Final Take: Hot-rod headhunters

A shortage of dealer service technicians has led Caterpillar to use a different approach to attract the technicians they need – drag racing. Teaming up with David Powers Motorsports and the National Hot Rod Association, Cat will sponsor a dragster for the 2008 racing season, giving the company an opportunity to tap into an environment flush with mechanically-skilled candidates.

“The races provide a venue for our dealers to meet one-on-one with these drag racing and engine enthusiasts – who are also prospective employees,” says Bill Mayo, vice president of Caterpillar’s North American Commercial Division. The partnership mirrors pilot programs already in place with dealers Mustang Cat, Fabick Cat, Wagner Cat, Peterson Cat and Ransome Cat. Most recently, the dragster featured the MacAllister Cat logo at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

David Powers, owner, DPM, says the drag racing events have already produced leads for potential candidates. “We will help Cat and its dealers find these much needed service technicians,” he says.
– Amy Materson

Snow plow operators dodge obstacles in “Roadeo”
For baseball players it’s the World Series. For football, the Super Bowl. And for snow plow operators, the Motor Grader Roadeo is where it all goes down.

“More than 50 operators got to strut their stuff, maneuvering equipment around the obstacle course,” says Kurt Pease, territory sales manager for John Deere. The company partnered with local Deere dealer Honnen Equipment to provide machines for the event, held September 25 at the Western Snow and Ice Conference in Estes Park, Colorado.

Dale Frey of Summit County Road and Bridge in Colorado took home first place. “Between his skilled operating and his fantastic effort on the written and diagnostic tests, Frey garnered the highest point total of every operator that competed,” Pease says. Second place went to Vic Schroeder, also of Summit County Road and Bridge. John Hoppe Pierce of County Public Works in Washington took home third, and Spencer Esch, representing the town of Breckenridge, Colorado, placed fourth.

For more than 15 years, John Deere and Honnen Equipment have sponsored the conference, which attracts between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees.
– Lauren Barrera

Word for Word
“I don’t know how they can explain it. They had to cut somewhere, and Minnesota chose to cut money out of the bridge program.”
– U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Obestar to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune about the state of Minnesota passing up more than $60 million in federal aid for substandard bridges since 2003.

“[It’s] still, in my opinion, a little bit futuristic. Fatigue sensors [are] very, very new. I would definitely agree with [MnDOT] that it’s somewhat experimental.”
– Finn Hubbard, Wisconsin’s state bridge engineer, commenting to the Minneapolis – St. Paul, Star-Tribune about Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s decision to experiment with bridge fatigue sensors, a move the State of Minnesota decided against.

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
– Vince Lombardi, head coach Green Bay Packers, 1958-1967.