Media Contact: Michelle Petroff, Truck Centers Inc., (618) 667-4392 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release
Truck Centers Crowns New Tech Challenge Champion
After two rounds of fierce competition, the “2nd Annual TCI Tech Challenge” competition yielded a new champion. Truck Centers, Inc. launched the competition in 2010 to highlight the knowledge and professional skills of the service technicians that consistently deliver premier service to our customers throughout Illinois and Missouri.
James Krikie, an 11-year veteran of TCI-Mt. Vernon, secured top honors and a $3,500 cash prize during the hands-on finale at the company’s state-of-the-art Training Center in Troy, IL, on October 24, 2011. Krikie’s consistent performance at all workstations and a lightening speed diagnosis at the Engine Wiring/Fault Code Station presented by Freightliner that stumped many competitors solidified his first place ranking. James cultivated his technical skills while serving our country in the U.S. Army and worked at another dealership in Texas before joining Truck Centers. He is praised for his diagnostic ability, advanced skills and superior productivity with minimal comebacks. This year’s Tech Challenge competition was exceptionally beneficial to our Mt. Vernon store as they were able clench the championship and rookie titles.
In all, 60 technicians from five Truck Centers, Inc. service departments vied for top honors in the competition that tested the participants’ abilities in common diagnostic problems and basic Class 7-8 truck repairs as well as advanced topics relating to Daimler Trucks of North America products including Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Detroit Diesel engines with a 150-question written examination. The ten technicians with the highest cumulative written scores then gathered at Truck Centers’ Training Center for the final round of hands-on skills competition in five modules that included Engine Wiring/Fault Codes, Literature/AccessFreightliner Resources, Chassis Wiring, Wheel End/Brake Systems, and Engine Mechanics. The finalists were graded on procedures, diagnostic processes and thorough repair of the issue in timed exercises for a composite score at each station. In addition to the recognition of their abilities, participants were competing for nearly $8,000 in cash prizes.
“The Tech Challenge Competition was created to highlight the skills and professional training that our technicians bring to the Truck Centers’ network of dealerships,” says Katie Hopkins, executive vice president. “Their talents are what help us consistently deliver superior customer service and minimal downtime to our customers. The fact that all of our full-service dealerships were represented in the final round indicates the consistency and quality that we strive to deliver with every visit. I would like to congratulate James Krikie and the other finalists as well as all of the participants for their involvement, support and suggestions that will help us prepare for another exciting competition next year.”
Truck Centers, Inc. would like to thank all of the generous vendors who supported this year’s Tech Challenge competition: Accuride, Daimler Truck Financial, Freightliner, Meritor, Shell Lubricants, Detroit Diesel, Donaldson Filtration Systems, Eaton/Road Ranger and Goodyear Engineered Products.
Chassis Wiring presented by Accuride: Don Blaney, TCI-Springfield
Wheel End/Brakes presented by Meritor: Rick Hamm, TCI-Morton
Literature/AccessFreightliner Resources presented by Daimler Truck Financial: Zach Brown, TCI-Springfield
Engine Wiring/Fault Codes presented by Freightliner: James Krikie, TCI-Mt. Vernon
Engine Mechanics presented by Shell Lubricants: Don Blaney, TCI-Springfield
2011 TCI TECH CHALLENGE RECOGNITIONS
1st Place Champion: JAMES KRIKIE – TCI-MT. VERNON
James received his technical training while serving in the US Army for 5 years including service as a Sergeant in Desert Storm and previously worked for a dealership in Texas. He has been at TCI for 11 years and maintains a consistent productivity level that exceeds 100% with less than a tenth of a percent in comeback work. James has shown his commitment to his trade and TCI’s customers with his willingness to help when needed and his exceptional daily performance. He always goes the extra mile to ensure that technical questions are answered when someone needs help. James finished 3rd in the inaugural Tech Challenge competition before claiming this year’s championship title and one station win. Not only was he one of only three to get the correct answer in the Engine Electronics station, he did so in half of the time of the 2nd place finisher. James currently resides in Mt. Vernon, IL.
2nd Place: DON BLANEY – TCI-SPRINGFIELD
Don started with TCI Springfield in 1989 as an apprentice from Lincoln Tech and now is a Journeyman Technician. He has built a reputation as a “go to” answer man for other technicians and has finished in the runner-up position in 2010 and 2011 for the Tech Challenge title and this year was top performer in two stations – Chassis Wiring and Engine Mechanics. Don resides in Pana, IL, with his wife and two daughters.
3rd Place: ZACH BROWN – TCI SPRINGFIELD
Zach has been with TCI Springfield for 2 1/2 years he graduated from UTI of Chicago and then went to Phoenix, AZ, for the Finish First training program. He was last year’s highest finishing rookie who took the written Tech Challenge examination but missed qualifying for the hands-on finale. This year, Zach has been a great example of the opportunities for and potential of our younger technicians as he not only qualified for the finale, but also finished 3rd with one station win. Zach is from Sherman, IL.
4th Place: GABE KLINE – TCI-MORTON
Gabe had been at other dealerships for 7 years before joining the Truck Centers’ team in 1998. This is his second appearance in the Tech Challenge as he also finished fourth last year. Gabe lives in Chillicothe, IL, and spends his extra time operating the township’s plow truck in the winter and with his three children.
5th Place: TOM GUPPY – TCI-MORTON
Tom worked for Ford for a decade before joining the TCI team in 1999. He has worked as a technician and a foreman but opted to return to the shop floor to help generate some revenue and work alongside his peers. This year was Tom’s first year in the Tech Challenge finale and finished 5th overall. He resides in Banner, IL.
6th Place: MIKE GRAWE – TCI-TROY
Mike has been a member of the Truck Centers’ team for 16 years and previously worked as an independent service provider and technician in the U.S. Army. He was one of the Top-5 finalists in last year’s Tech Challenge. Mike is married to his wife, Cheryl, and they have four children.
7th Place: JOHN “BUSTER” LAMKE – TCI-TROY
Buster has been raised around trucks in his family’s independent repair shop and he joined the Truck Centers’ team 11 ½ years ago and is now joined on the shop floor by his two sons. He is an ASE Master Technician with multiple certifications and currently makes the long commute from Union, MO.
8th Place: RICK HAMM – TCI-MORTON
Rick worked at a local Ford dealership for 8 years before joining the TCI team in 2000. He has worked as a technician and foreman but enjoys the hands-on nature of his technician role. In his debut performance in the Tech Challenge, Rick was top performer in the Wheel End/Brakes station. He resides in Delavan, IL, with his wife and son.
9th Place: MIKE VOSE – TCI-SPRINGFIELD
Mike, like Zach Brown, represents the next generation of skilled technicians that Truck Centers is proud to have as part of our dedicated team. Mike joined TCI 7 months ago and qualified for the Tech Challenge finals in his first attempt. He is from Springfield, IL.
10th Place: ROB MCNEES – TCI-ST. LOUIS
Rob has been with TCI St. Louis for 24 years. He started his career as a porter, worked his way through an apprenticeship, and now is a Journeyman Technician. He was the inaugural TCI Tech Challenge champion in 2010 and has recently been recognized as Freightliner’s ASE Master M/H Truck Technician of the Year. Rob is married, has two children and currently resides in Belleview, MO.
Rookie of the Year: ADAM JOLLIFF – TCI-MT. VERNON
Adam is our second Rookie of the Year recipient and has been with TCI for 10 months. He is currently finishing his degree in diesel mechanics and will graduate from Rend Lake College this semester. Adam currently resides in Centralia, IL.
Seven Locations in Illinois and Missouri
Troy IL, Mt.Vernon IL, St. Louis MO, Springfield IL, Decatur IL, Morton IL, St. Peters MO