MIAMI, Fla. – For the first time ever, a Canadian was named the winner of Ryder System’s Top Technician competition.
(L-R) Bill Dawson, v.p. of Maintenance & Engineering; Robert Sanchez, Chairman & CEO; Darek Mowinski’s wife Carlene; Darek Mowinski, winner; Dennis Cooke, president of Fleet Management Solutions, Tom Havens, senior v,p, & Chief of Operations. (Photo: Business Wire)
Darek Mowinski, Ryder’s 2016 Top Technician, won a cash prize of $50,000 for beating out his fellow Ryder technicians. This is the first time a Ryder Canada technician has smoked the competition.
The Ryder Top Technician (Top Tech) Recognition Program – designed to identify, recognize, and reward Ryder’s top performing truck maintenance technicians – celebrated its 15th anniversary this year with a “History in the Making” theme, and hosted the competition at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside of Washington, D.C.
After advancing through three increasingly demanding rounds of challenging written and hands-on tests, eight finalists competed in the Top Tech final competition, which consisted of 10 rigorous hands-on skill tests, including vehicle electronics, preventive maintenance, and air conditioning. The top competing finalists, in addition to Mowinski, were as follows:
· Chris Barnett of Crittenden, Ky.;
· Wayne Beil of Crittenden, Ky.;
· Ken Bilyea of London, Ontario, Canada;
· Robert Cooper of Charlotte, NC;
· Robert Gonzalez of Tampa, Fla.;
· Chris Johnson of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and
· Rick Morra of Hanford, Calif.
All seven technicians received $10,000 each for their exemplary performance.
“Ryder has continued to grow and refine this program over the past 15 years, and it’s been an honor to witness just how far it’s come,” said Robert Sanchez, Ryder chairman and CEO. “We started out with 212 techs competing at the first-ever Top Tech Level I in 2002, to 3,220 techs competing at Level I in 2016. I am immensely proud of the team of people who continue to contribute to making this competition bigger and better each year, and congratulate all of our Top Tech competitors who have invested their time and energy to be the best technicians in the industry.”
All of the hard work did not come without its rewards. Each finalist and their guest were treated to a week’s worth of fun and relaxation – from touring museums and historic D.C. monuments, to getting pampered at the Gaylord’s spa.
“Our goal this year was to grow Top Tech participation to 3,000, and we far surpassed that, with 3,220 technicians signing up to be a part of this rewarding program,” said Dennis Cooke, president of Global Fleet Management Solutions, Ryder. “More and more techs are stepping up to the plate, going outside of their comfort zones, challenging themselves to learn more, and making lasting relationships along the way. We know how hard our technicians work, which is why we strive to make the prize more enticing each year.”