The 2017 TA Truck Service Top Tech Challenge in-house diesel technician competition took place Aug. 1 and 2 in Lodi, Ohio and the techs did not disappoint! This challenge brought together 21 TA Truck Service technicians from across the nation, as well as four technicians from U.S. Xpress. Marking the competition’s four year anniversary, the technicians continued to test and improve their technical skills through hands-on stations and written tasks.
Becoming a competitor
To qualify to participate in the Top Tech Challenge, technicians must be an ASE Certified Master Technician, and must be one of the top scorers on a 100 question ASE-style written exam, which is open to take at every site for two weeks in May.
Technicians train prior to the competition by honing their skills daily in the bays, on road calls or working with OnSITE, and by competing in other competitions. Many techs compete in their state level competition in preparation for this elite challenge, and ultimately for the TMCSuperTech national diesel technician skills competition.
Any overall winner of the state level competition automatically earns a place on the TMCSuperTech team, which will compete in September in Orlando, Florida. The remainder of the team is made up of the top 12 technicians from the Top Tech Challenge.
The purpose of the Top Tech Challenge is to not only bring technicians head to head to show off their skills, but also to train the top competitors for TMCSuperTech by mimicking the hands-on stations and challenges.
This year’s Top Tech Challenge consisted of individual stations including hands-on and written tasks. Competitors were on the clock and had a limited time to finish each station. The tasks were then judged individually, and each score was added up to create one final score to determine the winners.
Congratulations to the top three Top Tech challengers
First Place: Michael Gavrielides from TA Madison, Georgia (#45)
Second Place: Michael Kerfoot (JR) from Petro San Antonio, Texas (#305)
Third Place: Robert Anderson from TA Mobile, Alabama (#54)
This year, the competition was the fiercest yet bringing several prior winners head to head. Robert Anderson (third place) won the first two Top Tech Challenges, while Michael Gavrielides (first place) won last year and defended his title again this year.
More than a competition
“It was the best experience of my life, it’s gratifying to be with the best guys in the company,” said first time Top Tech Challenger from Petro Weatherford, Texas (#302), Corey Granger. He loved seeing all of the technicians, corporate representatives and even the infamous Homer Hogg in one place.
Returning competitor and TMCSuperTech veteran Michael Clark from TA Lake Station, Indiana (#219) said that he most appreciated the support and friendship from across the country. And while the competition is hot, many techs say the most enjoyable part of their Top Tech Challenge experience is just being with the guys.
Everyone involved felt honored to be part of such an event and truly wanted to learn from the best of the best. Many technicians even said that the company-wide attention to training is what separates TA Truck Service from the rest of the industry.
“Training is supported, promoted and encouraged more here than anywhere else,” said Jason Lott, Top Tech Challenge competitor and past TMCSuperTech competitor from TA Commerce City, Colorado (#148).
“It’s unique in the way special attention is given to each tech to make sure we have the knowledge we need to do our job,” added Joseph Anderson, Georgia state competition champion, Top Tech Challenger and TMCSuperTech vet from TA Commerce, Georgia (#156).
Through Top Tech Challenge and other training initiatives, TA Truck Service continues to promote growth and success to all of our technicians nationwide by providing them with essential training and knowledge to not only improve work in the bays, but also to help technicians build careers.
Congratulations to this year's Top Tech Challenge winners, and our 2017 TMCSuperTech and TMCFutureTech competitors:
Michael Clark, TA Lake Station, Indiana (#219)
Michael Gavrielides, TA Madison, Georgia (#45)
Scott Davidson, TA Madison, Wisconsin (#50)
Robert Anderson, TA Mobile, Alabama (#54)
Jason Lott, TA Commerce City, Colorado (#148)
John Kidd, TA Baltimore South, Maryland (#151)
Joseph Anderson, TA Commerce, Georgia (#156)
Chris Matelli, TA Whitestown, Indiana (#173)
William Andazola, TA Moriarty, New Mexico (#229)
Corey Granger, Petro Weatherford, Texas (#302)
Michael Kerfoot (JR), Petro San Antonio, Texas (#305)
Ryan Stephens, Petro Knoxville, Tennessee (#312)
Bo Logan (Student), TA Whitestown, Indiana (#173)
Nic Levesque (Student), TA Monroe, Michigan (#69)