Between the bulldozer, compactor, and scraper, what’s your favorite machine to work with and why?
Chris: The scraper is just because of the sheer size of it. It’s about one-and-a-half school buses long and maybe one and a half school buses tall. And it picks up a whole bunch of dirt and puts it where you want it. It takes a lot of finesse to do it right.
What is the biggest misconception about learning these giant machines?
Chris: To me, the biggest misconception is that it’s hard. Once you get enough seat time and if you’ve had a good teacher, someone who’s patient and someone who will give you the opportunity and the chance to learn it, it can be very easy.
How do you keep calm when you’re at the helm?
Chris: I don’t really get nervous anymore. Right now, I purposely go kick one of the guys out once a week just so I can get in and kind of stay fresh. When I was at Denver Regional, I was in one of those pieces of equipment every day, if not every other day, doing something, whether it was pushing trash or helping one of the scrapers load or covering for breaks or covering for lunches or covering for someone being on vacation or sick. It’s just a matter of staying sharp with your skills. Practice makes perfect. If you’re not interacting with it regularly, you lose that and I have the personality where if I don’t use it, I lose it.
So what was it like working with Richard on the bulldozer and the compactor? Were you skeptical that he could indeed master these in three days?
Chris: You know, I initially was because I’ve had that experience. But all in all, he did a pretty good job due to just the sheer fact that he was willing to learn. He wanted to know what they were all about — how heavy they were, what the horsepower was like. It’s very rare that you put someone up in a cab and turn him loose in a couple of hours because they’re doing so well. He did a pretty good job. I was pretty impressed.