TravelCenters of America
Homer Hogg, VP of truck service at TravelCenters of America.

Hogg: The face of industry technicians

Oct. 14, 2021
Homer Hogg, VP of truck service at TravelCenters of America, reflects on his impact on the technician space and where it's headed.

Homer Hogg, VP of truck service at TravelCenters of America, began his journey in the transportation industry as a teenager taking shop class at a local vocational school. But it wasn’t until Hogg went on to Nashville Auto Diesel College that his career took off.

“I grew up on a farm and started working on farm equipment when I was very young, but shop class really ignited my passion for the repair shop industry,” Hogg explained. “But my time at the Auto Diesel College, LTI – Lincoln College of Technology, in Nashville is where I excelled and developed a foundation for success."

Hogg was employed by Ryder as soon as he graduated from Auto Diesel College. 

“A few years later, I felt a passion to help other technicians succeed,” Hogg said. “Ryder System promoted me to a supervisor position, and from that time forward, I knew that helping others succeed would be my lifelong pursuit.” 

Hogg worked his way up the corporate ladder and became director of maintenance at Ryder with responsibility for training, service literature, and advanced vehicle diagnostics in addition to many other corporate responsibilities. Since then, he has transitioned to TravelCenters of America to develop their technicians department with new tools, procedures, quality, and training.

“I am inspired by the technological advancements we have and continue to see in the industry,” Hogg explained. “My passion for this industry escalates as the industry quickly migrates to more environmentally friendly solutions that will help generations to come enjoy a more healthy climate.”

According to Hogg, one of the most challenging aspects in the technical space is just getting enough young people to hear about the opportunities in this industry. 

“Technicians can be promoted to many career paths such as parts, warranty, technical support, operations management, and corporate program management—just to name a few,” Hogg said. “We need to be able to articulate the opportunities that exist in our industry. Not everyone is wired to complete a degree in business or become an engineer, but that does not hinder their ability to earn a great living and contribute in a major way to help keep this nation moving.

“My most difficult challenge is how to help as many technicians as possible succeed,” Hogg added. “When I was a technical trainer, I interfaced with many technicians day-to-day, but now I work to influence the industry to improve professionalism and provide the recognition that technicians deserve. It can be challenging when you work at a high level to make long-term changes because the impact is not often seen until months or years later.”

The future of technicians is surrounded by the advancements of technology. According to Hogg, technology has changed repair techniques as well as the day-to-day life of a technician.

“There was a time when a technician could use a few pressure gauges and some basic tools to diagnose and repair vehicles,” Hogg explained. “Today, meters and electronic hardware and software are required. Technicians must learn at a rapid pace as technology advances occur more frequently. In the past, technicians had some realistic lead times to learn component and vehicle changes every couple of years. Currently, technology changes are made more frequently, which places a premium on technicians learning a living versus earning one.”

As VP of truck services, Hogg will continue to look for opportunities to help technicians grow and achieve success. Hogg co-hosts a Sirius XM radio show with Dave Nemo on Thursday mornings dubbed "Maintenance Matters" and discusses a range of topics such as brake systems, charging and cranking systems, top emissions-related defects, and more.

“When techs are successful, the industry does well, so working as a member of the TA team, I will help our shops continue to grow and excel as we support our customers,” Hogg said. “I am grateful to work for a company that allows me the ability to not only help solve challenges for our customers but help with organizations like TMC and ASE as they work to solve industry-wide challenges."

Hogg currently sits on the board of directors for ASE, multiple tech school advisory councils, and chairs TMC’s S16 Study Group. In addition, Hogg travels to a variety of trucking events, including HDAW, a B2B executive conference presented by a joint operating committee of industry leaders from 12 industry associations.

“One out of every 16 people in this country works in transportation. The mere size of this market is worth at least a good look from anyone thinking about a long-term career,” Hogg explained. “I encourage technicians to visit working shops and see what technicians are doing. Quickly they will see computers and diagnostic equipment in use all during a technician's day. Whether the tech is working on brakes, steering and suspension, fuel systems, or most any other truck system, electronic diagnostics are part of the day in the life of a technician.”

Hogg’s advice? “Learn all you can about electricity and computer systems because that is the present and the future. 

“I also encourage any person thinking about a meaningful career to consider this industry,” Hogg added. “As we quickly move trucks and trailers to a green future, learn all you can about alternative energy such as high voltage and hydrogen because that skill set will be critical as we move forward. It’s all about alternative energy and remote diagnostics. These two areas will dominate the market for the next 20 to 30 years.”

About the Author

Catharine Conway | Digital Editor

Catharine Conway previously wrote for FleetOwner with a Master of Science in Publishing degree and more than seven years’ experience in the publishing and editorial industries. Based in Stamford, Conn., she was critical to the coordination of any and all digital content organization and distribution through various FleetOwner and American Trucker channels, including website, newsletters, and social media. 

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