February 20, 2015 10:18 AM, EST

Technician Shortage High on Chairman Kevin Tomlinson's List of Priorities

Tomlinson by John Sommers II for Transport Topics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Outgoing Technology & Maintenance Council Chairman Dan Umphress has formally passed the gavel to his successor, Kevin Tomlinson, director of maintenance for flatbed carrier South Shore Transportation in Sandusky, Ohio.

Umphress is vice president of maintenance and fleet services for A&R Transport, based in Morris, Illinois. 

As 2015-2016 chairman, Tomlinson, 55, will take the lead of American Trucking Associations’ technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals. 

Tomlinson assumed the reins Feb. 18 at TMC’s 2015 annual banquet and reception at the Music City Center.

PROFILE: Meet Kevin Tomlinson

“I guess it’s up to me now,” Tomlinson said. 

Tomlinson noted that earlier in the day at a tech session he was asked what he planned to do over the next year. 

At the session, he saw a Power Point slide warning that the existing tech shortage will grow even greater by 2022.

“That’s only seven years from now,” Tomlinson said. “We normally talk to technicians that are in high school range.”

Tomlinson added, “Well, 2022. We need to be talking to people that are 11 years old. I think we also need to be talking with kids that still like trucks at 7 or 8, and then we’ll have some technicians by 2030.”

Despite a conference record registration of more than 4,000, there were plenty of empty seats at the banquet due to a snowstorm here that kept some would-be conventioneers away.

Nonetheless, those who attended the banquet enjoyed the music of former Doobie Brothers singer and five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald well into the night.