St. Albert public works operators win competition
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 05, 2013 06:00 am
When it comes to equipment handling, St. Albert’s public works employees can call themselves number one.
A team of St. Albert employees recently took first place in the team event at the annual Equipment Roadeo held in Red Deer Sept. 12 and 13. The team’s combined points – featuring Jason Eddleston on the grader, Drew Marr on the loader and Ken Strand on the single axle truck – was enough to win. There are also individual events for the skid steer and backhoe. St. Albert emloyees Pat Chell and Clay Swerada competed in the skid steer category and Chell came in first. Matt Rindero and Art Adcock were in the backhoe event and Rindero placed fourth.
Lynn Ness, team lead for operations in the St. Albert public works department, is a judge and a member of the organizing committee for the Equipment Roadeo, which is put on by the Alberta chapter of the American Public Works Association.
“It’s all feel and it’s all touch and it’s very tight work,” Ness said.
This was the 17th annual event, Ness said. Eighteen different municipalities from around Alberta competed in Red Deer. The courses are usually the same from year to year, Ness said, with a few tweaks if something is not working.
Ness described the grader course, which he walked around with each competitor while scoring them. He said it involves weaving through cones, articulating the grader and even putting a basketball through a chute – and Eddleston was the only successful competitor at the task this year.
“A lot of it’s luck to be honest with you, because it’s real tough,” Ness said.
While usually St. Albert employees have a chance to compete with each other to get the honour of going, that didn’t happen this time.
“This year because of workloads and such we didn’t have time to do something in-house,” Ness said. So they sent last year’s team.
Part of the point of going is the chance to network with other public works employees from different municipalities.
“It’s gotten to the point where it’s an event that happens yearly, and we look forward to going down and competing,” Ness said. There’s hopes the event will spread to other western Canadian provinces.
“We’re hoping to make it bigger and possibly across Western Canada,” Ness said.