Terex Equipment Services Showcases its Highly Skilled Workforce With Inaugural Nationwide Tech Competition

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9/18/2023

“We can have all the cutting-edge technology and equipment in the world, but at the end of the day, we still need people to make it come to life and who know how to work on it.”

That’s how Lacy Walker summed up what remains front-of-mind for her and her employer, AEM member company Terex, as they continue to explore tactics to attract, train and retain technicians to support the construction and utilities industries. And its why Terex recently developed and launched a unique workforce development initiative by hosting a nationwide competition for company service technicians this summer.

“We wanted to give our technicians the opportunity to hone their abilities and showcase the skills they’ve built up over their careers,” said Walker, who works as a talent acquisition manager for Terex Utilities and Terex Equipment Services and is a member of AEM’s Workforce Development Committee. “The Terex Technician Rodeo really served as a way for them to stand up and say, ‘Hey, this is me, this is my career, and this is what I do to make a difference in my industry.’”

Promoting the Technician Career Path

According to a 2020 research report from the Associated Equipment Distributors Foundation, the construction and utilities industries may need to fill roughly 73,000 technician positions by 2025. Terex Equipment Services employs hundreds of technicians working as mobile techs or at any of the company’s 21 service centers around the country, and the company delivers full service on any brand of aerial lift, mobile elevating work platform, digger derrick, crane, telehandler and related equipment. So, it almost goes without saying that finding ways to promote the role of technician as a worthwhile career path is a top priority for the company.

 

Lacy Walker

“The heavy equipment industry and the utilities industry has some of the best people I have ever met in my entire life, Everyone does whatever they can to support you no matter where you’re at in your career or your life. I can really and truly say there’s no better place to be than this industry, and so we have to commit ourselves to coming together and working alongside one another to help advance the talent of tomorrow.” -- Terex's Lacy Walker

 

The company eventually landed on the inaugural Terex Technician Rodeo as an out-of-the-box idea the company could run with to highlight the unique skills required by its technicians to help keep customers’ equipment up and running. Launched early this summer, the initial phase of the competition was based on conducting an annual inspection of a Genie scissor life at several regional Terex Equipment Services locations. According to the company, points were given for the following: time required to complete the task, defects found, proper documentation and following safety protocols.

Four regional winners advanced to the championship round, held at the Terex Utilities headquarters in Watertown, South Dakota. The finalists came from a variety of former backgrounds – working with backhoes, car haulers and concrete mixers, as well as skills in electronics and hydraulics – and their industry experience ranged from six to 31 years.

Crowning an Inaugural Champion

Terex

Jorge Rocha, representing Terex Service Center in Burleson, Texas, came away as the first-place winner of the competition, which called for the contestants to complete an annual inspection challenge on a digger derrick. Doug Shaw, from the company’s Waukesha, Wisconsin, branch finished second, while Monte Stemwedel, representing Terex Service Center in Phoenix, Arizona, placed third. Morgan Harris, a field service technician from Castle Rock, Washington, was the fourth finalist, but he was unable to compete in the championship round.

When all was said and done, the first, second and third-place winners of the Terex Tech Rodeo received cash and other prizes. Kudzu Health+Safety donated $500 to the first-place winner and Cintas Uniform Services donated a $200 yeti cooler to the second-place finisher. In addition, Terex gave cash prizes to all three regional winners who placed, and Rocha will be afforded the opportunity to attend The Utility Expo later this month in Louisville, Kentucky.

Cody Curran, a company training specialist, led the team responsible for organizing and planning the event. The planning team put a lot of time and effort in to ensure the inaugural competition was a success.

“Terex wanted a fun way to help build moral among the team members, give them the opportunity to win amazing prizes, see the state-of-the-art Watertown facility and meet other technicians from across the U.S. The best benefit for the company is getting to showcase our technicians. We have some of the best in the industry!” said Curran.

Working Together to Close the Skills Gap

According to Walker, an enduring lesson of the success of the Terex Technician Rodeo is there’s really no overstating the importance of organizations investing time, effort and resources into connecting with existing and potential employees. Not only does it benefit companies themselves, but it also serves to help build a positive perception of the industry overall.

“From my standpoint, I’m not just looking to hire for Terex,” explained Walker. “I’m also here to tell you about what else is out there in the industry and beyond, as well as convey the success you could have by considering a career in the skilled trades. And my advice to others is to not just be there for your company and your jobs, but also think about what you’re doing for the future of the industry.”

With the technician shortage being what it is today, she continued, it’s also critically important for organizations to collaborate and share best practices to help turn the tide and ensure a bright future for equipment manufacturing and the customers it serves.

“The heavy equipment industry and the utilities industry has some of the best people I have ever met in my entire life,” said Walker. “Everyone does whatever they can to support you no matter where you’re at in your career or your life. I can really and truly say there’s no better place to be than this industry, and so we have to commit ourselves to coming together and working alongside one another to help advance the talent of tomorrow.”

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