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September 13, 2018 1:15 PM, EDT

TMC Set to Crown Next SuperTech Grand Champ

Mark McLean Last year's Grand Champion, Mark McLean. (Jaclyn O'Laughlin)

The Technology & Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations will host its 2018 fall meeting and national technician skills competitions Sept. 16-20 in Orlando, Fla.

Once again, the event is being held at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

TMC SuperTech competition kicks off Sept. 16. The 14th annual event determines the industry’s top truck technicians through qualifying written exams and a gantlet of hands-on skills challenges.

Bonnie Greenwood

Bonnie Greenwood is the 2017 TMC FutureTech champion. (Jaclyn O'Laughlin)

“This year, we have the most skills stations we’ve ever had in the history of the competition — 78 stations,” TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell told Transport Topics. “We also have our new light/medium technician track for technicians of this vehicle class.”

The two other tracks are traditional (heavy-duty) and trailer.

TMC developed SuperTech as a way to recognize and promote career opportunities for heavy-truck technicians. There are 125 professional technicians competing in TMC SuperTech this year, Braswell said.

The National Student Technician Competition — TMC FutureTech — is geared to student technicians. This year, 32 are competing, Braswell said.

At last year’s competitions, two milestones were set when the first three-time champion and the first female champion were crowned.

FedEx Freight technician Mark McLean was named TMC SuperTech Grand Champion, and Bonnie Greenwood, from WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo., became the first female TMC Future Tech champion.

Robert Braswell

Braswell

This year, both competitions will conclude Sept. 18. The winners will be announced at the awards banquet that evening. Various prizes also are awarded.

The fall meeting, whose theme is “Securing Technology’s Future,” starts Sept. 18. The meeting includes several educational sessions as well as the gathering of TMC task forces.

Highlights include sessions on technician readiness to handle today’s and tomorrow’s electrical systems, as well as growing and retaining technicians, Braswell said. He also pointed to a technical session on what some fleet managers report is an increased number of truck fire incidents. The session, titled “What the Blazes? — Thermal Events Forensic Analysis,” will be held Sept. 20.

Other sessions include those on current and emerging technologies to optimize vehicle energy efficiency, active safety systems, snow and ice mitigation related to corrosion, multimeter diagnostics and new trailer safety feature enhancements.

“We are obviously concerned for our attendees and members who are based in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic who are dealing with Hurricane Florence,” Braswell said. “We wish everyone safe travels.”