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National School Bus Maintenance Competition Comes to South Carolina

Michelin, Greenville to host 'America's Best' skills challenge Sept. 23-25

GREENVILLE, S.C., Sept. 9 -- With back-to-school season in full swing, the National Association of Pupil Transport (NAPT), South Carolina Department of Education and Michelin North America will shine the spotlight on school bus maintenance here Sept. 23-25, when top school bus technicians and inspectors from across the country will converge on Greenville looking to become America's Best Technician or America's Best Inspector. The competition will be hosted by Michelin North America at the company's Donaldson Center training campus.

"School bus maintenance is critical to the education system in South Carolina," said Marshall Casey, director of school bus maintenance for the South Carolina Department of Education. "We take great pride in the bus maintenance program we've put in place in the state. We look forward to hosting the best school bus technicians and inspectors the country has to offer, and are honored to crown the next America's Best Technician and Inspector in Greenville."

America's Best hopefuls will participate in two separate competitions: one for technical diagnostic skills and one for vehicle inspections skills. Each of these individual competitions will include a written examination and multiple "hands-on" components. The exam will cover technical aspects of various school bus components, including electrical systems, brakes, engines, suspensions, drive trains and body systems. All topics will be relative to actual school bus applications. This examination will be prepared and administered by The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

During the second portion of the competition, technicians must demonstrate the ability to diagnose, troubleshoot and repair various mechanical components found on school buses. Competitors will rotate through three diagnostic stations, which will involve an actual vehicle and a bench test situation. Inspectors will rotate through three stations requiring them to inspect all vehicle components and systems to identify defects.

"Over the years, America's Best Tech has been successful in raising awareness for school bus maintenance and safety," said Bill Tousley, president of NAPT. "Not only does the competition help technicians share and learn best practices, but the information provided is valuable for continuous improvement and learning. We're delighted to be holding the 2009 competition in Greenville."

"One of the most important - and easiest - maintenance checks on any heavy-duty vehicle, including school buses, is proper tire inflation, and this competition gives us a great opportunity to talk tires with these mechanics," said Roger Handren, director of government sales, Michelin North America. "Our goal for hosting the event is to bring more attention to school bus safety and maintenance, but we're also excited about showing off Greenville and the Upstate to the mechanics who may have never been here before."

About NAPT

NAPT's vision is to be first and foremost in leading, supporting and developing world-class professionals who provide safe and efficient pupil transportation for our children. Each year the America's Best competition moves to different venues as it is hosted by various companies involved in the school transportation industry. For specific information regarding the competition for this year or prior years, please check the America's Best website

About Michelin North America

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America ( employs more than 22,600 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.

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