CVSA’s 2023 North American Inspectors Championship Grand Champion Is Tomasz Krolak with Minnesota State Patrol

2023 NAIC Grand Champion Tomasz Krolak with Minnesota State Patrol

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is pleased to announce that Tomasz Krolak with Minnesota State Patrol has earned this year’s North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC) Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award, the highest honor for a commercial motor vehicle roadside inspector.

Krolak was announced as this year’s NAIC Grand Champion and accepted his trophy at the joint awards ceremony of CVSA’s North American Inspectors Championship and the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships.

In addition to the NAIC Grand Champion Award, sponsored by PrePass Safety Alliance, other notable awards were earned by this year’s competing inspectors.

The one inspector who scored the most points representing each of the participating countries – Canada and the U.S. – in the competition received their country’s High Points Award, sponsored by J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. The following High Points Awards were presented:

  • Sean McAlister High Points Canada Award – Ken Clarke – Ontario Ministry of Transportation
  • High Points U.S. Award – Tomasz Krolak – Minnesota State Patrol

First, second and third place awards were 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. This award was sponsored by Trimac.

1. Tomasz Krolak – Minnesota State Patrol
2. Tyson Oxford – Kansas Highway Patrol
3. Dustin Henderson – Texas Department of Public Safety

The North American Standard Level V Passenger Carrier Vehicle Inspection is an inspection of motorcoaches and other passenger-carrying vehicles. This award was sponsored by the American Bus Association and the United Motorcoach Association.

1. Tomasz Krolak – Minnesota State Patrol
2. Aron Smith – Arizona Department of Public Safety
3. Christopher Vinson – Local Member – Midlothian (Texas) Police Department

The North American Standard Level I Inspection is the most commonly performed inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of the driver’s operating requirements and the vehicle’s mechanical fitness. This award was sponsored by Yellow.

1. Christopher Vinson – Local Member – Midlothian (Texas) Police Department
2. Christopher Merkel – Maryland State Police
3. Ken Clarke – Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Sponsored by FedEx, the Team Award is given to the team with the highest combined score. The team with the highest score this year was the Orange Team, led by team leader Tad Rumas with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The Orange Team had the following members:

  • Aron Smith – Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • Benjamin Minick – California Highway Patrol
  • Christopher Vinson – Local Member, Midlothian (Texas) Police Department
  • William Hughes – Louisiana State Police
  • Tomasz Krolak – Minnesota State Patrol
  • Reynaldo Pierluisse – Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
  • Roman Martinez – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Davyd Mortensen – Wyoming Department of Transportation

NAIC contestants voted to present the John Youngblood Award of Excellence to Shane Northrup, with Maine State Police, for exemplifying the spirit of cooperation, leadership, a professional image, dedication to the profession, a positive attitude, organizational ability and congeniality. The John Youngblood Award of Excellence is an honor NAIC contestants bestow upon a fellow competitor who exemplifies high standards and unwavering dedication to the profession. It’s the only award whose winner is selected by their peers.

This year, 49 commercial motor vehicle inspectors came together in Columbus, Ohio, to compete at NAIC, the only event dedicated to testing, recognizing and awarding commercial motor vehicle inspector excellence. NAIC is a weeklong training event and inspection competition where jurisdictions send their top inspector to represent their jurisdiction, receive valuable training and compete against other top inspectors for the ultimate title of NAIC Grand Champion.

At the start of the week, each inspector received two days of hands-on training on the latest safety information, technology, standards and procedures. Inspectors received training on the out-of-service criteria, inspection procedures, operational policies, hours-of-service compliance, hazardous materials/dangerous goods compliance, hydraulic brakes, performance-based brake testers, passenger carrier vehicles, documenting violations, cargo tanks and more.

After two days of training, the competition started. For the competition, each contestant competed in six inspection categories over two days. The competition included identical vehicles from which contestants had to identify regulatory violations and critical vehicle inspection item out-of-service conditions, all while being timed. Contestants were tested on real-world vehicle and driver inspection scenarios and had to appropriately evaluate the situation and properly identify violations within the recreated roadside inspection scenario.

The individual with the highest score was awarded the NAIC Grand Champion trophy and title. The NAIC Grand Champion will also be invited to attend and speak at the  awards luncheon on Sept. 20 in Grapevine, Texas.

Every year, since the start of NAIC in 1993, the inspectors’ competition has been co-located with the ATA’s drivers’ competition. Co-locating the drivers’ and inspectors’ competitions provides the opportunity for certified inspectors and professional drivers to interact with, learn from and support each other throughout the week. This is an important aspect of co-locating the two events and a benefit that is crucial to fostering a positive relationship between members of the two organizations.

NAIC was created to recognize roadside inspectors and enforcement personnel – the backbone of the commercial motor vehicle safety program in North America – and promote uniformity of inspections through training and education.

Next year’s NAIC is scheduled for Aug. 20-24, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana.