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If the student fails to learn, the teacher fails to teach
April 13, 2012
CHARLESTON – According to Derrick Isabell, of Dunbar, some things only get better with time.
Isabell is enrolled in the Heavy Equipment Operator Training course through the Workforce and Economic Development Division of the Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College (KVCTC). The program provides ‘out of the box’ training, compared to the traditional semester- hour format on campus.
He has been enrolled at the school for about two months and in this program for two weeks. His goal is to land a nice job and solidify his future in the construction field, he said.
“We spend equal amounts of time on each one of the machines [Caterpillar bulldozers, excavators and front loaders],” he said. “We learn how to take the hillside out, level out land and grade it. It may seem like you can just hop on a machine and it will take off and work for you but there are a lot of precautions you need to take in hand.”
The 200-clock hour program - 25 percent classroom and 75 percent field - is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to become employed in the heavy equipment field, at an entry level or above. Some instruction in the program includes: principles of safe equipment operation; production estimating concepts; bulldozer, excavation and precision layout and digging techniques.
Machine rentals come from Walker Machinery Company’s Walker Express rental store, in Nitro. This is KVCTC’s fourth year to rent machines. Store manager Jim Chrivia enjoys the positive relationship.
"I'm very pleased about our on-going partnership with Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College,” Chrivia said. “It's a unique opportunity for Walker Express to connect with the community and provides the students with real life experience. Hopefully, that equates to improved job prospects in the future while further advancing their overall career goals."
KVCTC’s Adjunct Professor Martin Dotson relies on the Walker relationship for its machine service capability. He likes to brag about quick progress of his students in the current class.
“It’s not always the case,” he said.
"There are certain basic rules of earth moving, such as: getting safely on and off the machines, moving the machinery and the impact of the total job as operator.
“There are other schools in the country, some very fine, but some don’t represent the real-world approach of actually moving earth as we do here,” Dotson said. “We are teaching being independent on the machine itself, but pulling together to perform the task. They are all trying to get to one point.”
Students are taught many things in the classroom that apply to the physical job, such as determining range, distance or grade elevation and communicating with one another.
“If they see a low spot, the guys and gals on the survey crew can say in their radios, ‘We’re two feet low over here.’ They yell at someone on the bulldozer and say, ‘Hey, we need two feet of extra fill over here.’ This is all new to them, they’ve never been on these machines in their lives,” Dotson explained.
A lot of engineering and design go into building highways, and the curve is a certain angle because of necessity, he said. A bulldozer goes about three miles an hour. The students measure out a distance, estimate how much yardage they are carrying on the blade or bucket and do cycle time studies. Then they have contests between themselves. The competition pushes them to perform.
“This second week they have improved by over 200 percent,” Dotson said. “I enjoy the students;
I enjoy seeing them succeed. Any teacher should. There’s an old saying, ‘If the student fails to learn, the teacher fails to teach.’”
Another student, Kalonda Fataki, of Dunbar, is impressed with what the students have done in just a couple of days.
“It is difficult, but if you apply everything they tell you - you’ll get it. It’s a dangerous machine, but you have to take all the precautions. We go over and over and over it again; they give us that time,” Fataki said. “It was like a jungle, but look at it now.”
The field-hours are conducted at the Telephone Employees Recreation and Outdoor Club (TEROC) rifle range. TEROC is a non- profit organization that was incorporated in 1957. Memberships were sold to employees of C&P Telephone Co., AT&T and Western Electric Co.
Grant funding made the course available for Jonathan Jones, of Charleston, who eventually wants to open his own construction business.
“I think it’s a real good class,” Jones said. “They give you different opportunities and make it easy for you to get into the program. Most of us
don’t have the money for the class.”
Dominique Green, of Dunbar, heard about the class and called Mohammad Ibrahim.
“He got me in the class the next day,” Green said.
Mohammad Ibrahim is Program Director and recruiter for the On-The-Job Training Supportive Services, a program of the Federal Highway Administration and works for KVCTC. This program was created to accelerate expansion of the pool of qualified women, minorities and disadvantaged persons in the construction industry.
Ibrahim has about 20 students that are taking the same classes to prepare them for successful careers. This Heavy Equipment Operator Training class is the third class out of several, such as carpentry, concrete finishing, resume writing and internships.
“Then I work with the Department of Labor get them jobs quickly,” Ibrahim said.
Daniel Hughes, of Charleston, found out about the class at Work Force West Virginia.
“A lady up there helped me locate employment in my field of construction,” he said. “She told me about Mohammad’s program of free on-the-job training. I signed up and it’s been exciting ever since.”
Damita Andrews, of Charleston, is interested in a construction career. She used to drive 18- wheelers and likes big trucks, she said. She heard about this class and considered it a big opportunity. She likes driving the excavator the best.
“It’s fun. It is so big - I like big machines, but even though it looks hard, it is easy. You are learning how to work the gear and you have a boom, a bucket and a stick that you are learning to work at the same time,” she said. “It’s a little intimidating like a roller coaster. It looks crazy and weird but it’s exciting.”
KVCTC Program Coordinator Cynthia Woodworth is equally excited. The school is moving from Institute, W.Va. to South Charleston, where a former Union Carbide Corp. building is being renovated as the school’s new home.
“We are anticipating the move at the end of June,” she said. “We will have all the programs in one building. Our Workforce division is currently in Charleston, now we will be all together.”
Woodworth has seen an increase in attendance at the technical college, as a whole, and also in the Workforce division.
“The programs are targeting people who don’t need a degree and are looking for professional certifications. Financial aid is available for most of our programs,” she said.
Students, such as Green are seeking the opportunity, at KVCTC, to get better jobs than minimum wage careers.
“They help out a lot. I never did any of this before, in my life, and was able to get out and do it. If you pay attention, it’s not that hard,” he said.
Walker Machinery on cutting edge of technology
May 5, 2011
Allen Marker with Garcie Marker & Sons checks out the Global Positioning System (GPS) that Walker Machinery has made available on their Caterpillar machines.
RAVENSWOOD – According to Brent Sayre, a lot of people misunderstand how dirt works, such as where to put it, where not to put it, compaction and the impact of weather conditions. Every job posts its own challenges, he said.
Brent and his father Dencil own Sayre Excavating, in Kenna, W.Va. They attended Walker Machinery’s Caterpillar Connected Worksite Demo Day, May 5. The event was co-hosted by Charles Parker, training director of Local 132 International Union of Operating Engineers., at their training site in Ravenswood, W.Va. and Sales Manager Eric Ramey, of Cecil I. Walker Machinery Co. of Belle, W.Va.
“Most of the jobs I do have no plans,” Brent said. “I do things from experience. I drive the truck myself, most of the time. The hard part is figuring out with the customer, what they want and getting it done the right way. With the GPS, it shows you what’s there. You can actually do a layout and show a customer and say; here is what we can do on your site.”
Brent is talking about the high-accuracy Global Positioning System (GPS) that Walker Machinery has made available on their Caterpillar machines.
Caterpillar is the first to offer a fully-engineered and integrated system from the factory select models of Cat equipment: Developed, designed, tested, integrated, manufactured and supported by Cat.
Many Cat machines are Grade Control Ready as standard, which simplifies system installation and optimizes reliability. Caterpillar and Walker Machinery have partnered with Trimble’s SITECH dealerships to provide site - wide construction technology for jobsite needs, both in the office and in the field.
Improvements, such as antennas that use GPS satellite signals to compute its exact locations, give contractors an easy-to-use, wide area measurement system for a variety of site preparation and stakeout applications. Cat machines are enhanced with technological features that assist in achieving every contractor’s goal of quality work, on time, and on budget. Cat calls it “The Connected Worksite”.
The demonstration was actually a three-day event, May 3-5. The first day benefited the Walker sales team, day two - the operating engineers, and day three - the customers. According to Ramey, in the commercial construction industry, the building commercial excavating contractor is up against serious competition in the bidding process.
“Usually on a project there are cost concerns involved,” Ramey said. “The developer wants it done as cost-effective as possible, which means they want it done right the first time.”
Technology Sales Specialist with SITECH J.D. Weis presented a very basic understanding of the GPS process and an introduction to the technology for the applications contractors are starting to see in their bids.
“That technology is actually written in the specifications to use some kind of machine controlled guidance technology,” Weis said.
In an effort to standardize the work and to kind of guarantee the work, machine control and machine guidance products are being required now for any contractor to be able to bid on that work, Ramey said.
“They want people who are technologically advanced. They want people who know the industry and can do the work for them and achieve the accuracies they want,” Ramey said.
Blaine Furey, owner of Poncove, Inc. in Glen Daniel, W.Va. also attended the event. He has been excavating his entire life in the gas and mining industries. This is the first time he has explored this technology, he said.
“I’m not ready to do it yet, but I can see it in the future,” Furey said. “I’d like to start from ground level, keep up with it and kind of drift into it slowly.”
Technology is becoming a bigger piece of the machine, Ramey said.
“It is changing the way earth moving is done,” he said. “We want to be on the cutting edge of technology. We want to be the market leader of technology in heavy equipment. With these products, our customers can increase their profitability and decrease their costs, making them more competitive in today’s construction market.”
For more information click here http://www.SITECH-Construction.com
CAT SMALL EXCAVATOR HIGHLIGHTS:
• Improved fuel efficiency translates into more work output for your fuel cost.
• Higher digging forces, increased lifting capacity and more drawbar pull offer
best in class performance creating greater revenues.
• Sleek in-cab LCD monitor is full color, user friendly and provides access to service, performance and maintenance tracking.
• Unparalleled Tool Control System offers preset Cat tools and pre-programmable pressure and flow for up to 10 hydraulic work tools.
• Unmatched dealer support for your small excavator from the undercarriage to your auxiliary hydraulics and work tools.
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