Trucks at Work

The ongoing battle to maintain trucks

I’m reminded every year I attend the 2013 Rush Truck Centers (RTC) Technician Skills Rodeo (and I’ve attended seven of them now) just how critical maintenance and repair talent is to the commercial vehicle industry; indeed, how vital that discipline is to ensuring commerce keeps flowing in our nation, thus keeping our economy rolling on to bigger and better things.

[You can watch some of the competition on day two of RTC’s unfold in the video below.]

Kirk Altrichter, general chairman of Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) and VP-maintenance for Gordon Trucking, really nailed down how important the role of the technician is today in this industry during a speech he gave during the Rodeo’s awards banquet.

[Click here to view photos for day one of the 2013 RTC Rodeo, here to view pictures from day two, and here to view some of the more unusual sights seen during the competition.]

“The skilled professional trades are the bedrock upon which America is built,” he said. “Every day, a technician makes it possible for a truck driver to make a living, for a trucking company to be profitable, and for products to be delivered across our nation.”

Altrichter (seen at right) also encouraged the gathered technicians themselves to go out into their communities to help encourage younger generations to check out this career; one vital to supporting the health of the U.S. as a whole.

“Each person here impacts not only our industry but our communities and need to ensure that our voice is heard about the importance of the vocational trades,” he stressed. “We need to remind the American public about how their way of life relies upon professional trades like ours.”

Even NASCAR racer Tony Stewart mentioned the importance of trucking and truck maintenance in comments he made during a press conference at the event – an event he attended as part of sponsorship deal forged between his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and RTC’s parent company, Rush Enterprises, back in February this year.

Stewart’s use of the word “passionate” to describe how many in the trucking industry feel about the work they do – from those driving the trucks on across to those fixing them – is spot on, I think.

Yet the challenge for this industry is to winds to create such passion in the younger generations now entering the U.S. workforce – and I think will be partly through skills competitions like RTC’s as well as similar events aimed at truck drivers  than may just help fire up such passion for trucking careers in the months and years to come. That’s the hope at least.

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