After a week of in-depth training and intense competition, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is pleased to announce that Sgt. Benjamin Schropfer with the Nebraska State Patrol earned the 2019 Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award, the highest honor for the commercial motor vehicle roadside inspector, at the North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Sgt. Schropfer was announced as this year’s winner on Aug. 17, 2019, in front of an audience of nearly 2,000 people at the joint awards ceremony of CVSA’s NAIC and the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships.
Every year since NAIC started 27 years ago, each jurisdiction from Canada, Mexico and the United States is eligible to send one inspector to represent their jurisdiction, receive valuable training and compete against other top inspectors for the ultimate title of NAIC Grand Champion. This year, 51 commercial motor vehicle inspectors gathered in Pittsburgh, Aug. 13-17, 2019, to compete at NAIC, the only event dedicated to testing, recognizing and awarding commercial motor vehicle inspector excellence.
Each contestant competes in six inspection categories. The competition includes a North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria exam as well as thorough assessments of each inspector’s knowledge and expertise by providing various identical vehicles from which contestants must identify regulatory violations and critical vehicle inspection item out-of-service conditions, all while being timed. Contestants are tested on real-world vehicle and driver inspection scenarios and must appropriately evaluate the situation and properly identify violations within the recreated roadside inspection scenario. Inspectors are tested on the out-of-service criteria, inspection procedures, hazardous materials/dangerous goods requirements, passenger carrier vehicles (motorcoaches) and more.
In addition to the NAIC Grand Champion Award, other notable awards were earned by this year’s competing inspectors.
The one inspector who scores the most points representing each of the three participating countries in the competition receives their country’s High Points Award. The following High Points Awards were presented:
- Sean McAlister High Points Canada Award – Brittany Linde – British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- High Points Mexico Award – Gustavo Ruiz Alvarado – Policía Federal
- High Points United States Award – Benjamin Schropfer – Nebraska State Patrol
First, second and third place awards are given for the following inspection categories:
The North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods and Cargo Tank/Bulk Packagings Inspection is an inspection of the requirements related to identifying hazardous materials/dangerous goods markings, labeling, placarding, packaging, identification, etc.
- First Place – Brittany Linde – British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- Second Place – Michael Trautwein – Local Member – Houston Police Department
- Third Place – Benjamin Schropfer – Nebraska State Patrol
The North American Standard Level V Passenger Carrier Vehicle Inspection is an inspection of motorcoaches and other passenger-carrying vehicles. Passenger vehicle certified inspectors are specially trained commercial motor vehicle enforcement personnel equipped to inspect the unique aspects of a motorcoach and driver, while also taking responsibility for the safety of passengers.
- First Place – Steven Kirkwood – Maryland State Police
- Second Place – Benjamin Schropfer – Nebraska State Patrol
- Third Place – Jose Najera – Texas Department of Public Safety
The North American Standard Level I Inspection is the most commonly performed inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.
- First Place – Delaney Malsbury – Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
- Second Place – Benjamin Schropfer – Nebraska State Patrol
- Third Place – Andrew James – Arkansas Highway Police
The Team Award is given to the team with the highest combined score. The team with the highest score this year was the Blue Team, led by team leader Joe Manning with Pennsylvania State Police. The Blue Team had the following members:
- Brittany Linde, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- Stanton Ishii, Hawaii Department of Transportation
- Ryan Dahm, Iowa Department of Transportation
- Herbert Bradley, Kansas Highway Patrol
- Level Walley, Mississippi Department of Public Safety
- Benjamin Schropfer, Nebraska State Patrol
- Tommy Torok, South Dakota Highway Patrol
- Jose Najera, Texas Department of Public Safety
- Vidal Zamora, U.S. DOT/FMCSA
This year, NAIC contestants voted to present the John Youngblood Award of Excellence to Joshua Bradley with the Georgia Department of Public Safety. The John Youngblood Award of Excellence is an honor NAIC contestants bestow upon a fellow NAIC inspector who exemplifies high standards and unwavering dedication to the profession. It’s the only award that is awarded to one inspector by their peers. Inspectors vote for the inspector who exemplifies the spirit of cooperation, leadership, a professional image, a dedication to their profession, a positive attitude, organizational ability and congeniality.
“I started my CVSA career 16 years ago at the 2003 North American Inspectors Championship in Columbus, Ohio, so this competition is near and dear to my heart,” said CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson with the Arkansas Highway Police. “I know firsthand what an honor it is to be selected by your agency to compete on behalf of your jurisdiction against the best of the best inspectors from across North America. Each competing inspector – whether they receive a trophy or not – leaves NAIC as a winner.”
In addition to the competitive events, each inspector receives hands-on training on the latest safety information, technology, standards and procedures, while sharing ideas, techniques and experiences with fellow inspectors. Since NAIC is co-located with ATA’s championship, certified inspectors and professional drivers are in an environment where they can interact with, learn from and support each other throughout the week.
NAIC was created to recognize roadside inspectors and enforcement personnel – the backbone of the commercial motor vehicle safety program in North America – and to promote uniformity of inspections through training and education.
Next year’s NAIC is scheduled for Aug. 18-22, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana.