The AED Foundation’s Knapheide Technicians of the Year Award is presented annually to the industry’s top technicians. Nominated technicians must meet specific qualifications to be considered, and one technician from each of the following regions, Canada, Great Lakes, Midwest, Northeast, South Central, Southwest, and West — is then selected and receives the AED Foundation’s Knapheide Technicians of the Year Award for their region.
To be nominated for this award, technicians must have at least five years of experience, give back to their community, be committed to continued education, demonstrate safety, and provide leadership to their peers. And when AED came looking for that person in our region, they found our very own Brian “Weasel” Miller. And while he’s always been a top tech at Southeastern, he’s now officially an AED Tech of the Year!
We took some time to catch up with Weasel about his award and his experience while at the AED award presentation. Here’s what he had to say…
When you first heard you won the award, how did you feel?
“Disbelief and total shock was the first thing that came to my mind. Thor called me and told me I had won and for a moment I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. I’m not one that likes to be put in the spotlight, so after I was told that I was nominated for it, I had put the whole thing out of my mind thinking nothing was going to come of it. I’m still in disbelief.”
What was your favorite part of receiving your award?
“My favorite part was being able to take my daughter with me and spending time with her. I wanted to give her a real life example of when you put in the time and hard work, good things happen.”
AED also asked you to speak with tech students at a local school. What advice did you give them?
“They asked a lot of questions that actually surprised me. A lot of the questions were based on the support I received — I told them that when you are first starting out, you’re going to encounter a big learning curve. Not only do you need to know how to fix a wide range of machines, but you also have to learn the different age ranges of those machines. So being able to collaborate with other technicians and learn from their experiences is very important.
I also told them that to be good at their job, they need to love the work, or they’re not going to want to stick with it. Some days, you will be frustrated and get mad at a machine. And it’s those days that if you don’t push through to the end, you will struggle in this field.”
What is the most challenging machine for you to work on?
“It’s usually working on new machines because the problems haven’t come up before and no one knows how to fix them yet. Then you’re having to get with the engineers that made the machine and a lot of times they didn’t even work with each other when they were building it. So, it’s a lot of contacting different people to try and find the answer.”
How do you continue to improve your skills?
“The biggest thing that I do is talk with other technicians about their different experiences with machines. Recently, I joined some technician Facebook groups to help learn different techniques in my off time, and it’s already paying off. I’ve learned a new time-efficient way of hooking up machines with the help of placing cameras behind the machine. No more getting in and out of a cab ten times just to get a machine hooked up.”
What skill do you want to improve on next?
“Learning more about computers and different computer programs. It’s not just about working on and fixing the machines anymore. I have to use computers now, whether its using it to write emails to different engineers about an issue or looking up parts.”
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned this year?
“Just do a good job and remain humble through it all. I’m not one who likes to be in the spotlight; I just want to come to work, do a good job, and be a good role model for my daughter.”
Thank you Weasel for all that you do here at Southeastern! We’re so glad to have you part of the Southeastern family.