While Rush Truck Centers celebrates its 50th year in business, the company's annual Tech Skills Rodeo competition is 10 years old this year. A field of more than 160 technicians and parts specialists, along with their spouses and partners, from the company's 120 dealerships descended on San Antonio, Texas on Sunday. The competition began bright and early Monday morning.
Mike Beeson, managing vice-president of service operations and customer solutions at Rush Truck Centers says over 300 techs and parts specialists tested at their home dealers just for the privilege of going to San Antonio. By the end of Day 1, the field had been whittled down to just 25.
"Over the past several months, techs from across the chain have been studying and writing tests back home to qualify for Monday's semi-final round," he says.
Techs are competing in medium- and heavy-duty chassis-specific categories. The medium-duty division features Hino, International, Isuzu and Peterbilt chassis. The heavy-duty competition features International and Peterbilt chassis, as well as powertrain components from Cummins, Eaton, Paccar MX and International.
New this year is the Rush Rising Star competition. It's limited to level 1 and 2 technicians and is intended to showcase the up and coming talent within the organization and to give the new techs a taste of the competition.
Phil Adams, a Paccar MX specialist from Albuquerque, NM, told truckinginfo.com that this year's competition seemed a little more straight forward than last year.
"They threw us a lot of curve balls last year; lots of clues that led nowhere and that got me lost a few times," he says. "I was able to sort out the problem more easily this year, but I think there were still a few wrinkles."
Techs who qualified for the competition following the in-house testing were able to compete in their specialities, which include all the truck brands in the RTC network (Peterbilt, International Navistar, Isuzu, Ford and Hino). Many of the competitors also have component specialities, such Cummins, Navistar, Paccar and Eaton.
At the end of Day 1, the list of competitors who made the cut and will advance to the finals was whittled down to just 30. They will go on to compete on Day 2 in the finals with a chance to improve their scores with some wildcard testing, which could be just about anything, not necessarily their speciality.
Congratulations to this year's semi-finalists:
Ford Parts: Ronald Hall, RTC Dallas
Isuzu Parts: John OBrien, RTC Orlando
Hino Parts: David Zainfeld, RTC Houston
IH Parts: Alex Kujawski, RTC Findlay
Paccar Parts: Joe Acosta, RTC Dallas
Medium Duty Supplier Divisions
Isuzu: Kory Sangster, RTC Dallas
Isuzu: Levar Parish, RTC Dallas
Hino: Steven Brain, RTC Dallas
Hino: Tyler VanOrman, RTC Fontana
International: Michael Pritchett, RTC Quincy
International: Lucas Manlief, RTC Indianapolis
Peterbilt: Dustin Ebert, RTC Phoenix
Peterbilt: Jose Garza, RTC Pharr
Heavy Duty Supplier Divisions
Eaton: Paul Serr, RTC Denver
Eaton: Erick Lincoln, RTC Albuquerque
Eaton: Jason Swann, RTC Dallas
Cummins: Christopher Jordan, RTC Effingham
Cummins: Matthew Chilson, RTC Houston
Cummins: Sigifredo Gandaria, RTC Corpus Christi
Navistar Engine: Derik Frazier, RTC Cincinnati
Navistar Engine: Dylan Moser, RTC Hickory
Navistar Engine: Rick Schaddelee, RTC Joliet
Paccar MX: Travis Graham, RTC Orlando
Paccar MX: Glenn Boothe, RTC Nashville
Paccar MX: Travis Roark, RTC Oklahoma City