When I started at NAA in the summer of 2008, I knew that my job responsibilities would be many and varied. Among the projects I would undertake was a little program called Maintenance Mania. The concept was pretty unusual but sounded like a lot of fun. Most appealing to me was the fact that this program puts the spotlight on those who rarely get any recognition but for whom this industry could not function without.
You may be asking yourself, “What the heck is Maintenance Mania?” I know – it’s hard to believe that everyone on the planet hasn’t heard of it. We’re working on that. For those who don’t know Maintenance Mania® is a national competition where industry maintenance technicians compete against each other in skill-based games built around common maintenance activities. The competition includes a really cool pinewood derby style car race where the cars are made out of maintenance supplies. You should see some of the cars – they’re amazing!
NAA affiliates host Maintenance Mania® events across the country to recognize maintenance technicians with awards, prizes and bragging rights. Winners from each local event get a chance to qualify for one of 20 finalist spots at the National Championship held at the annual NAA Education Conference & Exposition.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on.
Based on the tasks involved in managing this program I didn’t imagine too much time and energy would be required. After all, I am a seasoned association professional who has managed countless programs over the years. Maintenance Mania should be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong! There are so many parts to making Maintenance Mania work. Thankfully, I don’t have to do it all myself. Maintenance Mania presenting sponsor HD Supply provides immeasurable support on all levels. The surprising part about all this work? I absolutely LOVE it! One could even say I’m a maniac for Maintenance Mania – NAA’s web manager Julie Barden has used that phrase a time or two. Or was that just maniac?
Over the last four years (almost) I have seen Maintenance Mania grow in every imaginable way. During the 2008-2009 season 35 affiliates participated. The 2008 National Championship competition was held in a small ballroom during the NAA Education Conference in Orlando, Fla. Fast-forward to 2012. This season, 62 NAA affiliates hosted competitions across the country. The 2012 National Championship will take place June 28 in Boston with an expected record crowd of spectators. And I can’t wait! Maintenance Mania is loved by the affiliates who participate in the program, allowing them an opportunity to connect their entire membership in a very unique way – and potentially earn revenue for the association to boot!
Most importantly, I have had the privilege of meeting and befriending some of the smartest, kindest and hard working individuals in this industry and I am extremely proud to be associated with this program. I even look forward to getting rib-crushing hugs from the finalists (thanks Lannon). I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to my right arm (and the person of often talks me off the ledge), Hector Garcia. You rock!
Is it a lot of labor? Absolutely! But it’s truly a labor of love.