The American Transportation Research Institute’s Top Industry Issues report, released in October 2017, found the technician shortage as the top challenge facing trucking companies today. This article, part of a two-part series on the shortage for Heavy Duty Trucking magazine, looks at what companies are doing to address the shortage both today and in the future. It showcases Ronnie Wendt’s ability to thoroughly research, analyze and write about an issue facing the logistics industry.

Excerpt 1

On any given day, in any given year, Penske Truck Leasing has a truck maintenance workforce of 8,100. In 2017, the company added 2,200 diesel techs to accommodate growth, and the Pennsylvania-headquartered firm is expecting to add 2,500 more for the same reason in 2018. As of today, the company has 800 openings for diesel techs in the United States, Canada and parts of Mexico — a combination of new hires and open positions due to retirements and turnover.

This is the face of the diesel technician shortage in 2018, and it’s only going to get worse, predicts Gregg Mangione, senior vice president of maintenance for Penske.

Excerpt 2

Though the industry has trained much of its focus on the shortage of qualified truck drivers, another shortfall exists — the industry needs more diesel technicians. Though this issue ranked last among the 13 challenges identified in the ATRI report, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trucking will require an estimated 67,000 new technicians as well as 75,000 new diesel engine specialists by 2022.

Excerpt 3

Schilli offers a tiered training program once technicians are hired, but on the recruiting side, shop managers and personnel partnered to develop a secondary program for mechanics’ helpers. This program allows individuals with little to no diesel tech experience to work for several months as mechanics’ helpers. These employees help technicians with documentation, cleaning up the shop, getting parts, and basic maintenance, to get a better feel for what the job entails. Students come to the program from high schools and trade schools as well as through word of mouth.

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