WASHINGTON, DC – An Ontario man has become the first Canadian to win Ryder System Inc.’s annual Top Technician competition. And if that’s not impressive enough, Canada took second place, too.
Darek Mowinski, of Windsor, ON, took home a cash prize of $50,000 as the winner of the 15th annual event held in Washington, D.C. on July 28.
Ken Bilyea, of London, ON, finished second.
While a Canadian has never won the Ryder Top Technician honor, in 2015 four Canucks were among the top eight from Ryder’s team of more than 5,000 U.S. and Canada-based technicians.
“The competition itself is always exciting, challenging and fulfilling,” Mowinski told Ryder prior to his win. “From previous years’ experience I know the Top Tech committee does a fantastic job of showcasing the city we’re visiting, so I know it will be another great experience.”
After advancing through three increasingly demanding rounds of challenging written and hands-on tests, eight finalists competed in the Top Tech final competition, which consisted of 10 rigorous hands-on skill tests, including vehicle electronics, preventive maintenance, and air conditioning.
Ryder’s goal for 2016 year was to grow Top Tech participation to 3,000, says Robert Sanchez, Ryder Chairman and CEO. In the end, more than 3,220 techs signed up.
“We started out with 212 techs competing at the first-ever Top Tech Level I in 2002, to 3,220 techs competing at Level I in 2016,” said Sanchez. “I am immensely proud of the team of people who continue to contribute to making this competition bigger and better each year, and congratulate all of our Top Tech competitors who have invested their time and energy to be the best technicians in the industry.”
The top competing finalists, in addition to Mowinski, were as follows:
· Chris Barnett of Crittenden, Ky.;
· Wayne Beil of Crittenden, Ky.;
· Ken Bilyea of London, Ontario, Canada;
· Robert Cooper of Charlotte, NC;
· Robert Gonzalez of Tampa, Fla.;
· Chris Johnson of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;
· Rick Morra of Hanford, Calif.
All seven technicians received $10,000 each for their strong performance.