Taking it for the team

by Brandi Cramer

OK Transportation’s Bill Dinino is the latest to have his name carved on the coveted Volvo Trucks Canada Canadian Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year Award but it may take the 38-year-veteran a while to get used to operating in the limelight.

“Just to be nominated with the likes of the past winners blows me out of the water,” is Dinino’s initial reaction to joining the select group of the nation’s best maintenance managers. And he’s quick to share the spotlight with his team of two foremen, six mechanics and two apprentices as well as the Lobraico family, which owns OK Transportation and for whom Dinino has worked for the past 12 years.

“Without a team it’s pretty hard to accomplish some of your goals in life,” he says. “My favorite thing is working with people. It’s the joy of seeing something completed when there is a team effort.”

The award is given out annually by Volvo Trucks Canada with the winner chosen by a judging panel consisting of two past winners and two trucking business magazine editors, including Motortruck’s Lou Smyrlis. Applicants must work with at least 25 Class 8 vehicles with a minimum of 80% of the repairs and maintenance done within their own facilities, have 5 years fleet maintenance experience (3 of those as a full-time maintenance manager, superintendent or director) and be involved in the spec’ing of new equipment. Naturally, accomplishments and industry participation separate the winners from the rest of the applicants.

Dinino, who manages 450 pieces of equipment, scored high in both these areas.

“He has consistently raised the goals and objectives of the company’s maintenance. He plays a very active role in industry functions with the OTA and ATSSA as well as having an active role in the promotion of apprenticeship programs at Centennial College,” explained John Montgomery, Volvo Trucks Canada’s National Service Manager, who presented Dinino with the award at the annual Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar in May.

Dinino and his team have helped OK Transportation tackle important maintenance issues with innovative ideas. These include a re-torque program. Re-torquing is automatically performed any time a company truck has any work done on it which requires the removal of a tire. A sticker at the back of the cab indicates the date of the event. “This is a cost to the company,” he says of OK Transportation’s dedication to safety. “They went out and got these stickers made up.”

OK also has an extensive tire program which has been up and running for approximately four years.

“When we started getting heavy into the States, we seemed to have more tire failure,” says Dinino. He took all the tires that were being re-capped and decided that anything more than five-years-old would be scrapped. He looked at the tread design on virgin casings and decided that drive tires would be put on virgin casings and the second time around, they would run in the city.

“In our application we run nothing but new tires on our tankers. Once the five years are up, they’re gone, he says.

He says fleets need to put new tires into the mix in order to have good casings.

Dinino also likes to experiment. If he sees a possibility in making things work better, saving time or money, he is not afraid to try it.

“I’m running air tabs right now. Tests we have done so far show a 6% savings in fuel economy,” he says.

Currently, he has five units equipped with tabs (by Aeroserve Technologies Ltd.) around the fairing of the tractor and the rear leading edges of the trailers creating a vortex to reduce drag on the vehicles.

“We are also running two other devices to save fuel and we’re trying devices to cut emissions,” he explains adding that testing is not yet completed.

Dinino is also a strong believer in keeping his crew’s abilities in tip-top shape. OK Transportation holds several in-house training sessions with a variety of OEMs throughout the course of a year.

“It’s to get the guys to feel comfortable with what they’re doing,” explains Dinino. To him, simply knowing how the widget works is the best policy. “By knowing the trade there is a potential for huge savings for the company and also the ability to pass that knowledge on to your crew.”

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