Passion for Maintenance Drives Chairman’s Award Recipient

The award was given to an individual for just the fourth time in IANA's 27 years.

When he can be convinced to talk about himself, IANA Chairman’s Award recipient Marty Summers doesn’t mince words. "I am very passionate about maintenance," the Consolidated Chassis Management executive told Intermodal Insights shortly before he received the award on Sept. 17 at Intermodal EXPO in Long Beach, California.

The Chairman’s Award is granted by the IANA board of directors and is intended to recognize exceptional contributions of an individual or individuals who have rendered meritorious service to the Association and the intermodal industry. This is only the 4th time in IANA’s 27-year history that this award has been conferred on an individual.

"It’s a matter of trying to get people to understand the necessity of making the proper repairs. In all my career, it has been important that when we do maintenance that it be done correctly. I am firm believer in doing it right the first time," said the general manager of maintenance administration for CCM, who pledges to maintain his enthusiasm for and involvement with IANA that began decades ago.

He elaborated, adding that "it may cost a little more, but doing repairs properly assures the safety of the equipment.

If it wasn’t done right to begin with, it will cost double — or more — than if it was done right the first time. We all travel the same highways, and all it takes is one accident to make people regret taking an improperly repaired piece of equipment onto the road."

He received the award for putting that passion to work by leading the Intermodal Chassis Mechanics Training Task Force, formed by the Maintenance & Repair Committee. The three-year effort created the industry’s first guide for assisting chassis mechanics — both veterans and those who are new to intermodal. The goal: to ensure that there are standardized procedures throughout the industry.

‘Needed to Do Something’

It literally was created out of a void.

"We [committee members] talked to maintenance vendors and several other [intermodal equipment providers]. Everyone agreed that we needed to do something to create a chassis mechanics training document," he told Insights.

The solution was for IANA to form a task force. Summers volunteered to lead it. For the veteran with 10 years’ service at CCM and 27 years before that at Atlantic Technical Services, creating the manual wasn’t exactly a labor of love. It was a labor of necessity. It also wasn’t easy.

"We would keep working until we had an agreement from everybody," he told Insights. That meant working every Friday for three years in a one-hour conference call, bringing together 56 participants. It took 3,000 hours and tens of thousands of emails.

What else, besides passion and necessity, drove Summers and the task force forward?

‘Stunning Achievement’

His colleagues outlined Summers’ approach to developing the manual, which IANA Chairman Adriene Bailey described in presenting the award as a "stunning achievement" and a "vital and lasting resource."

IANA Board member and CCM President Jon Poelma put it this way: "Getting it right is the fundamental place to start. Where others might give up with trying to lead a large group of diverse stakeholders, Marty could see the light at the end of the tunnel and the project getting completed. Marty is able to maintain line of sight to the end goal and he has amazing endurance evidenced by full time work at CCM and part time on this project."

TSE Brakes’ Strategic Account Manager Ed Smith said Summers’ "drive enabled it to become a reality," along with his personality, leadership and the ability to delegate so that the right people were put together to make things work.

We would keep working until we had an agreement from everybody."
Marty Summers
General manager of maintenance administration, Consolidated Chassis Management

"I don’t think anyone else would have been as passionate about the project nor able to recruit and manage the pure volume of help that it required to pull this thing off," said P & B Intermodal Vice President Joey Frederick, who has known Summers for more than 35 years.

"There were opposing ideas that had to be hashed out and agreed to without watering down the effectiveness of the individual IRP," he added. "Marty remained steady, focused and committed through the entire process. Marty b not let there be meltdowns or issues that kept the team from pulling through to the end."

Brett Hugo, strategic account manager at STEMCO and vice chairman of the M&R Committee, also used the word passionate, saying said Summers is "very organized, driven and self-motivated. His skill sets were all necessary to keep so many different people and personalities aligned to meet the target dates."

‘Intended for Every Mechanic’

"The IRPs are intended for every mechanic," Summers said. "That will create the ability to ensure that veteran mechanics with 25 years on the job will have access to information that can be used to correct improper repair procedures. That approach will prevent the veterans from mistraining new workers."

By creating a resource that doesn’t take a "cookie cutter" approach, mechanics will be trained on the type of knowledge that they need, not every aspect of chassis maintenance, he explained.

Summers, the first person in his family to earn a college degree, began his career in Virginia’s Tidewater area. He earned a degree from Tidewater Community College in business administration and accounting, going to school at night after working all day.

He also was the first in his family to enter the transportation business. Two of his four children have followed in his footsteps. Son Brian works at a stevedoring firm, while daughter Missy is in the trucking industry.

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