ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Organizers of the America's Best School Bus Technician and Inspector competition have released photos of and more details on this year's event, which was held in late September.
To view a variety of shots from the event, see our new photo gallery here.
There were 31 competitors representing 19 states, and an additional 25 school transportation employees from various states took part in the training sessions for both technicians and inspectors.
Fifteen classes were offered, with topics including electronic engine diagnostics, electronic transmission diagnostics, post-accident inspections, complete vehicle inspection procedures, principles of lubrication and multiplex wiring.
The 9th annual America's Best event was hosted by Cummins at its engine training facility in Rocky Mount, and participants also got to tour the company's engine manufacturing facility there.
The competition included an ASE-administered written exam testing technical skills and hands-on stations to determine proficiency in diagnosing problems and identifying defects.
The hands-on phase challenged the technicians with six diagnostic stations over a three-hour period, while the inspectors completed four stations over a two-hour period. Officials said that the highlight of the three-day event was the interaction and networking of technicians and inspectors from across the country.
"It is always interesting to hear the stories shared, lessons learned from training, resolutions to similar problems and the passion for maintaining school buses to ensure student safety," said Marshall Casey, one of the America's Best organizers.
Officials said that the event continues to grow, with total attendance this year around 125, including vendors and support staff.
The primary sponsors were Hydrotex, Zonar, ASE, Delco Remy, Thomas Built Buses and Voith. Event sponsors included ConMet, Penray, Heavy Duty Bus Parts, Clarke Power Systems, Alliance Truck Parts, Purkeys Fleet Electric, Detroit Axles and Fleetguard.
Casey said that plans are underway for next year's 10th edition of America's Best. The event will be held in Seattle and hosted by the Washington Association for Pupil Transportation.