TENNERTON – An Upshur County Board of Education employee was honored during a recent Upshur County Board of Education meeting for his accomplishments and dedication.
Rick Wentz, chief mechanic for Upshur County Schools, received an Upshur Star for his performance in a state transportation contest and for representing Upshur County on the transportation executive committee. Transportation supervisor Stephanie Bennett said that during the 78th Annual WV Association for Pupil Transportation Conference, Wentz participated in the school bus technician inspector competition, where he placed third in the state.
“This is a hands-on, diagnostics inspection and written exam, and the competition allows mechanics to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a competitive manner,” Bennett said. “We are very proud of Rick.”
Upshur County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus said Wentz also has been mentoring the younger mechanics, one of whom just graduated from the Fred Eberle Technical Center in diesel mechanics.
“That is to be commended as well,” Stankus said. “Thank you.”
Bennett also noted that Wentz was nominated for a position on the executive committee as a maintenance representative – a position Wentz accepted.
“He will support the state from Upshur County,” Bennett shared.
Wentz spoke with My Buckhannon and said the competition contained both a hands-on and written test.
“It is based on the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification for mechanics,” Wentz said. “We had 50 questions on the written exam. The hands-on featured three different stations where we had electrical boards we had to troubleshoot. Another station was to identify five different components and how they would be used if something were wrong with the bus. In 2017 I participated in the competition and won first place in the state. I then went to the national competition.”
Wentz has worked for Upshur County Schools for 33 years; this is his third year as the chief mechanic.
“I was on the floor for 30 years before becoming chief mechanic,” Wentz said.
The executive committee Wentz will be serving on deals with issues such as school bus safety.
“We will plan and offer state conferences on training,” he said. “My position with the committee will involve working with four others to help set up trainings for mechanics and help vendors get set up. We also work with the state school bus rodeo to set that up.”
As an executive committee member, Wentz will be called on to speak about school bus safety practices to the West Virginia Legislature.
During the meeting, Wentz was presented with an Upshur Star for going over and above what is required of his position.