Crane Tech is happy to announce that we have a new Derek! No, it’s not a Digger Derrick, but Derek Thomas, our new instructor. Derek comes to us as an 22-year crane operator with 33 years of rigging experience, including 10 years of specialized rigging while serving in the U.S. Army Special Operations division. He holds NCCCO certifications in Lattice Boom Crawler and Swing-Cab Telescopic Boom cranes.
To get to know Derrick better, our marketing manager sat down with him and asked some questions.
What caused you to go into operating as a career?
Growing up in the streets of Philadelphia there were only a few choices. One could take the easy path or one could take the hard path and do something with their life. I chose to join the Army and became a Green Beret. During my time there, I learned the craft of parachute rigging and was introduced to operating a crane. It wasn’t until returning to work as a civilian that I started operating full time.
What was the most interesting thing you’ve ever picked?
When they were building SheiKra at Busch Gardens, in Tampa, I ran the 60-Ton and 220-Ton hydraulic cranes that assembled that coaster.
You also have a back ground in doing lift plans, what is your greatest accomplishment?
It was actually while I was working as a crane operator on the Hillsborough County Crosstown Expressway, at the 21st/22nd Street exits. There was a lift that management was discussing how to get it done. They were looking at bringing in several very large cranes with jibs to get the height and reach necessary to lift over the existing roadway. After looking at all the variables, I suggested a lift plan that included a dual crane lift with two 60-Ton hydraulic-boom cranes that were already on site. With the proper staging of the load we were able to do a pick and carry to get the loads in the right place. With a little ingenuity and looking at the problem from a different perspective I was able to save the company over $80,000.
Why after operating for all these years did you pursue the opportunity to become an instructor?
At this point in my career, you name it I’ve lifted it. I was just starting to think about what I want to do for the next 15 years, when I saw the advertisement for this position at Crane Tech and applied. The rest, as they say, is history. I can’t believe that I am getting an opportunity to try to teach others what it takes to operate and work safely. I’m looking forward to making difference in the lives of others while sharing my passion for safe rigging and operating.
Please join us in welcoming Derek to the Crane Tech family. We are excited for our clients to get to work with him. However before that happens, Derek will be working with our current instructors and management to learn our standards for teaching and what it means to be a Crane Tech instructor. Remember Safety through Education is more than just our motto, it is our guiding principle—and our intensive instructor training process is just one example of how we embed this principle in our organization.