Fourteen crane operators contended in the Crane Operator & Rigger Championship on Sept. 29, 2015, and returning champion Kenneth Bowyer of ALL Crane Rental successfully defended his title. Bowyer, who has 20 years of experience, earned a score that was better than any other recorded by more than 100 operators who competed during the 2014-2015 season. As the 2015 Champion, he received a $10,000 prize, sponsored by Crane Institute of America, Cranes 101, Crane U, North Dakota Crane Certification, and Viant Crane.

Launched in 2011 to bring awareness to the importance of training and certification in the qualification of crane operators, CIC designed competition standards and scoring methodology to assess operator skill and precision in load handling.

First runner-up was Eric Gaut of CraneWorks, Birmingham, Ala., who received a $2,000 prize, and second runner-up was Jose Villanueva of Bay Ltd., Corpus Christi, Texas, who took home $1,000. All three operators also received custom belt buckles from event partner Crane & Rigging Hot Line.

During the Championship awards dinner honoring the competitors and winners, guest speaker Dr. Jeanne Fredericks, Director of Education for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky, acknowledged the intelligence, mental alertness, precision, and ability to handle stress that it takes to be a skilled crane operator. She challenged the 14 operators who competed in the Championship to ask themselves, “How will the world be different because I am here? What legacy will I leave?”

“By 2018, it is predicted that the industry will see tremendous shortages of crane operators.” She cited stats from the home states of the three winners. “In Florida, the expected shortage is 8,538. In Alabama, as many as 11,000 will be needed. And in Texas, the number is 5,780,” said Fredericks. “We do a tremendous disservice to young people when we force them into higher education as their only option. We need to educate parents about the well-paid, rewarding jobs in construction. I urge you to get involved as a craft professional with your local middle and high schools to bring that awareness. Become an instructor and practical examiner. Help others to become certified,” she said.

“OSHA’s requirement for crane operators to be certified is no more than two years away. The shortages that Dr. Fredericks refers to don’t include operators already in the workforce who remain uncertified,” added Jim Headley, CEO of CIC. “The industry needs every available operator to be properly trained and qualified by their employers, and that includes achieving accredited, third-party certification,” he said. “CIC offers employers an affordable option to validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of their operators, riggers and signal persons.”

Source: Crane Institute of America

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