Planning has begun for the 2014 IC Bus University program, a series of four one-week summer training sessions for bus technicians at the IC Bus plant in Tulsa, Okla. “The goal is not only to educate them,” says Greg Hooley, Navistar training manager, “but to build enthusiasm around the brand.” Each session, which runs from Monday through Thursday, will bring 60 technicians from across North America to Tulsa to focus on three core topics.
Engine rotation: “With the average life of a bus at over 15 years, we’ve got customers working on a variety of engine models,” explains Hooley. It’s IC Bus University’s goal to answer all procedural questions their techs have about specific engines, including the three current models as well as past versions. “It’s all about getting attendees up and moving them around and actually experiencing what we’re talking about.”
Diagnostics: “Everything is electronically controlled now,” says Hooley. “Our customers’ technicians need to learn to speak a new language.” The training covers a wide variety of diagnostics systems that the technicians might be working with. “This is hands on,” says Hooley. “We’re going to be plugging computers into the buses to run diagnostics, and will have engines on stands that the technicians can do some testing on.”
Bus repairs: The bus repairs rotation focuses on physical repairs that are outside the scope of electronic diagnostics. “This could be as simple as how to adjust a door or how to replace a window,” says Hooley. Mechanical additions, such as stop arms and crossing arms, as well as climatic issues such as corrosion, will be covered during the bus repairs training.
Hooley explains the benefit of sending technicians to Tulsa: “The plant allows them to visually observe some of those features, advantages and benefits that are hidden once the bus is put together.” And beyond that, the training is a chance for technicians to learn from some of their most valuable teachers: each other. “We want to give attendees a chance to interact and share ideas that might stimulate conversation.”