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ASCENDUM to Compete in Global Volvo Technician Event

Thu April 11, 2024 - Southeast Edition #8
Eric Olson - CEG CONTRIBUTING EDITOR


ASCENDUM Machinery’s Masters Teams from North Carolina and Georgia (L-R) are Adam Kimzey, Suzie Turner, Jeremy Ford, Scott Cox, David Turner, Phillip Carver, Paul Drury, Jesse Wilson and Trey Davis.
ASCENDUM Machinery photo
ASCENDUM Machinery’s Masters Teams from North Carolina and Georgia (L-R) are Adam Kimzey, Suzie Turner, Jeremy Ford, Scott Cox, David Turner, Phillip Carver, Paul Drury, Jesse Wilson and Trey Davis.

ASCENDUM Machinery, a Huntersville, N.C.-based Volvo Construction Equipment dealer, located just north of Charlotte, boasts a roster of friendly, well-trained professionals working throughout the company's multiple branches across the two Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and North Dakota.

And the company's service and parts experts have shown themselves to be "masters" at their craft.

That fact has been quantified several times through Volvo CE's staging of a Masters competition to determine the best regional and global Volvo equipment technicians on five of the world's seven continents as well as from dealerships in Latin America, China and India.

The winning team from each Regional Final then makes it through to the Grand Final, which this year takes place on May 6-8 in Eskilstuna, Sweden, Volvo CE's global headquarters.

The finals competition sees the remaining teams take on two days of challenges before one is finally declared the worldwide 2024 Volvo CE Masters winner, according to the manufacturer's website.

Every Volvo CE dealership worldwide is eligible to participate in the Masters competition. To do so, each distributor creates teams of four members, at least one of whom is a parts specialist, to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and expertise for all elements of Volvo's aftersales operation.

Once a team is formed, it can then sign up online to join the tournament. That allows it to take part in three rounds of online questions and assessments. Based on the results, contestants are shortlisted to take part in regional face-to-face finals at sites across the planet.

The two ASCENDUM teams — one each from North Carolina and Georgia — competed in the Masters Regional online screening that took place in the fall of 2023, before advancing to the face-to-face portion of the Regional event earlier this year. The Tarheel State team won the event on Jan. 25, along with the right to be one of two U.S. Volvo dealerships competing in Sweden.

The company has now advanced to the Volvo Masters Nationals five times in the past 15 years, winning three of the events and placing third in another, according to Patrick Overstreet, director of service operations of ASCENDUM.

In addition, ASCENDUM came in second in the Volvo CE Global finals in 2010, before winning the entire event in 2011; Scott Cox, currently on the 2024 North Carolina team, was on that 2011 world championship team, according to Overstreet.

The North Carolina ASCENDUM technician team, now preparing to travel to Scandinavia for the competition, will be accompanied by its coach and sponsor, David Turner, and includes Cox, Jeremy Ford, Adam Kimzey and Suzie Turner.

Turner also coached the company's Georgia-based team, made up of Jesse Wilson, Paul Drury, Phillip Carver and Trey Davis

"What Volvo tries to achieve is to have a qualification process that recognizes the tenure or seniority of its dealer technicians, along with their accomplishments through training and experience," Overstreet said. "So, in the 16-plus years that I have been here, Volvo has classified the most senior, most experienced technicians as ‘masters' all the way down to journeyman and apprentice. ‘Master' is the goal that most technicians try to achieve and, again, that comes from both experience and training on the job, at the dealership as well as through formal training from Volvo. "

He added that the most recent North American Regional competition welcomed Volvo CE teams from Canada, the United States and Mexico, and made up of four-person squads of master techs and at least one parts expert.

"By including a parts professional, Volvo CE's intent is that the competition is not just about fixing a machine, but also leveraging the experience that that parts professional has, including how to look up parts, how to source something that is difficult to find, how to navigate Prosis – all the tools that Volvo provides the dealer to better support our customers," Overstreet said.

ASCENDUM's two teams practiced and trained together in preparation for Volvo CE's Master Regionals, he said, part of which involves searching for solutions to difficult technical and parts problems and common issues on machines that the dealership shops have encountered in the past.

Ultimately, the training regimen by Volvo CE's participating dealership teams led them to the regional event in Shippensburg, Pa., in late January, where each four-person squad competed over a three-day span.

"In that competition, they are graded on everything from how well the teams work together with safety in mind, such as making sure they have the correct personal protective equipment on and seeing to it that the machines are put in the safe service position," he said. "It is truly all the way down to the basics on how to work on a piece of equipment safely and using the prescribed method as defined in the Volvo CE service manual."

Overstreet said that to test each service team, Volvo CE experts will add bugs to the machines that must be diagnosed and corrected by the competing technicians.

When Volvo CE created the Masters competition in 1990, the original goal was to increase its dealers' service and parts and technical teams' knowledge of Volvo products.

Since then, the aim has evolved to include enhancing the aptitude of Volvo-trained dealer technicians and parts representatives in providing a consistently positive customer experience with every job, since improved education and broader experience results in more positive interaction with customers.

"It really serves a couple of purposes; one, it is an opportunity to recognize the talent of the people at ASCENDUM that work hard and commit themselves to growing and developing their careers, so it is a reward to them to be able to compete," said Overstreet.

"It also gives them a huge sense of pride in representing ASCENDUM and it is important for us to say to our customer base that in the past 16 years, this is what we have done to recognize, promote and encourage our technicians to develop their skills as well as try to work harder, stronger and smarter than our competition."

For more information, visit www.ascendummachinery.com. CEG




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