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N.C. Equipment Operator Moves to Next Round of Cat Global Challenge

Thu September 29, 2022 - Southeast Edition #20
CEG


Carolina Cat recently served as host of a unique competition among area machine operators.

To determine the best operator in the region, along with two runners-up, the full-service dealership was the site of the first round of the 2022/2023 Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge on Sept. 13-14 at Carolina Cat's main location at 9000 Statesville Rd, on the Queen City's north side.

The first-place winner was Alfonso Fajardo, an operator with Spartan Site Services in Gastonia, N.C. Placing second and third, respectively, were Joseph Wainwright of Charlotte's Blythe Construction and Shaun Lackey of Shaun Lackey Excavating in Hiddenite, N.C.

Fajardo will now advance to the regional semifinal round in Raleigh in October. Following that, a total of nine finalists from around the world will compete in the finals at the ConExpo-Con/AGG event in Las Vegas in March 2023. The competition's overall champion will be awarded an all-expenses-paid trip for two to one of Caterpillar's facilities worldwide.

The Global Operator Challenge is designed to test the skills and precision of equipment operators by proving their excellence in operating Cat machinery along with their ability to master any piece of heavy equipment safely and efficiently.

Approximately 100 operators competed in the contest to display their prowess in running three different machines through a trio of timed challenges to advance to the next round, Carolina Cat's Mark Kincer said during the event.

"For one, we have a Cat compact tractor loader that they must run on an obstacle course, which means staying inside the cones that are set up, going through some elevation changes, and earning bonus points by maneuvering around other obstacles," he said.

Following that, the competitors each climbed aboard a Cat 330 hydraulic excavator to show their deft touch and the equipment's dexterity by removing tennis balls set at different heights, as well as using one of its bucket's teeth, painted white, to flick balls from atop a construction cone.

Finally, Kincer noted, the last challenge involved driving a Cat wheel loader equipped with a load-sensing scale that tells the operator how much weight is in the bucket at any one time. The task was to move 10 tons of stone from one pit to another in the quickest time.

During the awards ceremony afterwards, Carolina Cat also recognized each individual event winner, including Wainwright and Lackey, with commemorative plaques for their efforts. CEG

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(L-R): Julio Vargas of Carolina Cat goes over the Cat 249D3 compact track loader with Jacob and Jay Ervin, both of F.J. Ervin Construction in Mooresville, N.C.
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The Cat 330 excavator features a new cab that is focused on operator comfort and productivity. The contestant uses the bucket to scoop up balls without tipping over the cones.
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Contestants found the Cat 249D3 easy to maneuver through the obstacle course.
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Carolina Cat also offers JLG products for its customers.
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(L-R): Terry Studstill and Aaron and Richard Halko, all of Apex Excavating in Jamestown, N.C., check out the Cat D4 LGP machine.
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Carolina Cat also had a food truck on hand to provide everyone lunch. (L-R) are Davis and Lauren Lee, both of Central Carolina Hardscape & Drainage, and Josh Downs of Carolina Cat.
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(L-R) are Tony Pennington and Rusty Like, both of Carolina Cat; and Mike Naylor and Eddie Rollings, both of Hoopaugh Grading Company in Charlotte.
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The operator challenge included loading and dumping a precise amount of material using the Cat 938M wheel loader.
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Aaron Adams (L) of Carolina Cat goes over the Cat dozer in the mobile operator training center with Herminio Garcia of Spartan Site Services in Charlotte.
(CEG photo)




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