Submitted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation
When the idea of Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) technicians participating in a national competition was first discussed with statewide shop supervisors, they all understood that they were breaking new ground.
The first goal was to provide a competition amongst the interested MnDOT mechanics that would help measure how effective MnDOT training was by using a series of written tests and interviews.
The competition was held in St. Cloud and was won by District 3’s heavy equipment mechanic David Geise of Sobieski, who then went on to represent all of MnDOT at a national level.
The Technology and Maintenance Council Competition known as Super Tech 2012, was held beginning Sept. 10 in Pittsburgh, Pa. That Monday, Geise began a day of written tests that was designed to pare the contestants down from 145 to 100.
The second day of the competition lasted 11 hours and consisted of contestants, including Geise, moving from station to station performing-hands on repairs ranging from engine diagnosis to tire evaluation. Each timed station was 23 minutes and most very challenging. “It was really mind-blowing, at the end of the competition I was shot,” said Geise. “I was tired, and so was everyone else.”
The last day involved attending seminars and training sessions. Geise attended six different sessions, receiving a certificate for each. Geise finished 30th in the scoring.
Many large fleets were represented at the competition including names like Fed Ex, Walmart, Ryder, Con-way and others from around the nation.
Before joining MnDOT, Geise worked for 10 years as a fleet mechanic for Nash Finch and another 10 years at Freightliner.
“I felt pretty good to have made it into the top,” said Geise. “That was my goal, to make the finals.”