As everyone in the trucking industry knows, not every job can be done remotely. Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) service technicians are busy getting trucks back on the road, diagnosing issues and making repairs while observing the new safety requirements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. DTNA’s annual Technician Skills Competition – which recognizes and rewards top-performing service technicians – reflects the hands-on nature of the work.
This year’s competition features new virtual elements due to the circumstances brought on by the pandemic.
As it has every year, the competition began with a written exam in early June with more than 1,000 test taken by technicians from Freightliner and Western Star dealerships and Detroit distributors in the U.S. and Canada. The 28 top-scoring vehicle and engine technicians will then compete in a “virtual” hands-on competition August 11-12.
Unlike in previous years, when technicians traveled to DTNA headquarters in Portland to compete, the finalists this year will be tested at their dealership. Using computers and video, the judges will walk the technicians through different stations where they’ll be evaluated on how quickly they can troubleshoot problems. The best vehicle and engine technicians will be awarded on August 13 in a virtual ceremony.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made us more aware than ever of the importance and indispensability of our technicians and service network” said Admir Kreso, general manager for Dealer Service with DTNA. “As our vehicles become increasingly complex, it is critical that we support the development and innovation of our technicians so that they can be on the cutting edge. Technicians truly drive the Uptime Revolution for our customers, and they are a big part of why DTNA leads the industry.”
With a service network spanning the U.S. and Canada, DTNA and its affiliated service locations invest more than $20 million in technician training and development annually. Some programs and initiatives include:
- Get Ahead Program is a partnership between DTNA, technical schools, and DTNA service network locations that provides students free access to web-based training materials, service literature, and diagnostic link licenses.
- Finish First is a 12-week, hands-on training program offered at select Universal Technical Institute campuses. Students earn certifications for Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Detroit engines. Students can also apply for scholarships to the Finish First program through DTNA’s TechForce Foundation. More than 1,300 students have graduated from the program since it was founded in 2008.
- MasterTech Recognition Program recognizes and rewards technicians who go above and beyond in the pursuit of providing an unsurpassed customer experience.
- Be Pro Be Proud is a Freightliner-sponsored initiative in Arkansas which interests students, parents and educators in technical professionals in the manufacturing, trucking, and construction industries.