The Association of Equipment Maintenance Professionals announces its 2012 Technician of the Year Award winners. Master Sergeant Jeremy Parks Sr., EMS, of the U.S. Air Force, Europe was named Technician of the Year in the public sector, and Tom Swisshelm of Kokosing Construction received the private sector award.
Each year at AEMP’s Management Conference and Annual Meeting, two outstanding heavy equipment technicians are honored with the Technician of the Year award, one each in the public and private sectors. The award is co-sponsored by AEMP and John Deere. In its 23rd year, the Technician of the Year award acknowledges professionals who exhibit technical skills, have innovative troubleshooting and diagnostic capabilities, and make significant contributions to the equipment technician profession.
Master Sergeant Jeremy Parks Sr.
Master Sergeant Jeremy Parks Sr., EMS, exemplified the attributes of an AEMP technician as he managed the U.S. Air Force ground transportation fleet in Europe. In addition to managing 8,000 vehicles, Parks was responsible for the management of, including equipping and training, 1,000 military and host nation technicians throughout Europe. He has served on several working groups developing guidance and policy that supports a very diverse fleet and ground transportation capability for contingency operations.
Further demonstrating Parks’ dedication, professionalism and skill, he is responsible for the maintenance and performance of all ground transportation vehicles in Europe and Africa for the President of the United States. Parks has set a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to problems or failure with the equipment, and has yet to miss his mark, boasting a zero incident rate during his time in command.
Parks’ dedication to safety and excellence is matched by his commitment to efficiency and environmental responsibility. He regularly reviews fleet initiatives to include U.S. and European Union alternative fueling infrastructure options such as hydrogen, natural gas, and plug-in electric technology. He also aggressively fought for an additional $750,000 in acquisition funding to procure 95 alternative fuel vehicles, creating the Air Force’s largest sub-command hybrid fleet.
Continuing education is key in professional development and a major attribute of leading technicians. Parks’ drive and commitment to expand his knowledge is evidenced by many academic achievements and numerous professional certifications. He holds a certification as a Contract Officer Representative and is an official inspector for Air Force vehicle maintenance contracts. Additionally, he is a National Society of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified Medium/Heavy truck technician, and most recently, eared the AEMP Equipment Manager Specialist (EMS) designation. He also continues to advance academically, with 13 additional completed credits towards his bachelor’s degree in business management.
An employee of Kokosing for 12 years, Tom Swisshelm began as a field mechanic in the central Ohio region and moved up to his current position, asphalt equipment master mechanic in the company’s Asphalt Maintenance Group. In this position, he oversees and manages the safety and daily scheduling of seven field mechanics throughout their Ohio market regions. Swisshelm has been deemed “the technician you wish you could clone” by many companies, due to his ability to excel in every area and boost the growth of all those around him.
His passion for safety and innovation, and his constant search for better solutions set him apart from his peers, and make him a truly remarkable technician. Not only does he recognize problems, inefficiencies, safety hazards, and other issues, he offers solutions. Throughout the years, Swisshelm has modified and developed new equipment to work more efficiently, safer and require less manpower.
Safety is the leading value on which Swisshelm places the most emphasis, always adhering to his personal motto of “Safety 24/7”. His proven safety record is evidenced by many impressive achievements including 28,326 man hours worked with zero injuries in his 12 years with Kokosing, zero safety or environmental violations in the shop facility or field operations, and his contributions to several safety documents for the Occupational Hazard Analysis (OHA).
Finally, Swisshelm exemplifies the Technician of the Year values in that he contributes to the advancement of the profession, always teaching and sharing his knowledge with his team in an effort to ensure everyone is eager and able to take on new challenges and opportunities.