Technical manager of the dealer
This is one of a series of interviews with frontline workers as Today’s Trucking celebrates National Trucking Week September 5-11.
Tell us about your job and the work in it.
I am an inter-provincial truck and transportation technician and the Dealer Technical Director (DTM) at Peterbilt Atlantic. I started working for Peterbilt Atlantic in October 2010 providing technician training and technical support for parts and sales departments on everything to do with commercial vehicles.
DTMs work closely with the district service supervisor, the engine managers and the engineering groups. This provides quick access to new information, factory technical support, and the ability to provide goodwill assistance to customers who experience an error outside of standard warranty coverage on a case-by-case basis.
How did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
In my childhood I was always interested in everything mechanical and spent a lot of time on my uncle’s farm, where he also had a sawmill and a small garage. Not only was there farm equipment to be repaired, but the locals would bring almost any vehicle or equipment for repair, from lawnmowers to gravel trucks to logging trucks.
In 1984 I went to NBCC (New Brunswick Community College) and took part in the Truck and Transport Program. After graduation, I worked at the local Freightliner dealer doing all aspects of truck repairs. I started specializing in diesel engine repair and then electronic engines when they first came into the industry. I then became a trainer for Freightliner and Detroit Diesel dealerships and offered factory training to all Freightliner and Western Star dealerships in eastern Canada.
What do you like most about your job?
Technology changes rapidly in the trucking industry and I always enjoy learning new things and the challenges of fixing these hard-to-fix problems.
And I help younger technicians by sharing my experiences and giving guidance so they can learn by doing it, rather than just telling them what to do. I’ve always believed that you have to know how to work properly in order to fix it when it doesn’t work. So you really need to understand the often complicated systems of today’s trucks.
What is the biggest challenge facing the trucking industry today?
The continuing shortage of drivers and skilled technicians in the industry in recent years is a major challenge. Waiting for a truck to be repaired costs businesses a lot of time and money, and if it’s not repaired properly the first time it is a very frustrating situation for everyone involved.
Also, there is currently a huge shortage of some parts in the industry, especially electronic parts, and this is causing delays not only for new vehicles waiting in the factory, but also for customers’ current vehicles that may need to be repaired.
Why do you think the trucking industry should be celebrated?
The trucking industry employs a large number of people, both directly and indirectly, and is really what drives the economy. It’s an integral part of what people do and need every day, from food to consumer products to the fuel in our vehicles. Somewhere along the supply chain there was a truck for almost every product.
While some think it’s not a very glamorous industry, these are the “get-it-done” folks, and we all benefit from it.