Robert Kesselring has been named the 2022 AEMP Technician of the Year.
Kesselring is a technician for Branch Civil, based in Roanoke, Virginia. He was named the winner at the Association of Equipment Management Professionals' Shift Conference on October 27 in Cincinnati. John Deere sponsors the annual award.
“He’s our rapid response guy,” said Chris Caldwell, who nominated Kesselring and is an equipment field maintenance and logistics superintendent at Branch Civil. “He's the person that we call when no one else can figure it out.”
Kesselring will drive hundreds of miles at the drop of a wrench to fix equipment, saving the company many thousands of dollars by getting it back running in the field, Caldwell said. He has numerous certifications and even writes code.
“He works safely,” Caldwell said. “He looks out for others, and he’s just a pleasure to work with every day.”
Kesselring, 43, came to Branch Civil after working for a heavy construction equipment dealership. He also has experience as a GM technician. He got his start in the field working on his car in high school because he couldn’t afford to pay someone else to keep it running. He has an associate degree in automotive technology from Trident Technical College in Charleston, South Carolina. He has been at Branch Civil for about two years.
Colleagues described him as a hard worker, always willing to pitch in to fix equipment.
“He’ll work through breaks. He’ll skip his lunch,” said Devere Owens, Branch Civil equipment service technician. “He's dedicated.”
“He excels in diagnostics and electrical problem solving,” said shop foreman Keith Boley. “Robert is the type of person who will jump in anywhere in our company on any job, traveling hours if we need him to go to one of our jobs to diagnose an issue.”
Brandon Rondeau, John Deere customer support manager, presented the award. Deere has sponsored the AEMP Foundation award for the past 33 years.
“The Technician of the Year Award was brought about to recognize heavy equipment industry’s best technicians, but also to raise awareness to the critical technician shortage that we know we all have in the industry today,” he said.
“…Each year, we highlight the technician who best demonstrates innovation, safety, technological progressiveness, leadership and other intangible traits that come along with being the very best in the heavy equipment industry.”
As this year’s winner, Kesselring received free airfare and two nights’ lodging at the AEMP Equipment Shift Conference. He will also receive a free trip to Deere headquarters in Moline, Illinois, for a second awards ceremony as well as tours of the company’s factories. The award also comes with free one-year membership to AEMP, enrollment in its Equipment Manager Specialist certificate program and exam, as well national recognition by Equipment World and Equipment Manager.
“Thank you for the opportunity to keep working every day and keep improving myself and improving my skills,” Kesselring said in accepting the award. “It's fun to grow.”