(WACO, Texas) – Three students in Texas State Technical College’s Diesel Equipment Technology program recently participated in the Texas Trucking Association’s Technician of the Year Competition held at the Waco campus.
TSTC students Bill LeMay, of China Spring, Travis Tidwell, of Granger, and Bryce Tumlinson, of Bryan, had the opportunity to pit their skills against those of more than 20 professional diesel technicians representing companies statewide. LeMay was the top finisher among the TSTC students.
The technicians and students rotated between 14 diagnosing and troubleshooting stations focusing on belts, brakes, tires, trailer lighting and other equipment problems. Participants also took a written test.
“They are learning this is what they will be doing at the next level,” said Kent Kahler, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.
LeMay, who works at MHC Kenworth in Robinson doing technician work, said his goal was to learn some wisdom from the most experienced technicians in the competition.
LeMay has been exposed to the diesel equipment field ever since he can remember.
“My dad has driven a big rig for almost 52 years now, and I’ve always been interested in diesel trucks,” he said. “I’ve owned and worked on my own diesel pickup ever since I got my license, and I loved doing it so much I decided to make a career out of it.”
George Arrants, vice president of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence’s ASE Education Foundation, said he will cover the costs for LeMay to represent TSTC and Texas in the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) FutureTech national student technician competition in mid-September in Cleveland, Ohio.
Arrants said this is the first time that Texas will be represented at the contest. He is a former national chair of the TMC’s National Technician Skills Competition for professional technicians.
“We have a shortage of qualified applicants (for technician jobs),” Arrants said. “If we are concerned about this concern, we need to invest in our future. This is an investment, not an expense.”
Along with the technician contest, about 80 drivers competed in the organization’s statewide truck driving contest held in the parking lot of TSTC’s Industrial Technology Center on Saturday, June 3.
This is the second year that TSTC has been the site for the statewide events.
“It’s a great partnership in working together,” said Lance Shillingburg, executive director of the Texas Trucking Association. “We are very appreciative.”
The top drivers from the state competition will move on to represent Texas at the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck Driving Championships in August in Columbus, Ohio. The top professional technician will take a written test to qualify for the Technology & Maintenance Council’s National Technician Skills Competition in September in Cleveland, Ohio.
For more information on the Texas Trucking Association, go to texastrucking.com.