Equipment Application: Florida Crane Operator Regional Qualifying Event

2013 Crane Operator Skill Competition - Crane Institute of America

During fall 2013, Crane Institute of America, Florida Crane Owners Council, and M&P Specialty Insurance, hosted crane operators and their employers during a Regional Qualifying Event for the Crane Operator Skills Championship, a partnership between Crane Institute Certification and Crane & Rigging Hot Line magazine.

Designed to underscore the need for safe crane operation, which can only be achieved through training and experience, the operators were required to demonstrate their ability to control the load on a course consisting of three challenges.

  1. Lowering the hook into a drum and removing it without knocking the drum over.
  2. Maneuvering a drum through a slalom course, while keeping the drum a pre-determined distance off the ground.
  3. Standing a pipe from horizontal to vertical, maneuvering through a narrow course, then laying it back down to horizontal.

Held at the Sanford, Fla., training headquarters of Crane Institute of America, the operators competed on a Grove TMS 9000E supplied by Crane Rental Corp., Orlando, Fla. The Southeast Regional was one of eight events held across the United States and Canada in 2013.

The two lowest scoring operators advanced to the Championship. Representing the Southeast are Thomas Cunningham of Sims Crane, Orlando, Fla., and Kenneth Bowyer of All Crane Rental, Apopka, Fla. At the Championship, Bowyer won the grand prize, and Cunningham was named second runner-up.

Cunningham has 13 years of experience as a crane operator. He primarily serves as a taxi crane operator of a 200-ton Tadano all-terrain crane. Thriving on the unexpected, Cunningham said of his job: “You never know what you are going to get until you get there. I like all the different lifts that I get to experience, especially in the taxi crane rental side of the business.”

In the 18 years Bowyer has been operating cranes, he has gained experience on a variety of cranes, including all-terrains, rough-terrains, crawlers, and boom trucks.

Florida Crane Owners Council paid for Cunningham’s and Bowyer’s travel expenses to advance to the Championship in Las Vegas. In addition, to the $1000 they each already received from M&P Specialty Insurance, they have a chance at another $2000 and custom leather jacket and belt buckle.