On a rainy Tuesday morning in Graham, North Carolina, USA, close to 300 high school and vocational school students turned out for the third installment of Lift & Move USA, a careers event directed at introducing the crane, rigging and specialized transport sector to young people.
Hosted by Buckner Companies on May 17, the event included short and informative presentations, videos, tours, crane demonstrations, a simulator and a small tabletop mini-tradeshow.
“You will have the opportunity today to see firsthand what we do as a company and what we do as an industry,” said Doug Williams, CEO of the Buckner Companies in his welcome address to students and teachers. “From my point of view the real focus today is your group, 300 Millennials, a generation that will be larger and potentially more influential than the highly touted Baby Boomer generation.”
Williams went on to say that Millennials, if properly engaged, are known to think differently, be energetic and committed to making a difference.
“You all want to do something that matters, something that is more than the bottom line,” said Williams. “You will see today that our industry makes a difference.”
Lift & Move USA is jointly organized by SC&RA, KHL Group and NCCCO. Each event is hosted by an SC&RA member company, with Buckner taking the lead role for the third Lift and Move.
Delegates heard speakers from several companies, including ALL Erection and Crane Rental, Edwards Moving & Rigging, Southern Industrial Constructors and Buckner Companies, explain the career opportunities in the US crane, rigging and specialized transportation industry.
Among the highlights of the day was a tour of Buckner Companies and its crane yard, which had several models of cranes available for students to climb on and check out. Tours were given of Buckner’s impressive corporate office, which was built using crane parts and components as well as recycled flooring and steel from a University of North Carolina sports coliseum on which Buckner has provide steel erection and crane work several times through the years.
The event featured rotating stations allowing students to stay on the move all morning.
“There is a significant worker shortage in the crane and specialized transport industry and the timing is great for you,” said Chris Newton, human resources director for Southern Industrial Constructions. “Wages and benefits will continue to increase as companies compete for your skills and abilities.”
He said the industry offers a great opportunity for upward mobility.
“I am in charge of Human Resources for our company and I started out as an equipment mechanic,” Newton said. “Our executive vice president started out as a rigger. The general manager of our Wilmington area location was a crane operator.”
The day wrapped up with a barbecue lunch for all the students and participants. Gold sponsors were ALL Erection and Crane Rental, Southern Crane/Southern Industrial; silver sponsors were Southway Crane & Rigging. The lunch sponsor was Buchanan Hauling and Rigging, refreshments were sponsored by Mazzella Companies, and the Lanyard sponsor was Guy M. Turner Inc.
The next Lift & Move event is scheduled for November 2, 2016 at Bragg Companies in Long Beach, California.