Pictured from left to right: Anthony Balkonis (VP, Service & Warranty), Nathan Reed (International Truck RWC Group), Fabio Souza (EVP, Service Solutions), Anthony DeCicco (IC Bus Wolfington Body Company), Carlos Junquera ( Dir, Supply Chain & Service).

Navistar launches technician skills competition

June 7, 2023
Ten technicians competed in the inaugural skills competition to display industry excellence.

In an effort to recognize technician excellence, Navistar has launched its inaugural Top Team technician skills competition. Taking place at Navistar’s Service Solutions Expo in Grapevine, Texas, earlier this month, 10 International Truck and IC Bus Master Certified and Diamond Certified technicians from North America competed in a series of skills-based contests surrounding diagnostics, maintenance, and repairs.

Nathan Reed from RWC Group in Seattle, Washington, has been named International Truck’s 2023 Top Team technician, and Anthony DeCicco from Wolfington Body Co. in Exton, Pennsylvania, has been named IC Bus’s 2023 Top Team technician.

Part of Navistar’s TECH EmPOWERment program’s retention and recognition strategy, the Top Team competition replaces the Technician Rodeo, which was last held in 2019. All Master Certified technicians and Diamond Certified technicians from the International truck and IC Bus dealer networks were invited to test for a spot in the Top Team competition. Some 420 certified technicians took the test, with the top 10 being selected to participate in the competition.

Read more: How to build a solid technician pipeline

“The Top Team competition is a concept which is very important for Navistar’s future and our industry,” said Fabio Souza, EVP, service solutions, in a statement. “This is an environment where the technician can feel that we recognize their value. I want them to understand that they are critical to the execution of our strategy.”

During the competition, the service technicians had the opportunity to display their skills, knowledge, and professionalism as they safely and efficiently diagnosed and repaired different systems in mobile or stationary equipment. The 20 stations included tests on engines, air brakes, aftertreatment systems, electrical systems, wiring, and the Diamond Logicelectrical system and fault codes, among others. Competitors had 30 minutes to complete each station, with 10 minutes of judging afterward until moving to the next station. Beyond learning and testing their expertise, the Top Team contestants fostered camaraderie, networked with industry leaders, and identified trusted mentors to offer guidance as their careers advance.

“There is a lot of learning. There is a lot of networking,” said Souza. “I hope the technicians walk away with a sense of pride about the career they have selected and that they share that pride with others, thereby attracting more people to become technicians.”

DeCicco was inspired to join the trucking industry by his father, an ASE Master technician. After initially training under his dad when he was just 16 years old, DeCicco now has 14 years of experience and points to his Navistar ASE certification as his proudest achievement. Despite his career expertise, this win was unexpected.

“This means everything,” said DiCicco. “Working as a technician has really been my only career. To be able to come here and be recognized as the best is validation that I picked the right career. It’s not necessarily a glamorous job. So, to come here and enjoy a nice resort, get to network, and do all the things that are rarities in our field is going to encourage people to try harder and recruit more.”

Reed, a Master Certified technician, truck enthusiast, and competitive rock crawler, became a technician 15 years ago knowing the trucking industry offered excellent income potential and career opportunities.

“The level of technicians who are here is incredibly high,” said Reed. “To be able to win this competition and come in first place is a huge honor for me. The technicians sometimes don’t get the appreciation for the job that they do and keeping these trucks on the road. There’s a ton of people in the dealership that contribute to that from the salespeople who sell the trucks, to the advisors who bring them in for repair. But at the end of the day, if the technicians aren’t there to get these trucks fixed, the whole thing stops. So, I’m proud of those who are here. There are some incredibly talented technicians who are here for this competition and I’m hoping that we can see that grow and recognize even more technicians as we go forward.”

Each of the winning contestants received a first-place medal, a voucher for a future vacation of their choice, and a trophy which Navistar specially designed and built at its Product Support Center in Woodridge, Illinois. Additionally, as the victorious technician from International Truck, Reed earned a sponsorship to participate in the TMC’s 2023 National Technician Skills Competition in September 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. During that event, technicians will be evaluated for excellence in maintenance and quality control in servicing traditional (heavy duty), trailer, and light/medium vehicles.

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