Winner, Winner! What It Feels Like To Be A Toyota Tech Winner
Recently, Shoppa’s Material Handling and Shoppa’s Mid America were honored when four of their service techs received Platinum status at the 2018 Toyota Top Tech Challenge. Two of those four earned high enough scores to qualify them to be part of an elite team of 10 Platinum winners who advanced to the Technician Skills Challenge.
Tim (right), who earned third place at the top competition, and Chris, a newcomer to the ultimate competition, enjoyed their trip to Toyota’s National Headquarters in Columbus, Ind.
Tim, field services technician, comes from a long line of mechanically minded men. His grandfather, father, uncles and his own five brothers have always worked with and owned auto shops, paint and body shops and the like. So it wasn’t unusual when at 21, Tim answered an ad for a job at Shoppa’s Material Handling for a service technician.
“I’ve always worked with my hands,” he said. “I saw the ad, applied for the job and I’ve loved it ever since.”
And that ever since has been a long while – Tim started at 21, left and came back at age 23, and has now been with Shoppa’s for almost 20 years.
As part of his job as a field service technician, Tim spends his days doing a variety of tasks like delivering parts where they are needed and working on various forklifts at different companies. His favorite part about the job is troubleshooting problems.
“I like going in to a problem and figuring it out,” he says. “It’s like doing a puzzle – only dirtier!”
He also feels a sense of reward for helping his customers.
Working at Shoppa’s has been a great opportunity. According to Tim, there are plenty of opportunities to for training and growth. He says he would advise any mechanically-minded young person to pursue a career there.
“It’s not always the same thing,” he says. “It varies from day to day. I get to work outside and see different scenery. The salary is definitely enough to support a family.”
When Tim isn’t working, he spends time fiddling with his pickup trucks or with family. He’s been married for 25 years and has a 23-year-old son who also works for Shoppa’s.
“It’s been great working here,” he says. “It’s a fun job, I have good coworkers and I’ve enjoyed watching the company grow.”
Chris, lead shop technician, got his start at Shoppa’s Mid America through a cousin who worked there. He’d been working in automotive repair and, at age 26, decided to try something different. He likes the fact that every day brings new challenges.
“I like the challenge of thing coming in the door,” he says. “I like troubleshooting and figuring out problems.”
He says he “still turns a wrench” but spends a lot of his time performing diagnistocs and helping other techs, as well as filling in for the shop foreman.
Shoppa’s stands behind their techs, Chris says.
“It’s a good environment and a nice place to work,” he said. “They support training and growth. When I started here six years ago I didn’t even know how to start a forklift and I’m already shop lead. That’s pretty good!”
Chris says it’s a great job for a young person starting out.
“It’s pretty much like working on a car only with more hydraulics,” he laughes. “It’s well paying, as well.”
Chris and his wife have been married four years and he spends most of his off time hanging out with his three-year-old son and eight-month-old daughter.
Both men enjoyed their time at Toyota’s National Headquarters for the 2018 Toyota Top Tech Challenge. For Tim, the challenge was rigorous but he was comfortable. He won third place. For Chris, it was all brand new.
“One of the techs there was last year’s tech of the year,” he said. “To be one of the four who were new this year, it was kind of nerve wracking!”
But he finished by saying that he definitely plans to give next year a shot!