DELAND, Fla. — For the second year in a row, Volusia County Schools held an in-house technician skills competition to coordinate training and team-building exercises.
Volusia has four bus garages, each of which competes as a team for the bragging rights to be designated as “Top Shop” for one year.
The Top Shop title comes with two trophies, which are prominently displayed in the winning shop. Also, whenever the winning shop is called over the two-way radio, dispatch refers to it as Top Shop for all to hear.
This year’s event consisted of a bus inspection in which 26 items were “rigged,” a NASCAR pit stop event rewarding the fastest time in exchanging the rear dual tires on a bus, and a driving skills test on a designed course. The parts staff also participated with a written exam and customer service evaluation.
Each area of competition has a point value, and the team with the highest total of points is designated Top Shop. The competition is designed to promote teamwork. Rules are established such that without teamwork, they will likely not be successful.
During the bus inspection portion, each predetermined fault found is awarded one point, and the proper repair of the finding scores two points. The state inspection form must be completed properly, and the form also has a point value.
The NASCAR event is timed, and the teams must swap the rear dual tires from left to right, following shop procedures.
The parts staff members must use the Internet to research part numbers. They are only provided with a school bus number and a part description. They must also multitask by providing any parts the technicians need to make the repairs noted during their bus inspection.
The competition ends with a driving skills test in which the driver is selected by the team and all team members hop aboard the bus. The driver must maneuver the bus properly and successfully complete four skills tests within 10 minutes.
The training day finishes with some classroom training as a group while points are being totaled. Then the runners-up and the Top Shop are announced.