The equipment roadeos that employees participate in throughout the year are opportunities to show off their skills and showcase their finesse with the machinery used every day as a Department of Public Works Heavy Equipment Operator. Kevin White and Jesse “Allen” Wedman will represent the city of Chattanooga’s Department of Public Works and the Tennessee Chapter of APWA at the APWA National Equipment Roadeo later this month. Mr. White and Mr. Wedman have successfully competed in two previous equipment roadeos to earn their place in the national competition.
The Department is hosting a practice session for Mr. White and Mr. Wedman Friday at 8 a.m. They will be practicing the three events they will compete in at the equipment roadeo. The public is invited to watch the practices at 1175 Park Ave. behind the Paul Clark Building on 11th Street.
In the November 2017 TCAPWA Conference Equipment Roadeo, Mr. White took second place overall and first place in the skidsteer competition. Mr. Wedman took third place overall, first place in the backhoe competition, and second place in the gradall competition. They competed against 94 operators from 12 other cities and towns across the state of Tennessee. During this year’s Public Works Week, Mr. White took first place in the backhoe competition and second place in the skidsteer competition. Mr. Wedman took first place in the skidsteer competition, first place in the telescopic excavator competition, second place in the backhoe competition, and third place in the wheel loader competition.
Mr. White and Mr. Wedman are quiet and humble; you won’t hear any “hooting and hollering” from them during practice or competition. As far as the upcoming equipment roadeo goes, they agreed that, “Working together to take home the overall group award means more than only one of us leaving with a win.” They plan to listen, watch, concentrate and remain calm during the three events at the upcoming equipment roadeo; mini-excavator, backhoe, and skidsteer.
Mr. White and Mr. Wedman will compete on Aug. 28 against the most highly skilled equipment operators from across the country.
Equipment operators make running these machines look easy, however, they are powerful and deceptively difficult to maneuver. “Competitions, like the equipment roadeos, provide an opportunity to showcase and celebrate our employees who deliver valuable services to our community," said Justin Holland, administrator of the Department of Public Works. "It takes a highly skilled individual to operate heavy machinery in an efficient and effective manner and the Department of Public Works has some of the best."
Mr. White has served Chattanooga for over 21 years and Mr. Wedman has five years in the Department of Public Works.