Timothy Hammock, a school bus mechanic for Hanover County Fleet Services, is the best in the state at what he does.
Hammock, an automotive technician, won first place in the Virginia’s Best School Bus Technician Competition Virginia Association of Pupil Transportation (VAPT) at the association’s annual conference recently.
Hanover Fleet Services provides services to 1,100 vehicles, including 313 school buses. Hammock specializes in school bus maintenance and repair. He is one of 12 mechanics, five of which work on the school buses.
He didn’t expect to win. “I went for the experience,” he says. “I didn’t care where I placed.”
In the competition Hammock and his fellow competitors from around the state were given a 50-part written test, then a hands-on test. Haddock won a ‘run-off’ competition with a technician from James City County. “That’s honestly where I won it,” he says. “They judge you on the time it takes you to diagnose the problem. I figured my bus’s problem out in a minute and a half.” His competitor needed 13 minutes, Hammock says.
He admits he was fortunate because he had recently fixed a bus that had a similar problem. “It was my knowledge of that issue and my experience that won the award,” he said.
The first place finish came with a $200 award, plus $500 towards attending the national competition, which will be held in Ohio in November. It was the first time Hammock had competed on behalf of Hanover County. Even with winning, he says the best part of being able to attend the conference was the networking.
“Being able to talk to guys who have had issues that I haven’t experienced yet was great,” he explains. “And I was able to help them on some things.”
He wasn’t stressed about the competition, he said. His anxiety was about his wife, who had gone into labor. All’s well that ends well on that front – Tabitha Hammock delivered a baby boy, their second child.
In his spare time, Hammock is the crew chief of a Carter Wood Racing car that competes at Southside Speedway.
He came to Hanover in March 2016 from Henrico County, where he had worked for 10 years.