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Sarah and Team Aftershock rock Mack tech competition

Commercial Truck, Today's Trucking, MackALLENTOWN, PA—“We call it the spaghetti board,” says Sarah Shaw, service advisor at Commercial Truck Repair in Cornwall, ON. “Because when we were done, that’s what it looked like: spaghetti.”

Shaw is talking about one of the nine skill-testing challenges that she and her crew—“Team Aftershock”—excelled at during the recent Mack Masters Competition in Allentown, PA, held over the first two days of summer.

The truck-repair competition was the second annual such fix-off. Nine teams of the best Mack techs chosen from 16 countries competed.

Team Aftershock; a.k.a., Shaw, her parts guy Real Sauvé and two techs—Tyler Williamson and Pierre Picard—clinched the Canadian Mack championship earlier in the year. And it was a nail-biter.

The runup to the Allentown competition is more theoretical than the hands-on final, but there are far more contenders: 457 teams representing 2,000 participants go at it in January, with three successive rounds of online challenges.

“At the end of the third round we were tied for first place,” Shaw recalls. “For the tie breaker, we had 30 minutes to do 10 questions.

“The winner got the most right in the least time.”

A typical question might be something as outwardly simple as repairing a headlamp that had already been fixed by another shop. But nothing is easy. Competing teams must unearth details including the original cause of the breakage; the warranty status of the repair; parts availability; pricing and torqueing details.

“Of course, Mack wants everything done to Mack spec,” Shaw says.

“We won that by about 10 seconds and that’s how we got to advance to Allentown.”

Which is where Team Aftershock met the spaghetti board, which Shaw describes as a “board that had switches and terminals hooked up with connections underneath and you had to find the path that the electricity followed by hooking up all these jumper wires.” Hence spaghetti.

The spaghetti board was one of nine such competitions. The nine teams rotated through the challenges. “You didn’t know what the problems were going to be. They kept them secret from us and then you had 30 minutes to solve the problem.

“And of course you had to make sure you looked up the proper procedure as per Mack with proper torque and everything, and they’ve got people standing there grading you on everything you’re doing.

jack male, Commercial Truck Centre“It was quite stressful and very challenging.”

Team Aftershock didn’t win the world competition. That honor went to a team from CIT Trucks in Rockford Ill., a huge dealer with more than 600 staff and 15 locations.

In contrast, Cornwall’s Commercial Truck Repair is tiny, with 21 employees. “And we don’t even sell trucks,” enthuses Shaw.

“I would have to say our secret is just good, old-fashioned teamwork and pride in our work. We are like a family and always have each other’s back working towards our goal of keeping our customers happy and coming back.

“It’s just a great place to work with lots of cooperation,” says Shaw. “We find things work a lot better that way.

Shaw’s boss, Raymond Desormeaux, owns and founded Commercial Truck Repair in 1994.

“Am I proud of Team Aftershock?” he said in response to a question from Today’s Trucking.

“I am so very, so very…I don’t even know what words I can use to say how proud I am of these people.

“Here. Talk to Sarah.”


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