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CERTIFIED CONGRATULATIONS!

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The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program is off to a great start. Officially launched in September, the certification program provides dealers with an objective way to gauge their technicians’ qualifications, while providing technicians who pass with a third-party certification that shows they have the professional knowledge and skills needed to get the job done.

While such assessments are common in other industries, The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program is the first of its kind in the construction equipment industry, according to AED Foundation Vice President of Foundation Operations Steve Johnson.

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“Until now, there haven’t been certification options available for technicians who work on construction heavy equipment or an objective way for dealers to measure their technicians’ proficiency,” Johnson said. “The Foundation felt that a technician certification program had the potential to benefit technicians, dealers and even the industry itself.”

Equipment Corporation of America (ECA) Vice President David Hyland concurred. In fact, the potential benefits to dealerships and the construction equipment industry overall is one of the main reasons ECA wanted to be among the first companies to put technicians through the Foundation’s new technician certification program.

“Having a standardized evaluation program will provide companies and technicians with an objective way to measure their skill set,” said Hyland. “It also provides folks who are new to the industry with an objective or goal to work toward.”

Hyland, along with CEO Roy Kern, immediately recognized how certifying technicians through The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program could be beneficial to ECA, a 75-year AED member dealer that boasts six branch locations in eastern North America.

“We are dedicated to improving our ability to help customers solve problems and improve the quality of the work done by our service departments,” Hyland said. “Training and education is the basis for ECA’s improvement plan. The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program will help us evaluate our technicians and help us get them the specific training they need to improve their individual capabilities. Our largest service department has just nine technicians, and in one case, we have just two. With a lean workforce, you have to be very effective. Having AED-certified technicians will help us be more efficient and effective.”

ECA put three of its technicians through The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program shortly after the September launch. All passed and were eager to share their experience with the program, which includes a 160-question technical assessment focused on the core construction equipment technical standards of diesel engines, electric and electronics, hydraulics and hydrostatics, power trains, air conditioning and heating, and safety and administration.

All of the ECA technicians who completed the certification program were grateful to have a way to showcase their skills, find out where they stood in relation to their peers and increase their value to the company.

“Achieving a certifiable grade on this assessment has given me confidence,” said Chris Horne, a technician in ECA’s Toronto branch. “Academically speaking, prior to taking this assessment, I did not know where I stood, but thanks to ECA and AED, now I do! Thank you!”

Doug Lindauer, a technician in ECA’s Philadelphia branch, agreed: “Having this certification will show where I stand among my peers, therefore showing my ability to be competitive and useful on more than one level. I feel that all technicians should eventually take this test to see where they stand, and anyone who is managing technicians should also take it just to expose themselves to the information that their technicians have.”

Technician Chris McCune was particularly honored to have been one of the first in the program. “It made me proud to be one of the technicians that were selected first to do this program, and I believe that having this certification will make me a more valuable part of ECA,” he said.

One thing on which all three ECA technicians agreed: The 160-question assessment, which covers a broad range of technical knowledge, is difficult and may require certification program applicants to study in advance.

“The test is no joke,” said Lindauer. “It covers a very wide range of knowledge that some younger technicians will not have been exposed to.”

McCune agreed: “This is a tough, well-rounded assessment and it really tests your knowledge.”

For Horne, the experience was both challenging and rewarding, “The opportunity was a challenge. I used up every second of the allotted 120 minutes to complete this assessment. My favorite part came as soon as I clicked on that submit button and that little pop-up screen saying that I had passed appeared. It was pretty rewarding.”

Lindauer and Horne also offered some valuable advice and encouragement: “My advice to other technicians who are thinking about taking this test is to relax, as most mistakes made will be because of being nervous,” Lindauer said.

Horne added: “Try not to get hung up on a single question...and do not underestimate the assessment, but most of all, do not underestimate yourself. If I can do it, so can you. Good luck!”

As for dealers who may be thinking of putting technicians through The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program, Hyland had this to say: “Do it! It will help you evaluate your current technicians’ capabilities and also help you focus on what additional training is required. Even the technicians that pass the test and do get the certification can learn from their assessment what areas they can improve upon.”

The certification program is available for $150 per technician for AED members or $300 per technician for non-members. Those who have already passed The AED Foundation Technical Assessment can purchase an application for certification for $85 per technician. Technicians who pass receive a certificate in a wooden frame, as well as a wallet card, hat, lapel pin, two shirt patches and two tool box decals.

For more information on The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program, visit aedfoundation.org/certified-technician-program. The AED Foundation is also on Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about Equipment Corporation of America, visit

www.ecanet.com.

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