The dealers that competed this year included Riggs CAT, HOLT CAT, Ziegler CAT, Warren CAT, Mustang CAT, and Butler Machinery Company. The dealers competed in four divisions (truck, power generation, industrial engines, and machine), and within each division there were three hands-on skills scenarios and a written assessment. The two top technicians in each division won a trophy and prize money: $7,000 for first place and $3,500 for second place.
“This event really helps reinforce the importance of the technicians to the CAT dealer network and that they are the secret to the success of the CAT dealer,” said Ben Wasserburger, Director of Service at Butler Machinery Company. “These technicians challenge themselves, and you see the growth of them through that process. As we repeat this year over year, we’re starting to see tremendous growth in these technicians and their abilities to challenge themselves way further than what they would have ever done without this program. Many of them have now gone on to take on higher roles within the dealerships.”
“An engine or machine is bugged by the skills team, and then the technicians come in and they have to find the issue within 60 minutes,” said Rebecca Rensvold, Training and Development Manager at Butler Machinery Company. “It’s repeatable; they have validated it hundreds of times to confirm that every single time a technician walks up, whatever they encounter is going to be the same thing.”
Cale Homuth, Customer Experience Specialist at Butler Machinery Company, said that the technical team runs every possible variation of troubleshooting that the technician could pursue in order to better score the scenario.
“It was an interesting dance to keep the skills scenario complex enough to be challenging, but also basic enough to prevent there being 50 rabbit holes to chase down,” Homuth said.
“Individuals are able to build the drones from parts, make some small modifications, and then basically run a course with different maneuvers, like figure eights, around course obstructions,” Homuth said. “There are points subtracted for crashes, and you can gain bonus points for cutting tape at the end and landing on the little helipads. This was more of a stress-relieving activity in contrast to the other situations.”
The RC truck pull was a fan-favorite, with the technicians being judged for the design and paint job on their trucks as well as seeing whose truck could pull a weight the farthest.
“Part of what makes the RC truck pull so fun is the fact that this is the one event where all of the dealers participate at the same time,” Homuth said. “Everything else – the skills scenario, the drones – are the individual groups doing their thing and getting scored. For the RC pull, we’re going to pull all these guys together and they get to cheer their team on as it happens.”
“In 2021, one of our dealers lost one of their participants to COVID-19,” Wasserburger said. “Howard was a great individual, and he exemplified Tech Wars and what it was it about. So we created that sportsmanship award, and that will be a new award going forward in future events.”
Tech Wars 2022 hosted 40 technicians across the six dealers, but Wasserburger hopes to expand the competition to even more CAT dealers and technicians throughout the United States.
“We would like to see this continue to grow to other regions and other dealers,” Wasserburger said. “Our hope someday is for those winners to go on to a national-level event to truly be the best CAT dealer technician in the U.S.”
“We want to thank Butler for putting on a great show this year,” said Ben Maurer, Marketing Project Manager at Ziegler CAT. “We had a blast, and they have gone above and beyond in what they put together. They are setting a high bar for the rest of us as we trade off in hosting the event.”
- First Place: Joe Byrne, Ziegler CAT
- Second Place: Clayton Johnson, Warren CAT
- First Place: Corey Dorhout, Butler CAT
- Second Place: Brad Anderson, Ziegler CAT
- First Place: Justin Sommerfeld, Mustang CAT
- Second Place: Jake Leritz, Ziegler CAT
- First Place: Josh Poe, HOLT CAT
- Second Place: Hortencio Avalos, HOLT CAT