Originally published in FleetOwner
Since 1998, the trucking industry has set aside a week in September to honor truck drivers. Now, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) has announced National Technician Appreciation Week — the inaugural event was Sept. 21-25 — to celebrate the hard work and commitment of professional technicians.
“We are proud and beyond excited to launch this important week and dedicate a time to say ‘thank you’ to the professional technicians that are so integral to the trucking industry,” said Robert Braswell, TMC’s executive director. “Professional technicians are the unsung heroes. Like a well-oiled machine, they keep business moving and trucks on the road.”
I was excited to hear about a week being set aside to honor technicians. While drivers certainly are heroes for getting behind the wheel day after day to ensure we have the things we need and want, we shouldn’t overlook the work of technicians. They are the ones who make sure vehicles are in top operating condition so drivers — and the motoring public in general — are safe on the roads.
Given the rapid pace of technological changes on today’s trucks and their increased sophistication, keeping up-to-speed on maintenance and repair procedures is a Herculean job. And yet truck technicians continue to evolve their skills and abilities in order to be able to provide top-notch service.
TMC asked the industry to nominate Technician Superstars, who exemplify the highest levels of excellence and professionalism. Winners were chosen in three categories: heavy-duty, trailer and light/medium duty. It also instituted several other awards.
If you are not currently doing anything to recognize the contributions of your technicians, now is probably a good time to start thinking about who you might nominate for next year’s Technician Superstar. You also might want to think about setting up a technician recognition program inside your own operation to let your technicians know how important they are not only to your fleet, but to the industry as a whole.
COVID-19 turned the spotlight on truck drivers and the valuable and important work they do. Now is the time to widen that spotlight to include technicians for their role in keeping trucks rolling.