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2/12/2016 3:59:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Retaining Techs a Top Dealer Issue

Rush Truck Centers
This story appears in the Feb. 8 print edition of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to Transport Topics.

SAN ANTONIO — Finding talented diesel technicians these days requires the detective skills of Sherlock Holmes, while keeping them on the ranch is a challenge worthy of the greatest cowboy, truck dealer executives say.

Even as new truck sales soften, dealers continue to experience a critical shortage of qualified technicians. As a result, dealerships are working harder at keeping a handle on turnover.

Retaining technicians is one of the reasons that many of the 120 Rush Truck Centers shops feature “radiant,” or heated, floors in cold climates and air-conditioned work areas in warm climates, said W.M. “Rusty” Rush, chairman and CEO of Rush Enterprises.

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It’s about finding out what the company’s more than 2,400 techs need to do their job and then figuring out how to get it to them, Rush said at a company event here.

“We’ve invested a whole lot more in the last 12 months in training, developing and understanding the technicians,” Rush said. “We’re requiring our service managers and general managers to touch these people more often, making sure that they’re communicating with them constantly.”

Rush calls his company’s techs “the heartbeat of our dealerships.”

Mike Besson, Rush’s managing vice president of service operations, added, “As long you’re taking care of your people, they’re not going to leave you. . . . You’ve got to do something that makes you different. If we don’t do anything different than anybody else, why wrench for us?”

Rush plans to set up a mentor program this year teaming younger, less experienced techs with those who have many years under their belts. The plan calls for evaluating how good a job each of the mentors does, Besson said.

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By Eric Miller
Staff Reporter

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