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NEBRASKA – After a challenging year with virtual everything, the Nebraska Trucking Association pulled diesel technicians from across the state to it’s 2021 SuperTech competition at Central Community College in Hastings July 8.

“Honoring technicians is critical right now because we’re seeing a major shortage of diesel technicians in the workforce,” said Kent Grisham, NTA president and CEO. According to truckinginfo.com, the demand for technicians will increase more than 6 percent through 2024.  Retirement will play a big roll as nearly 50 percent of technicians are baby boomers.

Statewide SuperTech competitors registered to take the qualifying online, ASE-style test. The top 16 from the online test advanced to the hands-on skill stations final round hosted by Central Community College.  Most hands-on challenges change every year. After the competition, judges gather competitors to complement skills and provide feedback on areas for improvement.

The 2021 overall winner was Morgan Barnes of MHC Kenworth Leasing and Rental in Omaha.  Travis McCool of RDO Truck Center was the 2020 winner and took second place.

SuperTech was developed to advance career education and worker competency in transportation, distribution and logistics. Showcasing the proficiency of commercial vehicle technicians highlights the field as a career that’s important to Nebraska’s growth as a North American distribution hub.


Overall Winners

  • 1st Morgan Barnes, MHC Kenworth Leasing and Rental Omaha
  • 2st Travis McCool, RDO Truck Center Omaha
  • 3rd Tim Blake, Truck Center Companies

Station Winners

  • Station 1 Morgan Barnes
  • Station 2 Travis McCool
  • Station 3 Morgan Barnes
  • Station 4 Jeremy Roll
  • Station 5 Kevin Nebuda
  • Station 6 Travis Young
  • Station 7 Tom Stentz
  • Station 8 Tim Blake
  • Station 9 Travis Young
  • Station 10 Tim Blake

Student Winners

  • 1st Tom Stentz
  • 2nd Marcus Reynolds

Rookie Winner

  • Colin Magdanz


Morgan Barnes’ passion for trucks born in the Sandhills

The 2021 SuperTech champion Morgan Barnes found his love for the trucking professions while working for his father on a ranch in the Sandhills.

“I really liked tinkering on machinery in the shop,” he said. “I figured I might as well get paid to do what I enjoy.”  Barnes earned degrees in General Business and Diesel Technology from Northeast Community College.  Since then, he’s won the 2017 SkillsUSA, 2018 and 2021 NTA SuperTechs and placed second in 2019.

“For younger techs, I’d say don’t stop learning and don’t be too proud to do the basic tasks,” Barnes said.  Barnes doesn’t like to sit idle.  Besides work for MHC Kenworth, he enjoys time with friends and family and tinkering with his pickup.  He also drives for Kersten Trucking Gretna.