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09-18-2008, 08:37 PM #1
Dozers, Backhoes, Graders, logging trucks, snowcats etc
My fire career is ending.
I want badly to learn to operate this stuff for my living. I'm having dreams about heading down a dirt road in a peterbilt with a huge load of giant logs. Dreams of cutting fireline in a D7 cat...dreams of grooming at night while it dumps.
I think this is my next calling.
Can anyone here provide some advice as to how to go about that? It seems like there are no, like zero, entry level jobs with these things. Like you have to know somebody or be bringing a few years of experience to the table to have access to these jobs.
I'm hoping somebody on here has some kind of beta for me.
09-18-2008, 08:47 PM #2
Message Dhelihiker; he does demolition, and knows all about that shits...
09-18-2008, 09:01 PM #3
I can maybe get ya set up, as long as you don't mind moving to Montana. Most the loggers these days are fighting fire anyway, more money in it during fire season. However, you have year round work, real logging doesn't start until snow flies and the ground freezes up anyway.backcountry makes my wee wee tingle...
"What was once a mighty river. Now a ghost." Edward Abbey
"Feeling good is good enough."
09-18-2008, 09:05 PM #4Funky but chic
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- Left Field
P McPoser was looking for people to run heavy equipment in a mine in CO and said experience wasn't necessary.
09-18-2008, 09:47 PM #5
What about skidders?
If you are interested in moving to Maine, let me know and I can pass on a few contacts. From what I seen, it's more who you know than what.Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.
09-18-2008, 10:07 PM #6
I have worked with and know just about every single excavation company owner in Grand, Summit and Eagle counties in Colorado. Can get you a job anywhere here if you'd like to move to the darkside.
09-18-2008, 11:33 PM #7
thanks, the gears are turning over here. trust me, this is all very intriguing.
09-19-2008, 05:56 AM #8
I've operated one of these bad boys before in a job while going to school. I must say there's something about operating something that has the ability to take down a house with one pass.
Have you looked into the mining industry yet? I know around here (UP) there are several entry level jobs at CCI for equipment operators.
09-19-2008, 09:21 AM #9
Momma don't let your baby grow up to be an operator
Im a journeyman operator that crawled out of the machines and luckily into a cush office job. I personally get bored silly with running equipment and so will you, but anyhow.
If you really want to be an operator i.e. Run deafening load diesel engines and shook to hell all day.
Here is a few good points.
Right to work states: Colo, Idaho, Montana etc- you will make peanuts
Good states: As a skier- Washington, you will get laid off every winter and collect $600 a week in unemployment. I got many 100+ day years in thanks to that.
California is also rad but no lay offs and shitty unemployment benefits- Union Scale $35 an hour
You want to join a union in a state with a high pay scale and a strong union presence. Im not a huge fan of the Union, But I will retire someday and I have great benefits.
there are three distinct methods to becoming an operator:
1. A union apprentice program
2. Get a job as a laborer and work your way onto a machine
3. Lie, get a job, get fired and repeat until you get good enough not to get fired (very common method)
I did all 3
BTW- stay away from logging- no $$$. You want pipelines, highway work, grading, excavation, demolition
09-19-2008, 09:46 AM #10"When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
"THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
ski on in eternal peace
09-19-2008, 10:46 AM #11
I agree straight across the board with Dhelihiker. I am a project manager with a heavy highway/utilitiy company in Maine. I have a civil engineering degree, but also worked in the field up through the ranks since I was 15 years old.
The olnly thing that I would add, is check with local (state level) lobbying or trade associations such as AGC (Associated General Contractors). Here in Maine, we have an incredibly small union presence, so a combination of like minded agencies here have developed a training program/school to train operators. Member contractors donate equipment and pits or quarries for people to get experience actually operating equipment. There are also simulators for training available.
The downfall with this approach is the real world application of the operating skills is often missed. I can pull the levers and make any piece of equipment run, but keeping a pipeline on grade or grading a 1% cross slope are an entirely different matter.
I think the best way to go is hire on as a laborer with a non union shop if possible and pay attention and be a hard worker. Before you know it, someone will put you on a roller. Then someone will put you on a front end loader and it just kind of takes off from there.
One last thing, at least in this part of the country, fewer people are even interested in this work, making it hard to find people. That being said, interest, followed very closely by good work ethic, willingness to learn and a positive attitude should get you pretty far.
Last edited by H-man; 09-19-2008 at 10:49 AM.Fresh Tracks are the ultimate graffitti.
Set forth the pattern to succeed.
Friends of Tuckerman Ravine
09-19-2008, 06:02 PM #12
didn't mcposer just have a post where he was looking for peeps to run machinery......if nothing else a good place to start.
I ran groomers for a few years and i would think that would be easy to slide into....if you start in snowmaking or main't or something. Cats of various flavor are necessary for both of those endeavors. Even if not initially driving, sooner or later you ultimately will? Not sure why but it always seems to work that way.
09-19-2008, 09:48 PM #13
I work out of the Operating Engineers. I am a surveyor, grade checker. I read Mcposers post and that is a good way to get started. Get some experience gain some confidence than make some union connections. A CDL with a tanker endorsment is pretty handy for opening doors. Look towards AK. if a gas line is built it will be union and a good oppurtunity to get in.. Also up here construction season ends when ski season starts. Haven't worked a winter in over 20 years. Might want to learn a little about GPS it is making construction much easier. So easy I spent the day driving a 735 rock truck.
Last edited by BFD; 09-19-2008 at 09:50 PM.off your knees Louie
09-19-2008, 09:51 PM #14
GPS is sort of integral to fire aviation. and being a union worker driving trucks in alaska with the winter off ...that's sort of the "point B" of my entire life's path I think.
09-19-2008, 11:21 PM #15
The fed isn't a bad place to be running equipment, less $ but stable, safer job environment. Don't any of the districts you worked with fire have eng. departments? Many of the operators I work with for the FS are beyond retirement age- so getting new blood in is beginning to look necessary.
Start as WG-5, then 8-10 perm...
09-19-2008, 11:29 PM #16
If I see an opening on USAjobs I'll apply for it. I have a feeling they'll want somebody with experience.
09-19-2008, 11:35 PM #17
Dozer - rough on the body, though you would probably be on a truck in an open pit mine environment to start with.
Backhoe - takes skill/experience to be a good operator, mainly owner/operator's from my experience.
Logging Truck - again, mainly owner/operator and with fuel going up ????
Snow Cat - probably easier to get a job if you have a hill contact/connection but the pay isn't great, but you do get to ski every morning. No night life."A lack of planning and preparation on your part does not make it an emergency on my part."
10-13-2008, 06:19 PM #18
I have something interesting going on right now....
I just spent a bunch of time last night putting together a resume for Rygaard Logging out of Port Angeles WA where I just spent the last few weeks hanging with my best old friend, meeting an awesome woman, and trying to figure out if I want to live there or not...I'm kind of undecided because I like the area a lot but the skiing is sub par and there is no hockey.
I heard back today from that company, they're hiring people, they're going to be featured on the next season of Axe Men...they wanted a resume with pictures, so I sent them that. They wanted to talk to me in person tomorrow, but I'm here in Utah. I basically told them I could get up there to talk but it's a 15 hour drive and about $500 to get there and back and I need to have an idea what they want from me and what they'd pay. I'm a bit scrambled over this...what do you guys think? I kind of decided that I would like to live in PA, and that I really like this woman up there, and that I would like to get there, get settled and work my ass off to get into driving logging trucks or running heavy equipment and ski on the weekend. I hear the ski team there needs a coach, that town needs a rink and somebody to be the guy that creates a hockey town from scratch. I mean...shit. My mind is sort of going a hundred miles an hour here. any thoughts you guys?
FWIW, I also applied to the Operating Engineers Local apprenticeship program here. I think that's also a good fit, and my understanding of it is that it pays well. I wouldn't need to move, and I'd come out of the apprenticeship as a journey level certified equipment operator. I don't know man, when I was up in the olympic peninsula I'd see all these log trucks and think "I want to do that job, I was made for that job...". I found a place for sale up there that was built for me, a huge metal building in the woods 15 minutes from town with every kind of electricity, a nice welding setup and a plasma cutter :drool: and a nice living quarters all set up to go. It's a loggers mancave, I met the guy that built it for himself...
so what's it worth to ski everyday on good skiing? I think that with the OE I could maybe take some time off over the winter once I was established and I'd be in Salt Lake with lots of good hockey around and my house.
Ack. I don't know what to do dudes...
10-13-2008, 06:26 PM #19
Go for it brother
You always got a place to crash at here.
The pm I sent ya go through hard for me to tell as fucked up as the servers been."When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
"THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
ski on in eternal peace
10-13-2008, 11:02 PM #20
Two nights ago we were talking about coaching. And building a rink. And now this? This is too good!
The fire life will always be waiting for you to come back if you want it and you know it. You don't want to be waiting on a heli contract next summer running a squad of regs wondering what might have been. Things are lined up in a way that you could never have even hoped for so I say give it a shot. SLC, BCC, LCC- they aren't going anywhere either.
Get up there, get the girl, coach skiing, and start a hockey program! And also run some heavy equipment.
EDIT- Also J, I know you hate the idea of giving up good skiing to go to PA, but with the lingering injury in your leg how hard do you think you would be able to ski day in and day out this winter? (I fucking hate having to say this, but I think it warrants consideration) Maybe things are lined up to give this a shot. Yeah, I think you should give it a shot.
Again, the life you have is going to be there if you want to come back to it. The girl, the opportunity in PA for work and to coach skiing and start a hockey program and have your man cave- that might not be there next year.
Last edited by Kevo; 10-13-2008 at 11:10 PM.
10-13-2008, 11:07 PM #21
Missed this yesterday...
A lucky man has more than one good choice.
Will need naked pics of the girl to help more than that, sorry.If some of the best times of my life were skiing the UP in -40 wind chill with nothing but jeans, cotton long johns and a wine flask to keep warm while sleeping in the back of my dad's van... does that make me old school?
"REHAB SAVAGE, REHAB!!!"
02-05-2009, 05:25 PM #22
so I did the aptitude testing for the OE program today. I think it went OK. I was afloat in a writhing sea of white trash.
02-06-2009, 06:23 AM #23
bad ass brutha, a smart guy like you should be able to get after it.
02-06-2009, 08:27 AM #24yelgatgab
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- Shadynasty's Jazz Club
Damn, I was kinda looking forward to seeing you on Axe Men.
"Oh that guy, nah he's not nearly as mean as he looks"Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.
02-06-2009, 01:59 PM #25