MEMPHIS, Tenn., — Larry Coatney, a native of Yellville and a fleet maintenance technician based in Harrison, helped FedEx Freight, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. claim its seventh straight team trophy at the 2019 TMCSuperTech competition held in Raleigh, North Carolina TMCSuperTech is the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) premier skills competition for professional commercial vehicle technicians and is organized by the ATA Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Professional Technician Development Committee.
Each company competing at SuperTech has an opportunity to select two technicians whose combined scores determine the team trophy winner. The FedEx Freight team was selected by the company’s technicians competing at SuperTech.
Coatney teamed with Kelby Bentley, a technician at the Greensboro, North Carolina, service center, to win the award. FedEx Freight remains the only fleet to ever win the team competition since its inception in 2013. Coatney said there was some added pressure representing FedEx Freight in the team competition knowing the company had never lost the team competition.
“It was certainly a great feeling being selected as a team co-captain by a group of the best technicians in the country,” Coatney said. “Kelby and I have both learned to handle the pressure well. It’s part of the competition. You don’t make it to Nationals without learning how to deal with the pressure.”
Led by Bentley, who captured the Grand Champion title, fleet maintenance technicians from FedEx Freight captured five of the top 10 finishes at SuperTech.
This is the seventh straight year FedEx Freight had a technician win the Grand Champion title. Bentley joins Phillip Pinter (2018), Mark McLean Jr. (2013, 2014, 2017) and Eric Vos (2015, 2016) as Grand Champions over the past seven years.
Doug Nickles (Rock Island, Illinois) finished as the national runner-up. Philip Barlow (Jacksonville, Florida) earned the fifth-place title. Coatney placed sixth. Eighth place went to Matt Sloan (Jacksonville, Florida).
"Every year the competition seems to be more challenging from the foundation brakes station to the automated transmission station. No matter how much you know, things are always challenging. For us to go in and finish with five technicians among the top 10 among teams from all over the country is a really great accomplishment that I was proud to be a part of” said Coatney.
Two other FedEx Freight technicians finished first and second in the Trailer Track Competition. Joseph Paul (Des Moines, Iowa) captured the Trailer Champion title. Cory Westfall (Effingham, Illinois) was the runner-up.
More than 120 technicians from across the industry faced off in the competition. They were challenged with a written exam and hands-on skills tasks which tested each technician’s knowledge of shop safety, precision measuring, safety and environment, brakes, trailer lighting systems, torque, electrical, preventative maintenance and more.
“I’m incredibly proud of our FedEx Freight competitors, who delivered another outstanding performance at this year’s TMCSuperTech,” said John Smith, president & CEO of FedEx Freight. “These technicians keep our fleet running on a daily basis; allowing FedEx Freight to deliver the Purple Promise to our customers. Their impressive skills are critical to our commitment to Safety Above All.”
FedEx Freight fleet maintenance technicians earned the opportunity to represent the company at SuperTech through their performance during the company’s internal skills competition, Top Wrench. More than 660 technicians competed in Top Wrench competitions this year.
As part of its support of STEM/Employment Pathways, FedEx Freight sponsored five student technicians who competed at FutureTech, TMC’s National Student Technician Competition, which was held in conjunction with SuperTech.
Four of the students sponsored by FedEx Freight won skills stations, while two finished among the top three. Travis Cox, Lincoln Technical Institute student and Shop Technician, Hartford, Connecticut, finished first. Jacob Sweatt (Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem Transportation Center) finished second.