The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) Education Foundation has announced the 2016 Technician of the Year Award winners. Michael Naletko from Sarasota County (Fla.) Fleet Services earned the public sector award.

A highly knowledgeable expert in the career field, Naletko is the “go-to” technician who was trained by the U.S. Air Force as a special purpose vehicle and equipment mechanic and demonstrates his belief in safety by being accident-free for his entire five years with the county.

“For me, the heroes in the field are the older generation of technicians that have helped me throughout my career. I hope I can do the same in years to come for other young technicians getting started. I feel that winning this award isn’t just a win for me, but a win for my profession and I couldn’t be more proud to now be a member of an organization that spotlights and celebrates our career field,” Naletko said.

The Technician of the Year initiative is the AEMP Education Foundation’s way of recognizing heavy equipment technicians who are models of excellence within the profession.  

“Technicians don’t often receive the recognition they deserve for being such key players in making our industry successful,” said AEMP Education Foundation manager Rachel Connor. “In celebrating the industry’s best, we want the award to elevate the stature of the career and to bring awareness to the critical issue of the technician shortage.”

For the past 26 years, the AEMP Education Foundation has partnered with John Deere to honor the heavy equipment industry’s outstanding Technician of the Year in both public and private fleets. The private sector fleet winner is Christopher Flood from Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., in Pennsylvania. Recipients were honored at a special luncheon during the AEMP Management Conference & Annual Meeting in Houston in March.