As a business with more than 272,000 vehicles to maintain, the fleet management, transportation, and supply chain solutions provider Ryder System Inc. is serious about training its technicians.
To motivate its mechanics to sharpen their skills—as well as highlight its commitment to quality maintenance service—Miami-based Ryder hosts a "Top Tech" competition each year, offering a $50,000 cash prize to the "Ryder Top Technician." A prize that big attracts a lot of attention, and this year, more than 2,800 of Ryder's 6,300 U.S.- and Canada-based technicians applied to be evaluated on their technical training qualifications, customer service performance, and quality workmanship.
After three rounds of written tests and hands-on competitions, the field was narrowed to eight finalists. Last month, those finalists assembled at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis for the competition's final round, where they went head to head in a series of mechanical skills tests across 10 truck "workstations." Competitors rotated every 25 minutes under the critical eye of 10 judges, assessing each station for issues involving vehicle electronics, preventive maintenance, air conditioning, and the like.
The winner of this year's competition was Ken Bilyea of London, Ontario, who took home the top prize. But the other contenders didn't go home empty-handed. Each of the other seven finalists received a $10,000 cash award.