also important and is what helped me get here.”
SuperTech “will help get more young people involved (in technician work), I think.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking will need to recruit 67,000 new technicians by 2022 due to growth or to replace men and women currently working in the industry.
Vos has worked at FedEx Freight in Boise since 2004, and has a wife and two young children whom he called “my home team.” He earned an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering at Boise State University before switching to its diesel technician program run in cooperation with the College of Western Idaho. He switched “because I didn’t want to spend years sitting in a cubicle.”
Vos chose this career path “because I have mechanical aptitude, and I worked on a farm and worked on tractors,” and being a technician naturally followed. He and other top competitors will leave the Orlando area with many thousands of dollars in tools, merchandise, gift cards and expense-paid trips to NASCAR races.
The 145 professional competitors and 37 student entries ran through a battery of written and hands-on testing at “skills stations” over the previous two days. All spent months prior to the final tests in intense studying.
The full list of all the station winners in TMC SuperTech and the student competition is below.
2015 TMC SuperTech Station Winners
- ASE Written Test - Harold Wineinger, Walmart Transportation LLC
- Lighting - Jesse Elmore, USA Truck Inc.
- Fasteners - Brian Blevins, FedEx Freight
- TMC Recommended Practices Manual - Chris Barnett, Ryder System Inc.
- Electrical Diagrams - Terry Podralski, W.W. Williams Corp.
- CSA Compliance - TK Kilchenstein, Fleetpro Inc.
- Electrical #1 - Jerry Podralski, W.W. Williams Corp.
- Safety and Environmental - Rudy Laguna, H-E-B Grocery Co.
- Wheel End #1 - Jasen Weers, Walmart Transportation LLC
- Torque - Dave Thrower, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.
- Precision Measuring - Chris Barnett, Ryder System Inc.
- Coolant/DEF - Steven Fraser, PetroCNG
- Safety - Derick Hebert, Ryder System - Supply Chain Solutions
- PM Inspections - Doug Nickles, FedEx Freight
- HVAC - Jeremiah Larrabee, Stoops Freightliner
- Drivetrain - Drew Dilmuth, FedEx Freight
- Starting and Charging - Brian Blevins, FedEx Freight
- Service Information - Stephen Radford, Ryder System Inc.
- Brakes - Robert Anderson, TravelCenters of America
- Vehicle Control Systems - Larry Coatney, FedEx Freight
- Wheel End #2 - Brian Blevins, FedEx Freight
- Fifth Wheel - Steve Willis, FedEx Freight
- Electrical #2 - Steve Willis, FedEx Freight
- Tire and Wheel - Russ Whitaker, TravelCenters of America
- Steering and Suspension - Bob Hatch, Hartt Transportation
- Engine (Electronics) - Darek Mowinski, Ryder System Inc.
- Engine (Hardware) - Kenneth Bilyea, Ryder System Inc.
2015 TMC FutureTech Student Station Winners
- ASE Written Test - Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College
- Wheel End - Cody Styers, Forsyth Technical Community College
- Trailer Lighting - Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College
- Electrical Diagrams - Karl Kerutis, WyoTech Blairsville
- PMI - Blake Woodard, Oconee Fall Line Technical College
- Drive Belts - Karl Kerutis, WyoTech Blairsville
- Service Information - Cody Styers, Forsyth Technical Community College
- RP Manual - Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College
- Coolants & DEF - Daniel Hanna Forsyth Technical Community College
- Electrical/Electronics - Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College
- Lighting Systems -- Shane Hatton, Advanced Technologies
- Fasteners - Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College
- Torque - Jonathan Kelly, Southside Virginia Community College