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2/19/2015 7:20:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Fleet, Service Providers Cite Maintenance, Technician Concerns

John Sommers II for Transport Topics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Fleet and truck service center representatives cited concerns over a shortage of technicians and said raising their pay is likely going to be necessary to keep up with looming technical needs and challenges.

Representatives spoke at a Feb. 18 panel discussion at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting here.

The industry is going to have to consider boosting technicians’ pay, said Mike Jeffress, vice president of maintenance for Maverick Transportation and a former TMC chairman.

“I think we’re going to have to go back to our customer base and say,‘We have a supply-and-demand issue that’s affecting our uptime capability of getting your freight to your door, and here’s the cost of it,’ ” he said.

“The equipment that we’re operating today and will be operating tomorrow requires a vast knowledge” of technical issues, especially going into 2017 and beyond with new federal regulations set to roll in, said Dwayne Haug, vice president of equipment purchasing for Werner Enterprises.

And there’s “a whole new avenue” of challenges coming with alternative fuels for technicians, Haug said.

And that’s “not just for fleet operators,” he added. “It’s for all of support systems and all of our allied members out there [and] truck stops, organizations and dealerships and providing continuing training for those technicians.”

TMC’s service-provider committee is one of its fastest-growing sectors, said Brian Mulshine, director of operations, technology and innovation for Rush Enterprises, which has more than 100 locations around the country.

“We have to find more techs, but first and foremost, we have to use our assets as efficiently and effectively as we can, and that’s going to require some different thinking for us,” said Ken Calhoun, vice president of customer relations for Truck Centers of Arkansas, which sells Freightliner trucks.

By Michael G. Malloy
Staff Reporter

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