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Crane Operator Skills Competition Heads to Southeast, West

Crane Operator Skills Competition Heads to Southeast, West

 The Crane & Rigging Hot Line & CIC Crane Operator Skills Competition continues its cross-country trek to round up the best crane operators in the West and Southeast. From October until March 2014, five additional regional events will take place to introduce young people to crane operation as a profession, and educate local governments and businesses about the role training, experience, and certification plays in safe crane operation.

Previous Regional Qualifying events took place in New England, the Northeast and Midwest United States, and Canada from June to August 2013. The top two operators from each regional competition will advance to the championship, which will be held March 6-7, 2014, at ConExpo-Con/Agg, in Las Vegas, Nev.

The operator test course and contest standards were designed by Crane Institute Certification (CIC), an independent certifying organization, to assess an operator’s ability to control the load. Tasks include placing the crane’s headache ball into barrels, maneuvering 55-gallon drums full of water through an obstacle course, and raising a pipe to a vertical position then placing it between a set of cones. Each test is timed and monitored by the judges for load control, depth perception, and accuracy. Operators will use a swing cab-style mobile crane with the boom extended approximately 70 ft. Setup and judging of the Regional Qualifying events is overseen by Jim Headley of Crane Institute of America.

The Crane & Rigging Hot Line & CIC Skills Competition is supported by The Crosby GroupHouston International Insurance Group, InfoChipLiebherr Cranes, and Slingmax Rigging Solutions. Register for an upcoming Regional Qualifying event at



The fall Regional Qualifying events kick off on Oct. 5, 2013, in Woodland, Wash., at Industrial Training International’s headquarters. ITI is recognized as a leader in crane and rigging training, as well as lift management, lift planning, and inspection. Serving heavy industry, energy, transportation, maritime, and construction markets, ITI’s trainers embrace multi-sensory education. “People have a greatly increased chance of retention by seeing, speaking, and doing all at the same time,” said Mike Parnell, president of ITI.

ITI’s Regional will feature an open house from 11am to 5pm with games for children and plenty of food and drink for all visitors.  The all-day event will provide a chance for visitors to make new friends and learn more about ITI’s training courses. ITI instructors Jay Dyson and Alex Faris, who are both CIC practical examiners, will serve as judges for the operator skills competition. A portion of the competitors’ registration fees will be donated to The Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation in Portland, Ore.



Two qualifying competitions in Texas offer options to operators serving the vast Gulf Coast construction market. In Houston, Texas, Webber LLC, will provide a crane at its equipment yard on Oct. 18. One of the largest contractors in Texas, Webber focuses on construction of civil engineering infrastructure in the transportation market.

Safety is a top priority for the company. Part of Webber’s Total Safety Culture is to train and certify its crane operators. Webber’s Crane Safety Superintendent, Cliff Warren, says, “The safe and professional operation of cranes is a top priority for Webber, and Webber is proud to once again participate in theCrane & Rigging Hot Line & CIC Crane Operator Rodeo. Events like this help to promote safety awareness across the construction industry, and Webber encourages crane operators to take advantage of this opportunity to share their experiences and acquire new knowledge through interaction and competition with their peers.” Warren and Donny Garcia, Safety Manager and Trainer, are authorized CIC practical examiners and will serve as judges for the Houston Regional Qualifying event.

Co-host with Webber is the HIIG|Construction division of Houston International Insurance Group (HIIG.)  Kevin Cunningham, president of HIIG|Construction, recently presented a webinar on “Minimizing Liability Allocation after Major Crane Accidents,” and will be providing additional risk management webinars in conjunction with Crane & Rigging Hot Line magazine over the next several months.

HIIG has introduced a new Risk Management based Insurance Package for the crane, rigging, and specialized transport markets. “We are a direct insurance carrier alternative for Crane Companies’ Insurance Agents as compared to the less consistent wholesale broker-based programs in today’s crane Insurance marketplace,” said Cunningham, “and Houston International Insurance Group (HIIG) is proud to be the Official Insurance Company sponsor in partnership with Maximum Capacity Media for the Crane Operator Rodeo events.  HIIG is dedicated to insuring the crane and related heavy construction industry and we believe the Crane Operator Rodeos provide a meaningful platform for operators to prove their safety-based competency and skills in the heavy construction industry.”

Webber and HIIG will provide breakfast and lunch to the contestants and crane safety managers in attendance. A portion of the registration fees collected will be donated to Society of Samaritans, a local Christian-based charity that provides food, clothing, and emergency financial assistance to the Magnolia, Texas community.

A month later, operators competing at the Nov. 22 Regional Qualifying event in Corpus Christi, Texas will do so on a pink Link-Belt RTC-8030 rough-terrain crane owned by B-C Equipment Sales, which is co-hosting the event with Laguna Crane Services.  Local celebrities Don Gay, eight-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider and Stephanie Revels, Miss Rodeo Texas 2013, will attend the event.

Since 2011, B-C Equipment has supported various breast cancer organizations with revenues generated by rentals of its Pink Crane. In all, the company has donated more than $25,000. B-C Equipment and Laguna Crane have selected MD Anderson Breast Cancer Center to receive proceeds from the operator registration fees collected at the event. “There is always a demand for experienced operators, and this is a fun way to bring attention to what they do, while giving back to charity. MD Anderson is a cutting edge research center. With it being in such close proximity to Corpus Christi, we know that people in our community benefit from the work done there. We are excited to be able to make a difference,” said Bill Lathrop, owner of B-C Equipment Sales.

Jerry Lopez, owner of Laguna Crane Service, Aransas Pass, Texas, and an authorized CIC practical examiner and member of the CIC Advisory Board, will serve as a judge for the event. CIC is the only accredited certification provider that offers certification testing in Spanish, which is what interested him in the program. Laguna Crane offers operator training, crane inspection, and parts and service to companies in Texas and surrounding states as well as in Mexico.

In addition to the celebrities from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, B-C Equipment and Laguna Crane Services have invited Link-Belt and Shuttlelift to display equipment, and students from a local trade school have been invited. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.



Operators from the Southeast will also have a chance to compete in November when Crane Institute of America, the Florida Crane Owners Council (FCOC), and M&P Specialty Insurance return as hosts for the second year in a row. The organizations will co-host an open house in Sanford, Fla., at the training headquarters of Crane Institute, on Nov. 9.

“The Crane & Rigging Hot Line & CIC Crane Operator Rodeos are a great way to showcase the ability and talent required to operate cranes,” said Jim Headley, president and director of Crane Institute of America. “But talented operators don’t get that way by random chance. It takes quality training and experience, and a team of trained professionals working together, to achieve safe crane operation,” said Headley.

The open house will include a barbeque lunch, displays from crane and rigging products vendors, and children’s activities at an indoor craft and game center. Local government officials, labor union representatives, and technical school students have also been invited. Crane Institute and FCOC will donate a portion of the registration fees to the Salvation Army for the benefit of the Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts to children whose parents are incarcerated.

As authorized CIC practical examiners, Headley and another trainer from Crane Institute of America will serve as judges for the competition. The cranes will be provided by Crane Rental Corp., and Kelly Tractor, which are members of FCOC.

For more than 25 years, Crane Institute of America has offered training, certification and qualification programs for operators, inspectors, managers, trainers and riggers and signalpersons. At the forefront of crane and rigging training, Crane Institute of America’s customers include major public utilities, railroads and airlines, the U.S. government, manufacturers, and numerous contractors and crane and rigging companies. The Florida Crane Owners’ Council was formed to address the issues and concerns of Florida crane owners and associated industries, in a unified effort to develop and monitor laws, regulations and standards for the safe and efficient future of the crane industry in the state of Florida.  M&P Specialty Insurance, West Columbia, S.C., provides insurance and risk management services for the crane, rigging, steel and heavy hauling industries.


Las Vegas

Finally, the first two days of ConExpo-Con/Agg, March 4-5, 2014, will be open as a Regional Qualifying event for operators who are registered attendees of the show. Liebherr, the official crane sponsor, will provide an LTF1045-3.1 all-terrain crane for the competition. The 49.6-ton crane is equipped with 118 feet of main boom. Operators must pre-register for the Regional Qualifying event, which occurs in Booth 2975 in the Gold Lot. A portion of the registration fee will be donated to the AEM Education Foundation. The Championship between the top two finishers from each Regional Qualifying Rodeo will take place March 6-7. Attendees of ConExpo-Con/Agg are invited to watch and cheer on your favorite operator.


Lift & Access is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.