Last October, NAHETS Executive Director, Mike Martens was invited, by Ukrainian businessman Igor Kotovoy, to Kyiv (Kiev), the capital city of Ukraine, to meet with representatives from a cross section of Ukrainian construction materials and road construction companies. In addition he also was offered the opportunity to present the NAHETS OPCAT (OPerator Certification Assessment Test) program to Ukrainian government officials.
As a result of that invitation Mike flew to Kyiv, the capitol of Ukraine, on October 25 and was met by Mr. Kotovoy. After a quick auto and foot tour of Kyiv, (photos 1 & 2) Mike and Igor met with Mr. Karl-Heinz Kasch, Technical Director – Dyckerhoff Ukraine, for a discussion of the state of operator training in their Ukrainian and Russian quarry operations. Mr. Kasch was interested in having Mike visit the Dykerhoff cement operations in Mykolayiv during his visit to Ukraine.
For the final event on Saturday Mike, Igor and Igor’s fiancé Katya took in the Swan Lake Ballet at the Ukraine State Opera House.
Monday began early with a drive to Mykolayiv and a visit to the Dyckerhoff Cement- South Operation. After meeting with Vladimir Vegerinskiy, General Director, Mike and Igor were given an extensive tour of the quarry operations (photo 3) accompanied by Dimitry Artamonov, Head of Technical Services. Much of the discussion during the tour focused on safety concerns, equipment operational costs and operational efficiencies required to maintain the 1 million ton-per-year production requirement. Mr. Artamonov mentioned that they would be taking delivery of three Caterpillar 385 hydraulic shovels and would need to train the sixteen operators needed to man the three shift mining process.
Approximately 200 km south of Kyiv is the city of Uman. Just outside of Uman the Ukrainian government is adding an eight km stretch of the newly emerging Ukrainian national freeway system. This stretch of roadway is being built by Umanavtodor, a large Ukrainian contractor managed by Ruslan Guba, who is second from the right in photo 4.
When asked about availability of equipment operators, Mr. Guba explained that, due to a lack of vocational training schools, Umanavtodor has an internal training activity but would appreciate a source of well-trained entry-level operators that can then be oriented to the procedures and equipment unique to Umanavtodor.
Igor, and Mr. Guba also discussed the possibility of establishing a contractor’s group organized along the lines of the U.S. AGC or ABC.
Wednesday was the culmination of the Ukrainian trip as Mike and Igor met with Ms. Larysa Losiuk, Head of the State Committee of Ukraine for Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy. Ms. Losiuk, who reports directly to Ukrainian President Victor Yushenko, and her staff were interested in discussing the details of NAHETS’ Operator Certification Assessment Test (OPCAT) as it might be utilized in Ukraine. In addition to examination of OPCAT, Ms. Losiuk and her staff asked for an overview of the NAHETS Yellow Metal Boot Camp (YMBC) training program as Ukraine does not have, at the present time, an adult vocational training program for heavy equipment operators. This was of particular interest as Ukraine is investing heavily in upgrading several thousand kilometers of it’s highway system country-wide and, in particular, a ring road complex around the capital city of Kyiv. At the end of the session Mike presented Ms. Losiuk, and her staff, with a Yellow Metal Boot Camp training guide and an iPod loaded with the YMBC skidsteer video training series. (Photo 5)
The meeting concluded with a request that NAHETS return to Ukraine with the objective of discussing, in more detail, the possibility of assisting the government with a heavy equipment operator vocational training program and with helping to advise the government with developing a Ukranian system of construction equipment operator certification.