Technician Spotlight: Dale Nickel, FMH Conveyors
Senior Service Technician, FMH Conveyors. His duties include customer service, training technicians and contractors,
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MHMRO: How did you get into this field, and what do you like about it?
Nickel: I have always been good with solving problems. In high school, I took my first auto mechanics class, and another class in the U.S. Army. I like the challenge of never knowing for sure what I’m going to get into on any given day. I also enjoy meeting new people all the time. Since I have been with FMH Conveyors my skill set has expanded greatly. Given the product diversity of our customer base and the fast-paced work environment, it really pushes me to challenge myself.
MHMRO: What are the most important skills for a successful technician?
Nickel: As an ambassador to the company, people skills are No. 1. To many customers, you are the face of your company, and they are looking to you to solve their issues. Being able to think out of the box and create solutions is the key to being a successful technician. The customer has one thing in mind when you show up and that is: “when will my equipment be running again?” Therefore, self-motivation, efficiency and effectiveness are key. Being a technician requires the ability to think outside the box and create solutions using skills in everything from electrical to mechanical, on-site engineering, PLC programming, and equipment operation.
MHMRO: Who were your mentors or other influential professionals?
Nickel: I have had many people help me through the years, including management, engineers, and human resources. Every good field tech is only as good as their support system. We all have to work as a team to achieve the end goal.
MHMRO: How do you keep up with new technologies?
Nickel: Continuing education is a must. I take classes, read technical bulletins and have regular internal communications among team members. Training takes time and with a busy schedule it can be a challenge. However, it is imperative to stay on top of your game in this field.
MHMRO: What technologies have helped you become more effective?
Nickel: I am 100% mobile, so Internet and phone technologies have been key. I use today’s gadgets for everything from time reporting to finding a place to eat while on the road. Being connected provides me the information I need right at my fingertips. I used to flip through endless pages of manuals for information only to find out someone had taken that page out or it was smudged with dirty fingerprints and couldn’t be read. Now I can electronically pull up each customer file and get the information fast and clear. I find I’m more productive and customer satisfaction is higher.
MHMRO: What would you say to young people considering a career as a technician?
Nickel: This career has many opportunities. The world is your office and because technology is ever-changing it creates endless possibilities. This career allows for personal growth, exciting challenges, the chance to go places and meet people you might not meet otherwise.
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