Interview with a New Crane Operator

The demand for skilled workers in the crane industry has never been higher. Tadano was a sponsor for the Lift & Move USA event in Houston, where this message was communicated to the 650+ young people that attended the event. One such attendee was Christina Piraino, an operator for Imperial Crane Services. Since she was hired in August of 2015 Piraino has had the opportunity to operate the GR-150XL almost exclusively. In the following interview we discussed her experiences so far.

TAC: How did you get your initial training to become a crane operator?

CP: I did my training at the  IUOE Local 450 in Dayton, TX. I’m now in my second year of a three year apprenticeship. For my certification we did the hands-on portion on-site, with written portions completed at a computer based testing site.

Crane Operator Interview Christina

TAC: Where were you assigned for your first job?

CP: I am on a new construction project building a chemical plant for Enterprise Products in Mont Belvieu. I work in the iron department helping to erect steel on the structure.

TAC: What has your first job as a crane operator been like so far?

CP: It has been very interesting, particularly since I was the only female operator on the job for the first five months. Some of the people I work with were welcoming, while others have been dismissive. I found the older operators to be helpful when I first started. They let me ask lots of questions.

TAC: Have you run any other cranes besides the Tadano on this job site? If so, have you noticed any big differences between competitive models?

CP: I was originally assigned to a carry deck crane but we had issues with leakage. The GR-150XL I operate now has never had any break-downs or maintenance issues.

During my apprenticeship I used a number of different cranes, including lattice booms and tower cranes. The Tadano is the smoothest crane I have used yet.

TAC: Are there any particular Tadano features that make your job safer or easier?

CP: The smoothness of the GR-150XL helps make delicate lifts safer. Obviously I use the AML-C a lot, and I found the system to be easy to use with an intuitive layout. I like that it shows pictures of the crane during operation so I know exactly what I’m looking at.

TAC: What would you say the start-up time was for this crane?

CP: Comfort with a new crane goes in stages. I spent a lot of time looking at the operators manual, and I had to learn what the different error codes meant. I would say that after a month I felt really confident with what I was doing.

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Categories: Case Studies, Rough Terrain

7 Responses to “Interview with a New Crane Operator”

  1. Jojo

    You go girl I’m a Tower crane operator in England and it hasn’t been easy coming into a mans world but the future includes women in construction every kniock back had made me more determined to succeed ! X

  2. Joshua

    Thank you for representing Local 450! We are proud to have new apprenticed representing is through manufacturers and on the job site!

  3. Roy Watson

    Christina is a good operator and a Great person to work with we need more people in this field like her. Our local 450 apprenticeship is a great program and offers a good career for people looking to get into the field of operating engineers. -Roy-

  4. Carlos

    GOOD JOB CHRISTINA it was nice meeting and working with you keep up the good work
    ~Carlos~

  5. Trapper

    I’m a first year apprentice I’ve in the 450 and this was awesome to read. Good to see that people can start breaking out early!

  6. Jason Debler

    Christina keep up the great work. Makes instructors proud to see their students excelling. Remember we can give you all the materials and instruction one can handle,but it takes a determined wanting to learn person to put it all together. To succeed as you have and continue to grow as an operator I’ve heard nothing but praise about you. IUOE Local 450 Proud– Jason D

  7. Charles Moore

    Proud to see that more female ate getting in to the seat of cranes for years we have looked at females as not skilled in this type of work but for 17 Years I have had a different opinion because of my daughter I seen different so welcome to the world of the best and most highly skilled work force in the world be safe and keep me hooked sincerely Charles moore

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