CLEVELAND—For the second time in four competitions, FedEx Freight’s Phillip Pinter became Grand Champion of TMCSuperTech, the annual American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Councils’ National Technicians Skills Competitions. The event was held in Cleveland's Huntington Convention Center from Sept. 25-26. Pinter’s FedEx colleague Bonnie Greenwood came in second place, which is the highest ranking ever for a female in the competition’s 17-year history.
Pinter last won the intense two-day event, which tests a technician’s knowledge and hands-on skills in regards to heavy-duty trucking maintenance, in 2018. There was no competition in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He credits pouring over TMC’s Recommended Practices and manufacturers’ maintenance manuals as the key to his success. “It's a lot of reading and it's a lot of work,” Pinter said. “There's a lot of time that goes into it.”
Pinter also credited his shop teacher at his Dundee, Michigan, high school for pushing him into the trades. He attended Michigan Institute of aviation technology in 2009, but switched to the more in-demand automotive repair field. He went to heavy-duty diesel in 2015, when he joined FedEx Freight.
“I haven't really looked back since,” he said. “The automotive and heavy truck industries have treated me very well.”
The win also paid quite well, with Pinter taking home nearly $20,000 in shop equipment and prizes, supplied by companies including Cox Automotive, Hendrickson, Imperial Supplies, MOTOR Information, Noregon, NEXIQ, Premier Tuck Group, Reliance, Snap-On, and Truck-Lite.
Greenwood, a shop technician in the Salt Lake City area, was also the first woman to win TMCFutureTech, the student version of SuperTech.
Greenwood, who has Bachelor’s Degree in wildlife biology, went to WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming, to learn how to become a diesel technician. She was attracted to the math and science aspects of the trade.
Greenwood’s victory may also be just what the industry needs to attract more female technicians. Female technicians account for about 2-3% of the vehicle repair sector, according to industry estimates.
“I feel incredibly proud to be representing women in this industry today, to have this opportunity—I'm really thankful,” Greenwood said shortly after the event. “And I just encourage more and more women to get involved. The trades need more people. And there's a whole other half of our population that we haven't tapped fully into.”
While SuperTech only had one other female competitor, women represented about a quarter of the 17 FutureTech participants, all from WyoTech.
Greenwood reiterated that female techs “can do any job we set our minds to,” and that any women thinking about a career in the trades should “chase that down and go after it.”
And what would Greenwood say to anyone questioning that she is one of the most capable techs in the country, regardless of gender?
“I'd say, ‘Step back and watch me work. I can do any job, and I will find a way to do it,” she asserted.
See also: Why are shops still a 'no woman’s land'?
FedEx Freight swept the top five of the two-day competition, with Eric Vos finishing third, Doug Nickles fourth, and Kelby Bentley fifth.
This year, Mario Kjuka, a student at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, won TMCFutureTech. Timothy Rose from Ferris State University finished second and Braedon Pollard from DMACC Transportation Institute was third
FedEx Freight’s Cory Westfall won the TMCSuperTech Trailer Track competition, with Cox Automotive’s Michael Kerfoot Jr. finishing second. Travis Cox of FedEx Freight placed third.
In the light- and medium-duty track, Phillip Barlow of FedEx Freight came in first, edging out Kevin Malczyk of Frito-lay North America (2nd place) and FedEx Freight’s Chris Czerwinski (3rd place).
The first day of the competition for the heavy-duty track, Sept. 25, comprised a series of written exams at 12 stations, while the second day was more hands-on.
“After a two-year pause, having a full competition with all of our tracks and hosting 140 technicians was tremendously gratifying,” said Robert Braswell, TMC executive director. “Congratulations not just to the winners, but to all the competitors for making it to Nationals and we look forward to seeing them all back here next year.”
Full List of Station Winners
Heavy-Duty Track: Day One Stations
- ASE Written Test: Joseph Anderson, TravelCenters of America
- RP Manual: Nicholas Bryant, FedEx Freight
- Wiring Diagrams: Phillip Pinter, FedEx Freight
- Lubricants and Fuels: Phillip Pinter, FedEx Freight
- Coolants and DEF: Kelby Bentley, FedEx Freight
- Hydraulics and Drivebelts: Bonnie Greenwood, FedEx Freight
- Electrical Circuits: Nathan Olson, NationaLease
- Fasteners: Phillip Pinter, FedEx Freight
- Precision Measuring: Phillip Pinter, FedEx Freight
- Service Information: Michael Krause, Clarke Power Services Inc.
- Cybersecurity: Adam Martin, W. W. Williams
- Trailer Lighting: Mitchell Buelow, FedEx Freight
Heavy-Duty Track: Day Two Stations
- Brakes: Jesse Elmore, Doggett Freightliner
- Wheel End: Phillip Pinter, FedEx Freight
- Fifth Wheel: Kelby Bentley, FedEx Freight
- Liftgates: Eric Vos, FedEx Freight
- HVAC: Charles Gleason, UPS Inc.
- Tire and Wheel: Mitchell Buelow, FedEx Freight
- Tractor PMI: Doug Nickles, FedEx Freight
- Starting and Charging: Eric Vos, FedEx Freight
- Steering and Suspension: Eric Vos, FedEx Freight
- Written Test: Robert Aabye, UPS Inc.
- Hydraulics and Drivebelts: Sean Bring, Tyson Foods
- Trailer Wheel End: Ray Titus, TravelCenters of America
- Precision Measuring: Michael Kerfoot Jr., Cox Automotive Mobility
- Trailer Fasteners: Travis Cox, FedEx Freight
- Trailer PMI: Cory Westfall, FedEx Freight
- Trailer Alignment: Adam Burton, Great Dane
- Roll-Up Doors: Cory Westfall, FedEx Freight
- Trailer Lighting: Michael Kerfoot Jr., Cox Automotive Mobility
- Trailer Liftgates: Michael Kerfoot Jr., Cox Automotive Mobility
- Central Tire Inflation: Adam Burton, Great Dane
- Trailer Electrical Corrosion: Michael Kerfoot Jr., Cox Automotive Mobility
- Trailer ABS: Cory Westfall, FedEx Freight
Light and Medium Vehicles Track
- Written Test: Philip Barlow, FedEx Freight
- Fasteners: Kevin Malczyk, Frito-Lay North America
- Wiring Diagrams: Nicolai Greco, UPS Inc.
- RP Manuals: Philip Barlow, FedEx Freight
- Coolants and DEF: Philip Barlow, FedEx Freight
- Precision Measuring: Philip Barlow, FedEx Freight
- Electrical Circuits: Kevin Malczyk, Frito-Lay North America
- Lubricants and Fuels: Sergio Chaira, UPS Inc.
- Wheel End: Chris Czerwinski, FedEx Freight
- EVAP Systems: Philip Barlow, FedEx Freight
- Preventive Maintenance: Chris Czerwinski, FedEx Freight
- Trailer Liftgates: Kevin Malczyk, Frito-Lay North America
- Aftertreatment: Nicolai Greco, UPS Inc.
TMCFutureTech Stations Winners
- Written Test: Zachary Miller, Forsyth Technical Community College
- Fasteners: Max Coons, WyoTech
- RP Manuals: Avery Baldridge, WyoTech
- Wiring Diagrams: Mario Kjuka, Forsyth Technical Community College
- Preventive Maintenance: Max Coons, WyoTech
- Electrical Circuits: Max Coons, WyoTech
- Lubricants and Fuels: Zachary Miller, Forsyth Technical Community College
- Precision Measuring: Matthew Liddell, WyoTech
- Coolants and DEF: Timothy Rose, Ferris State University
- Trailer Lighting: Mario Kjuka, Forsyth Technical Community College
- Trailer Wheel End: Haley Karlberg, WyoTech
- Aftertreatment: Braedon Pollard, DMACC Transportation Institute
- Hydraulics and Drivebelts: Braedon Pollard, DMACC Transportation Institute
For the full list of winners, visit TMC's website.