Local 264 MBTA Mechanics Take High Honors in National Bus Maintenance Competition

IAM Local 264 members at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) recently won third place overall at the American Public Transportation Association’s 2024 International Bus Maintenance Roadeo competition held in Portland, Ore.

The team placed first in the Cummins/Voith Powertrain event, beating the second-place finisher by five minutes in the timed event.

IAM Local 264’s Mike Maguire (bus maintenance), Matt Dicecca (bus maintenance), and Mike Haywood (automotive maintenance) made up the three-person team sent by the MBTA to compete. Maintenance Instructor Matt Quealy helped the team prepare and accompanied them at the competition.

“The first thing you have to do as a team is figure out why the engine won’t start and get it running,” said Maguire about the Powertrain event. “Then there are six other defects planted throughout, like engine codes, transmission codes, and loose plugs.”

The teams had a 10-minute time limit to finish. The Local 264 team started the engine in 45 seconds and solved six out of seven defects, the maximum number of defects solved by a team.

Local 264’s combined score from all the events placed them third overall among 46 teams representing transportation agencies across the nation.

“It’s fun for us,” said Maguire. “We have the knowledge to diagnose and fix problems that are harder to find for others.” 

“Doing it over the years, you learn tips and tricks,” said Dicecca. “We all learned from going to previous Roadeos. This is my third time going to the National competition.”

Dicecca and Maguire have been with IAM Local 264 at MBTA for 16 years and have been alternate stewards in their respective departments. Haywood has been on the local executive board, has been a trustee, and is currently serving as a steward. They have all competed separately with other Local 264 team members in previous years.

“We always have fun, and it’s actually really good networking,” said Haywood. “You get to meet a lot of people in the industry, see vendors’ new stuff that they’re working on and coming up with. They take our feedback because we’re the guys who are paying attention in the industry. It’s nice to talk to the people who actually created the products we work on. Vendors send their best and brightest to the Roadeo, just like we do. It’s a really good gathering of information all under one roof.”

In order to compete in APTA’s Roadeo, Local 264 had to place first in MBTA’s local Bus Roadeo.

“I am incredibly proud to be a member of Local 264 and represent Local 264,” said IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian. “Once again, we proved that we’re one of the best in the nation. That’s a reputation we have in Boston, and this year, Local 264 proved it on the national scale.”

Vartabedian competed at the APTA Roadeo and placed multiple times with his team while he was a technician for MBTA with Local 264.

“APTA’s Roadeo is a great event that allows IAM members to demonstrate their expertise and skill in a competitive way,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “Congratulations to Local 264 for their stellar performance. Winning at this level among the top mechanics in the nation is something to be proud of, and our union is certainly proud of them.”

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