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Otago excavator operator named national champ

Otago excavator operator named national champ

Civil Contractors NZ

18 March 2018

Otago man Troy Calteaux was named last night as the country’s best excavator operator after an extremely intense two-day competition.

Troy, of Milton, proved his advanced skills in all aspects of excavator operation during the Civil Contractors New Zealand (CCNZ) National Excavator Operator Competition held at the Central Districts Field Days in Feilding.

He was presented with the ‘CablePrice NZ Number One Excavator’ award at the CCNZ industry ceremony held last night after competing in tricky tasks such as using his excavator to peel a watermelon and paint a number.

Troy has been with Balclutha-based Andrew Haulage for eight years and manages the forestry roading for Rayonier in the Otago region. He works alongside his father, Colin, and brother Kieran.This was only his second time in this hotly contested competition.

Competition manager Tricia Logan said Troy was an outstanding operator as the field was particularly strong this year and it was an extremely tight finish between the top winners.

"All the competitors demonstrated a very high level of skill, knowledge and excellence and are at the very top of their game."

Second place went to Jim Beamsley of the Manawatu region, who also received the Humes ‘Good Bastard’ award for having the right attitude, while third place went to defending 2017 and 2016 champion Steve Galbraith of Hawkes Bay. The ‘One Day Job award went to Dan Mepham, also of the Hawkes Bay.

The 11 participants were assessed by several judges during four sections:

Main course – competitors completed 12 to 15 activities in 60 minutes using 12-tonne Hitachi excavators, including the watermelon task, and a series of excavation exercises;
Emergency scenario – contestants had to respond to a realistic emergency situation involving first-aid skills and emergency response;
The ‘CablePrice Mini Digger’ event – competitors were judged on how well they briefed and related to young children to operate a 1.7 tonne Hitachi mini excavator.
‘One Day Job’ event – competitors had to build loading ramp using a 5-tonne machine after first scoping, designing and pricing the job. The task is equivalent to a full day task but must be completed in just 60 minutes.

The competition was organised by the Manawatu Branch of Civil Contractors NZ and other major event sponsors include CablePrice Hitachi, Connexis, Humes, Hirepool, Z, First Gas, Contractor Magazine, Doherty Couplers and Attachments, beforeUdig, Attach2 Equipment and Earthworm.

It aims to raise the profile of a growing industry that is increasingly embracing new technology. The construction and maintenance industry carries out $12 billion of work annually, employing 60,000 workers including excavator operators.


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