Marty MacGregor won the 2nd Annual Alberta School Bus Technician Competition and will represent the province this fall at the America’s Best School Bus Inspector & Technician skills competition and training during the NAPT Summit in Columbus, Ohio.
Bill Wilson, transportation director for the Red Deer Catholic School Board and organizer of the April 28 event sponsored by Fleet Brake, said the Alberta School Transportation Advisory Council decided Tuesday afternoon that it would fund McGregor’s trip in November to compete against and learn with school bus technicians from across North America.
MacGregor is a mechanic at Battle River School Division #31 in Camrose, Alberta.
Kelvin Fott of Pembia Hills Public Schools came in second place and David Rempel, who won last year’s inaugural event, placed third.
Wilson explained that the Alberta training and skills competition arose at the request of local mechanics after watching the growth of America’s Best and the numerous state associations that hold qualifiers.
“We do something for the drivers all the time. The administrators get to go to this convention and that convention. But nothing is ever done for the mechanics,” he added. “But in my mind they are the backbone of this operation.”
While the 2017 Alberta Provincial School Bus Roadeo is scheduled for June 10 in Grande Prairie and the 35th Anniversary ASTAC Convention is this week in Jasper, the tech event was held in Red Deer Catholic School Board’s 12-bay garage and accompanying training facility. The featured work stations were tires and wheels, electronic controlled engines and multiplex wiring systems.
Ten technicians in total participated, a substantial decrease from last year’s 28, as ASTAC’s annual convention kicked off about 450 km away, about 280 miles, Wilson explained. Still, Marshall Casey of America’s Best told STN that the competition was “very close across the board.”
Wilson added that he expects 40 or more technicians to compete next year when the ASTAC convention returns to Red Deer.