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Thread: What got you in the business?

  1. #1
    Senior Member tippatone's Avatar
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    What got you in the business?

    Hi to all on HFE, I am just curious to what was responsible for bringing you to the world of Heavy Equipment. I am new to heavy equipment, but my love for it is as old as I am. I can remember taking trips to Jamaica as a kid and watching my uncle operating a Leyland dump truck while it was loaded by an mid 80's Case hoe. When I got older I finally got to mess around in the old 580c, my entire day I busted my chops just to get that "mess around" at the end of the day. I felt so lucky to be 15 years old and sitting in the operator's seat, even though it was after hours and meaningless to my uncle, I reflect on those summer vacations and thank my Uncle T. (God bless his soul, he passed a few years back) I am trying to get into any IUEO apprenticeship program, but even if I don't I felt like an operator for a few hours of my life. I would like to hear some of your experiences of getting into the field of heavy equipment. If you have pics please post them if its ok with you guys. In closing I would like to add, the reason I am not a operator now is that I tried to follow someone else's path instead of my own. I went to college, worked office and hospital jobs and got nothing out of it execpt wasted time. Thank you guys.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Finish Blademan's Avatar
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    My dad broke his leg when a dozer winch fell on it.They pulled me out of school for a week to help my grandpa keep logging.He put me on the dozer dragging cable and skidding while he cut hardwood timber.Thats how my family made a living. I was thirteen years old and loading log trucks,skidding,and topping timber with a chainsaw to help my grandpa who would cut the logs he wanted out of a red oak,white oak,walnut,maple,hickory etcetera.
    Rough derned life and we just barely survived really after all the expenses.
    Anyways,thats how I got started.After I finished my first four years of service in the Army as a Scout.I went back to heavy equipment and ran a boxblade for an old feller who ran the blade.I`d do his corner cuts and fills and keep his windrows picked up,run the water truck,run the roller.etc.He started teaching me to run a blade slowly.
    I picked it up pretty well but it took me a year before I could hit the ground right.And a couple more years before I was worth a hoot at cutting bluetops.I somehow stayed at it and I`m still at it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tippatone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finish Blademan View Post
    My dad broke his leg when a dozer winch fell on it.They pulled me out of school for a week to help my grandpa keep logging.He put me on the dozer dragging cable and skidding while he cut hardwood timber.Thats how my family made a living. I was thirteen years old and loading log trucks,skidding,and topping timber with a chainsaw to help my grandpa who would cut the logs he wanted out of a red oak,white oak,walnut,maple,hickory etcetera.
    Rough derned life and we just barely survived really after all the expenses.
    Anyways,thats how I got started.After I finished my first four years of service in the Army as a Scout.I went back to heavy equipment and ran a boxblade for an old feller who ran the blade.I`d do his corner cuts and fills and keep his windrows picked up,run the water truck,run the roller.etc.He started teaching me to run a blade slowly.
    I picked it up pretty well but it took me a year before I could hit the ground right.And a couple more years before I was worth a hoot at cutting bluetops.I somehow stayed at it and I`m still at it.
    Thats a great story....first let me thank you and all the vets that fought for this country. You must be a expert operator at this point, I just want to be able to tell a story similar to yours one day. I have wasted about 10 years of my life in the office working with women, trust me I regret it dearly, if I had it to do again it would be different

  4. #4
    Senior Member tippatone's Avatar
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    Hey Finish Blademan, you operate any scrapers?

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    Senior Member Muffler Bearing's Avatar
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    I once got hired with an excavator to be strictly his mechanic, I worked in his shop for a week, then one day he said " you've got a cdl huh? ever run a dump truck, how 'bout a back hoe and hammer?"
    I was tricked into it, everything from the excavator drivers seat, to the grade stick. Alot of fun though.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Finish Blademan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tippatone View Post
    Hey Finish Blademan, you operate any scrapers?
    Tippatone, I`ve run a bunch of em in the past.
    I`ve run Cat 613`s on smaller stuff,cut and fill pads when building subdivisions. 615`s and 623`s on road subgrades.Used a 615 chassis for a water wagon as well.I never got into highway construction with the massive push pans or 657 such sizes.Had no need for em.
    One thing about running a blade on a job,whether you are a foreman or leadman.If you are hurting for an operator that day because one didn`t show up or such,You`ll get on what you need to run to get something done.I personally hate running a scraper due to an old injury that scrapers seem to antagonize a bit,but I`ll still crawl on one now and then.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tippatone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finish Blademan View Post
    Tippatone, I`ve run a bunch of em in the past.
    I`ve run Cat 613`s on smaller stuff,cut and fill pads when building subdivisions. 615`s and 623`s on road subgrades.Used a 615 chassis for a water wagon as well.I never got into highway construction with the massive push pans or 657 such sizes.Had no need for em.
    One thing about running a blade on a job,whether you are a foreman or leadman.If you are hurting for an operator that day because one didn`t show up or such,You`ll get on what you need to run to get something done.I personally hate running a scraper due to an old injury that scrapers seem to antagonize a bit,but I`ll still crawl on one now and then.
    I hear ya, I never personally seen one in action up close. How easy is it to learn? I've operated a Case 580c a few times, but never mind you seem to be more of a grader guy providing some awesome pics in your thread.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Finish Blademan's Avatar
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    Yup,a blade is my specialty.A scraper is not hard at all to run.Scrapers are boring as heck bit an invaluable tool for hogging out material.

  9. #9
    Senior Member amunderdog's Avatar
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    Choose a job you love and you will never have to work again another day in your life.

    -confucius

    I have always loved operating equipment.
    When i was getting gong in my life i was looking for a job.
    Ran across an older man with one backhoe and dumptruck with an excelent operator.
    They had gotten along that way for years doing residential work for a base of building contractors. He had placed a help wanted at the empoyment office wanting a laborer.
    I got thru and just loved everyday. I learned alot from him and his operator just watching as i worked. I drove the dump truck and hauled the backhoe also.
    Well after a few years his operator needed out for personal and phisical reasons.
    So the owner started looking for a new operator. Well this just pissed me off.
    I wanted that job or atleast a shot at it. So everytime they turned there back i was on that machine doing what i could; showing my stuff.
    He kept bringing in prospects and i kept showing my stuff.
    After awhile i talked to him about looking for a laborer and letting me move up.
    Well he had better luck finding a laborer and i got to move up.
    His excelent operator was still there to help with the transition; so he would ride on the fender and give me pointers when i needed them.
    Poor guy really needed a hard hat because sometimes i was not to smooth with the outriggers. Anyway after awhile i got the job permenant and the excelent operator left.
    We worked on like that for several more years. The owner (who was an excelent operator himself) and i sharing the operator duties and me doing a very good job but still getting pointers from him.
    The pointers got less and less as i got better and better.
    Thats enough of that for now.
    Hope that helps you out some.
    Last edited by amunderdog; 06-14-2009 at 08:37 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tippatone's Avatar
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    amunderdog, that was a great story, there is no doubt you paid your dues and that's the way to do it. I have no prob working my way up from the bottom, I prefer it actually. Muffler Bearing, as for the way you got in, I would love for someone to pull a trick like that on me. My dad wanted me to become a welder, but I hate heights. I was tricked into thinking heavy equipment work was not my thing, now that a trick for you. That confucius quote hits the nail on the head. Thank you guys for your info.

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    Blademan- Thanks for serving, I canot tell you how much I appreaciate your sacrfice

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    Long story short........

    I was 11 years old and started working for the farmer down the street washing equitment. A few years later ide fill in were I could using the tractor. I was 16 when he passed away he was a great man and perhaps one of my best mentors. In his will he left a old 1968 Ford 3400 tractor with a loader and a mower. I started cutting grass for my neighbor and me, well somehow someway I ended up at 18 risking it all buying a new tractor and starting bussniess. Over the past few years I have established a bussniess and a small fleet of skid steers, tractors, excavotors.

    And thats that

  13. #13
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    I got tired of trying to hire anyone that was any good and knew how to do a job that actually worked when it was done, let alone show up for small jobs at all, since I had no money I could only afford small jobs at a time to get done and nobody would come for anything small, so I bought my own dozer and started doing my own work, one thing led to another and added some more equipment and before long my phone started ringing asking if I'd come and do an hour long job, they were tired of waiting for days/months/years for anyone to come do it, it seems most were on the contractors list of "when he's got nothing else better to do" and were as tired of it as I was, so we started out small and worked up and added equipment as we went, we never really ever started in business, it just sort of happened by word of mouth and before I knew it we were full time. I still look back and wonder just how it all happened.

  14. #14
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    I grew up around it, Dad started as a teenager running a dozer and scraper in the early sixties. When I was little he worked for Wright Brothers construction out of TN. They had over 100 Cat scrapers at one time. I was about 5 and dad was working for them in Tuscaloosa Alabama. Dad was an operating foreman and was on a 235 Cat hoe. I remember it like it was yesterday and I was in his lap and rember him guiding my hands on the the controls letting me dip up some cat tails out of an under cut they were doing. Later o nthe same job my older brother and another hand were running 627's hauling clay for the under cut making a pond fo the land owner. I rembeber sitting on the console and remebering brother and dad bailing up together for the cut. From that day on I was hooked. Dad came to work for a local contractor to be home. Dad used to bring home a hoe from time to time for weekend yard work as part of his pay. His employer also didnt mind me tagging along on jobs. I often got to t run an old 230 Mitsubishi hoe and Leibherr hoe they had on days I stayed home from school.

    When I was 14 dad had been working for his employer and doing alot of site work for a mobile home plant. They liked dads work and they had to open a Class II rubbish site. dad took the offer and made them a landfill. He worked and on the weekends I started running a JD762 scraper for him on some pads at the plant. I learned layout and grade work. I also had to help mechanic to. I ended up one summer working for my brother running his 455 Ford hoe on a few jobs and driving a dump truck off road. I went on to working full summers running the scraper and backhoe and a few other machines on some land developement job the plant sponsored. We worked all over the southern part of the state from clearing to cut and fill to doing the finish and utility and dress up work. I finished college and graduated from machinist and tool and die school. I love that line of work but didnt like being indoors. After a short miserable plant job I went out on my own building brush rakes and forks for some euipment and lights repairs. I got a job with Huffman Construction from Missouri as a labor and at the end of the week I was on a back hoe and a track loader. I also did the sites mechanic work to. I ended up as a Crane operator on a 5299 American crane and a 222 Manitowoc and an RT30 rough terrain crane.

    THat job was going down hill and dad had gotten sick and I filled in for him at the landfill. I stayed on till the plant closed and we put the landfill to a dormant state. A new company bought the plant we filled for and we came with it. I got my Class on Rubbish site operators cerificate and have been there the last several years as assistan manager. I take care of machinery maintenance and the working face. We also do the plants earth work. I also own a small skid steer and mini ex service for clean up work.

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