Chase Snyder of Manatee County, Florida, has been named the 2021 Technician of the Year by the Association of Equipment Management Professionals Education Foundation.
Coworkers and supervisors at Manatee County government described Snyder as always willing to tackle the big mechanical problems, having a strong work ethic and constantly looking for ways to save taxpayers’ money.
Snyder is a senior fleet technician for Manatee County’s landfill shop, where he has worked for three years.
“The bigger the job, the better. The bigger the equipment, the better,” said Tracy Brooks, maintenance operations chief for the Manatee County Fleet Department, in describing Snyder's attitude. “Given the choice of a light-duty repair or going to a call-out on a hill for a broken down compactor, he will choose standing ankle-deep in trash sludge every single time.”
Speaking during the awards ceremony Wednesday at the AEMP EquipmentShift Conference in Savannah, Georgia, Brooks added:
“It’s in his blood and he just enjoys it. Because he enjoys his job so much, it makes him better at what he does.”
The county’s landfill shop tracks and keeps running more than 170 pieces of equipment, everything from golf carts to heavy-duty construction equipment. Snyder can fix and maintain it all, but his favorite is the yellow iron: excavators, landfill compactors, dozers and motor graders.
He’s always been fascinated by the heavy construction equipment, but the local trade school, Manatee Technical College, offered a degree in general automotive maintenance, not heavy diesel equipment. So he got his start on the automotive side in college and worked full time during the day on transit buses for a nearby municipality. After college, he landed at Manatee County.
His supervisor, David Alligood, remembers the job interview with Snyder at Manatee County. “We knew then that we had someone special,” he says.
Alligood should know. He was the 2020 AEMP Technician of the Year.
“He has a very strong work ethic,” Alligood adds. “He’s motivated by big jobs and challenges. His focus on the county’s budget and smart spending makes him an asset to our team. He is constantly self-educating.”
Coworker Christopher Brooks described Snyder as easy to get along with, smart and a talented technician. “He’s a go-getter – never says no to anything. If you ever need a hand, he’s willing to help you. He knows the equipment very well.”
Another colleague, who also worked with Snyder at the transit bus shop, says Snyder is always available to lend a guiding hand. “If I have a question, he always takes a few minutes to explain…how something works. He also keeps a great attitude, not only helping me but everyone in the shop.”
The Technician of the Year Award by the AEMP Education Foundation has been presented each year since 1989 to “the individual who exemplifies the heavy equipment profession’s best technician.” The award seeks candidates who constantly update their education, demonstrate a strong safety record, improve fleet operations and are always professional.
As this year’s winner, Snyder will receive a custom-built John Deere toolbox and merchandise and complimentary one-year membership to AEMP. He will also be the subject of an in-depth cover story on equipmentworld.com.
Deere has sponsored the award for 32 years.