Christopher Barnett of Ryder Systems was named grand champion of the eighth annual TMC SuperTech competition Wednesday, Sept. 12 in Pittsburgh.
Barnett, 30, has been with Ryder Systems for more than nine years, and was competing at SuperTech for the fifth time.
That experience with the competition came in handy during this year’s event, Barnett said, as he was mentally prepared for the event and knew what was necessary to win.
“A lot of times when you are doing something like this, you will have a bad station and you will know you bombed something. That’s happened with me in the past,” he said. “This year it seemed every station I didn’t feel like I ran away with it, but I was pretty confident that I did fairly well.
Barnett said he works primarily as a diagnostic technician at Ryder’s location in Hebron, Ky., and said he considers electrical systems as his greatest strengths.
He said he knew he would need to succeed in more than just those areas to win the SuperTech title, and was able to follow through, taking home the grand champion title despite not winning a single individual technician station. This year marked the second year in a row the SuperTech’s grand champion did not win one of the event’s 18 individual stations.
Barnett thinks his title may help motivate his fellow employees to compete in the SuperTech competition next year. He said just five Ryder employees at his location attempted to make the SuperTech contest this year, and he was the only one to advance to Pittsburgh.
He also thinks the competition could help motivate prospective technicians to enter the heavy-duty industry. Barnett attended the University of Northwest Ohio on a technical scholarship out of high school before becoming a diesel technician.
He said he remembers fellow high school students and teachers questioning his decision, and thinks if the heavy-duty industry can remove those questions, there is a wealth of talented people out there to enter the workforce. Barnett said he is doing his part to promote the business.
“I tell all the high school kids out there … the vocational industry, especially the heavy-duty industry is a great [place] to be. There are a lot of jobs out there,” he said.
John Ragland of FedEx Express took home second in the competition, and 2009 winner Christopher Tate of Mohawk Truck Inc. was third. Rounding out the top ten were Michael Vallery of Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Robert Gonzalez of Ryder, Eric Vos of FedEx Freight, Michael Bogard of Ryder, Timothy Peters of Ryder, Mark McLean of FedEx Freight and Joseph Calaway of Walmart Transportation.