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663a97cce35f19714214f122 Overachiever Dark Horizontal

Shining a spotlight on overachievers

May 8, 2024
Fleet Maintenance is proud to announce that nominations are open for the 2nd annual Overachiever of the Year Awards.

[To nominate someone immediately for the 2024 Fleet Maintenance Overachiever Awards, click the following link: Overachiever Submission Form]

Call me a sucker, but I still believe there’s honor in putting in an honest day’s work. It just feels right to show up on time and do quality work until quitting time. And once upon a time, this lunch pail mentality was portrayed as the true engine of American productivity, shared by those who built our cities and roads, cultivated our crops, and made our goods.

I’d argue that the trades, particularly the transportation industry, still attract this type of person, someone who wants to build and fix, maintain and improve. That’s pretty much the baseline across the board; a technician who doesn’t have a passion for caring for and repairing vehicles or a driver with little regard for safety or efficiency ain’t lasting for long.

Then there are the overachieving outliers. Those are the folks who make us all look bad and lazy by comparison. They show up to work earlier than most and leave even later, working hard and always putting up a good fight against fatigue and distractions. They have a way of setting the pace, making the walkers jog, the joggers run, and runners sprint. Considering the pace at which the transportation sector is changing and evolving, we’d be pretty screwed if not for them. And they don’t even rub it in.

You know the type: insufferably proficient and annoyingly humble about it, too. If you’ve read this magazine for a while, you may be familiar with former editor-in-chief Erica Schueller. She’s totally one of ‘em. While doing this job at an extremely high level, she also completed a ten-week course to earn her CDL. Meanwhile, I have to double check if it’s a Commercial Driver License or Commercial Driver’s License. (It’s one of those, I’m pretty sure.) It’s because of the standard she set that I can barely slack off at all.

Fortunately, our overachieving art director Erin Brown is still here to pull it all together and make me at least appear competent. Thanks to Erin, we were even recognized oursleves as a finalist for Best Overall Art Direction/Design in the 2024 Jesse H. Neal Awards, considered the most prestigious in B2B journalism. Some fancy architecture magazine ended up winning, though I'd say making fixing trucks look as sexy as aerial views of the world's most breathtaking buildings is a major feat in itself. 

Even with that paradigm of quality set, some trucking lingo still doesn’t come quite naturally, and I’ll likely need sources to “dumb things down” for me while writing more technically focused stories for the foreseeable future. But I can recognize greatness when I see it.

And greatness deserves to be recognized, especially when the status quo so often veers to mediocrity in today’s society. That’s why we launched the Fleet Maintenance Overachiever of the Year Awards last year, and why it’s my pleasure to announce we are running it again this year.

Like last time, we need you to nominate someone you work with that goes above and beyond, that pacesetter who pushes everyone else to try a little harder, to learn a little more every day. Our panel of judges will review all submissions and pick the six winners.

We have six distinct categories:

  • Shop Technician
  • Mobile Technician
  • Supervisor/Manager
  • Trainer
  • Shop Owner/ Executive
  • Support Staff

Keep in mind that we are looking for commercial vehicle professionals who demonstrate Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Maintenance. This means a nominee for the support staff category could work in the parts department or shop office, but not in dispatch. And if you work on both consumer and any commercial vehicles, you are eligible.

I’m also a big believer in continuous improvement, so we’re making things easier this year. One criticism from last year was the short nomination period (about a month). We’re giving you all until Sept. 1, 2024.

Also, instead of just emailing us, we’ve created a formal application to guide you through the nomination process. Just head on over to the Fleet Maintenance Overachiever Submission Form and follow the instructions. It shouldn’t take long to fill out.

The glory, however, could be eternal. That’s because winners will receive an individual profile published in our December issue. They’ll also receive trophies, customized apparel, and a prize package loaded with tools and swag donated by our generous sponsors. We are accepting sponsors until Aug. 1, so email [email protected] for more details.

Whatever prizes we can muster, though, won’t likely have as much impact as the simple act of being nominated.

Dewey Bishop, technical trainer at Ozark Motor Lines, who was a winner of one of our inaugural awards, told me, “The jacket and other items were nice, but not necessary” and “Award or not, at the end of the day, I am just trying to help our technicians.”

But the outpouring of support from his colleagues did mean something, as did the recognition by the man who nominated him, Wayne Skinner, Ozark’s VP of fleet maintenance.

“I feel greatly appreciated at work; after receiving the award many co-workers told me it was well deserved,” Bishop said. “I am also greatly appreciative that Wayne took the time to nominate me. It reassures me that working hard to help others does not go unrecognized.”

And the award allowed Skinner to also take a victory lap. He noted he “certainly bragged on [Bishop] to our CFO and my peer VPs at one of our leadership staff meetings.”

If you do notice a coworker, boss, or employee going that extra mile for the maintenance sector, you certainly don't need some B2B magazine award program; you can do that anytime--and you should. What we can do is amplify your efforts, and taking a few minutes to recognize that special colleague may just help them for years to come.

Ryan Ziegler, a mobile technican leader for Cox Automotive in the Pacific Northwest, who won the mobile technician award, noted "it has been a huge confidence boost and a great thing to add to my resume." 

He said Cox has now featured him in safety training, and lauded him on social media and at the company's year-end all-hands confernece. And he does find plenty of uses in his own garage for the M18 FUEL ½” High Torque Impact Wrench

Ziegler noted "this award has helped greatly with name recognition, which in this job and industry goes a long way." This year he plans to pay it forward by recognizing one of the mobile techs he supervises.

He thinks that person has the award locked up, but he did offer some qualities an overachieving mobile technician possesses. These include communicating effectively with customers, always being prepared—and resourceful enough to find what they don't have, and working safely and efficiently while "tackling any obtsacle in their way." 

As one of the judges last year, I can tell you every Overachiver from last year exuded these traits.  

If you know someone who fits the bill of Fleet Maintenance Overachiever, I encourage you to think about what makes them great and nominate them today. 

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor-in-chief, Fleet Maintenance

John Hitch is the editor-in-chief of Fleet Maintenance, where his mission is to provide maintenance management and technicians with the the latest information on the tools and strategies to keep their fleets' commercial vehicles moving.

He is based out of Cleveland, Ohio, and has worked in the B2B journalism space for more than a decade.

Hitch was previously senior editor for FleetOwner, and covers everything related to trucking and commercial vehicle equipment, including breaking news, the latest trends and best practices. He previously wrote about manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest.

Prior to that he was editor for Kent State University's student magazine, The Burr, and a freelancer for Cleveland Magazine. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician, where he served honorably aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723).

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