GREENVILLE, SC – September 21, 2009 – The National Association for Pupil Transport (NAPT), South Carolina Department of Education and Michelin North America will shine the spotlight on school bus maintenance September 23-25, when top school bus technicians and inspectors from across the country will compete to become America’s Best Technician or America’s Best Inspector.
The competition will be hosted by Michelin North America at the company’s Donaldson Center training campus.
School bus maintenance is critical to the education system in South Carolina, said Marshall Casey, director of school bus maintenance for the Department of Education. We take great pride in the bus maintenance program we’ve put in place and we look forward to hosting the best school bus technicians and inspectors the country has to offer.”
America’s Best hopefuls will participate in two separate competitions: one for technical diagnostic skills and one for vehicle inspections skills. Each of these individual competitions will include a written examination and multiple hands-on components.
The exam will cover technical aspects of various school bus components, including electrical systems, brakes, engines, suspensions, drive trains and body systems. All topics will be relative to actual school bus applications. This examination will be prepared and administered by The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
During the second portion of the competition, technicians must demonstrate their ability to diagnose, troubleshoot and repair various mechanical components found on school buses. Competitors will rotate through three diagnostic stations involving an actual vehicle and a bench test situation. Inspectors will rotate through three stations requiring them to examine all vehicle components and systems to identify defects.
South Carolina will be represented in the competition by technician Alan Wenzel, shop foreman from Summerville and a seven-year veteran of the state’s school bus transportation department, and inspector Tommy Grady, roving technician for upstate South Carolina, with 20 years of experience.
Over the years, America’s Best Tech has been successful in raising awareness for school bus maintenance and safety, said NAPT president Bill Tousley. Not only does the competition help technicians share and learn best practices, but the information provided is valuable for continuous improvement and learning. We’re delighted to be holding the 2009 competition in Greenville.