National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Services, NAHETS Blog

Archive for August, 2007

Oklahoma College of Construction Announces New Facilities Open House

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 31, 2007

OCC Logo


Oklahoma City, OK–August 24, 2007–On October 12 of this year, The Oklahoma College of Construction (OCC) will be hosting an open house of their brand new classroom, office, and field site facilities in Oklahoma City. OCC’s recent growth has been the driving force behind the relocation to the new, expanded facility.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn who the OCC is and what it does for its students and also for the construction industry hiring graduates. Instructors will be talking about the different training levels and programs available at the OCC, as well as providing an overview of the construction education that the OCC offers. The field site will be open for tours and visitors will be able to see and learn first-hand about different kinds of heavy equipment including: backhoes, skid steers, bulldozers, motor graders, and excavators. The OCC Industry Relations Director, Wade Vackulick, will also be available to meet with contractors, vendors, and suppliers in order to talk more in detail about OCC construction industry services.

Industry contractors, vendors, suppliers, and state agency workers are expected to attend. In addition to potential students, staff members from various branches of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) are expected to attend as well. The public is invited and cameras are encouraged.

Jerry McGinnis, Campus President With regards to the grand opening, OCC Campus President, Jerry McGinnis, said “The open house will really give everyone a chance to see who we are and learn what our mission is-to provide heavy equipment, crane, and construction equipment training that will empower individuals to launch a life changing career within the construction industry.”

The Oklahoma College of Construction was started in August of 2005. It is one of five member schools of The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS). In its short lifetime, the OCC developed the first CCO training program in the NAHETS association, and is affiliated with four state chapters of the AGC, The Specialized Carriers and Riggers Association (SCRA), the OK Municipal Contractors Association, and various state agencies. The OCC provides heavy equipment training, education, and certification, as well as job placement assistance, for heavy equipment operators across the country.


Contact Information:

Jerry McGinnis-President of the Oklahoma College of Construction
280 Quadrum Drive Building C
Oklahoma City, OK 73108
405-491-4400 (phone) (email) (website)

Posted in *Press/Media, Education & Training, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, industry news, Standards & Safety | 1 Comment »

Simulators In Use at National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools

Posted by nahetsblog on August 27, 2007

Paul Freedman, President of Simlog, visited the headquarters for NAHETS, the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools, on Monday April 23, 2007. Freedman was awarded an associate membership in NAHETS and was presented with a plaque from NAHETS president, Matt Klabacka.

To see this video on “simulators” please visit

Freedman granted an interview regarding the significance of simulators in the training of heavy equipment operators.

Nahets Simulator Heavy Equipment Training School Simulator NAHETS logo

According to Freedman, simulators are an essential element in the quality offered by heavy equipment training schools. “Simulators can never replace seat time; however, they do allow an individual the opportunity to enhance their skills”

Simlog was founded in 1999 to commercialize training simulation technology developed at CRIM, one of Canada’s leading research institutes in information technologies.

The Simlog website states:

Today, Simlog is a very special simulator company, for these three reasons:

1. Simlog has a unique product focus: Simlog is pioneering a brand new kind of simulator product called Personal Simulator which leverages the power of your PC to finally provide truly cost-effective training help for heavy equipment operators. Tangible recognition has come in the form of several innovation awards:
* Canadian Construction Association in 2006 for our Hydraulic Excavator Personal Simulator
* Construction Innovation Forum in 2004 for our Mobile Crane Personal Simulator

2. Simlog has a unique business focus: heavy equipment operator training in the crane and construction industries, forestry, and mining. We do nothing else. Practically, this means that you can count on Simlog for more and more simulator-based help to address your heavy equipment operator training needs!

3. Simlog has a unique instructional focus: because we are working in multiple heavy equipment industries, we’ve gained special insights into operator training challenges and instructional design for training simulation. Indeed, every Personal Simulator is developed in collaboration with leading equipment manufacturers, their distributors, owner/operators, and training professionals.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Education & Training, heavy equipment, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, Home, simulators | 4 Comments »

Beavers v. Backhoes

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 20, 2007

Over the last few weeks, Bessemer City, NC has been the battlegrounds for beavers and backhoes. The two have been fighting over the water supply for the city.

A Backhoe-Man's Machine

A Beaver-Nature's Machine

The first strike came from the beavers during the week of April 5-11, who dammed up Mills Creek, which helps feed the city’s water supply. Shortly after a city backhoe came and destroyed the dam. The beavers rebuilt it again, and the backhoe destroyed it again…

Although this would seem like a lopsided confrontation, the beavers put up a fight unexpected by all. Instead of retreating, the beavers marched, or swam, to the main water supply at Long Creek. There they built a dam once again. When they were discovered, the backhoe came again and wreaked havoc on the dam, but once again the beavers rebuilt.

Spectators may be amused by the continued perseverance of the beavers, but city officials express that the matter is having a significant impact on the city. Because of a water shortage, people are already on water restrictions, and now the beavers are compounding the problem. In 2002, Long Creek almost dried up, and the city had to purchase water from its neighbors at Kings Mountain. The city may have to do this again if they cannot stop the beaver dilemma. Bessemer City is not allowed to hire trappers to solve the beaver problem, because beavers can only be trapped on city grounds. Also, relocation is expected to not solve the problem, but only move it elsewhere.

Despite the potential water supply problems the city faces, city and industry leaders give credit to the beavers for their persistence and dam-building skills. Bessemer City interim manager, Allan Ferris, has said about the matter: “They’ve done an excellent job…The Army Corps of Engineers couldn’t have built a better dam.” Also, Matt Klabacka, president of the National Association of Heavy Equipment Schools (NAHETS), was amazed with the beavers’ backhoe rivalry. In response to the article he said “maybe we should hire some beavers at our member schools.”

So, for the time being, the game of cat and mouse (oops, beaver and backhoe), continues. The beavers are relentless so far, and the backhoe as well. Who will prevail-nature’s machine, or man’s machine?

…And for those of you who think a beaver dam is an easy take down…

A Beaver Dam

…Wikipedia reports that the largest beaver dam built was 2,140 feet long, 14 feet high, and 23 feet thick. In other words, this dam would tower over the one above.

For news coverage see:

Beaver v. Bulldozer 1

Beaver v. Bulldozer 2

Posted in *Press/Media, accidents, Amazing Stories, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, industry news | 1 Comment »

NAHETS Announces Release of the Yellow Metal Boot Camp-Heavy Equipment Field Training Manual

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 15, 2007

Las Vegas — August 14, 2007 — Today the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS) announced immediate distribution of its new Yellow Metal™ Boot Camp Heavy Equipment Field Training Manual (version-1), enabling its member schools to further use the skills-based field curriculum in their training services. The manual will enhance and make more effective the heavy equipment training and education provided by NAHETS member heavy equipment schools.

NAHETS requires its member schools to use the Prentice Hall Contren Learning Series program from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Yellow Metal Boot Camp integrates with the NCCER heavy equipment skills tasks which are taught in the field. The full color, 440 page phone-book size volume features original illustrations packaged in a customized, foil embossed cover.

Yellow Metal Boot Camp Training Material

NAHETS also announced that the manual has a companion website for students. The site features several hours of training videos that compliment the components of the equipment training tasks, referred to as “drills.” This program presents the original task-based curriculum, as well as graphically rich multimedia. Equipment training videos can be also downloaded onto an iPod, watched on-line via, or played from a DVD. This NAHETS product is taught in conjunction with the basic NCCER curriculum.


Chris Cannon-Director of Curriculum Development

NAHETS director of curriculum development, Chris Cannon said, “We have been working on this field training program for several years. Matt Klabacka, executive director for NAHETS, Marty Guy, chief heavy equipment instructor, and Jeff Belknap, training director at the Nevada School of Construction, recognized the need for a more organized, task-oriented field training system to supplement the NCCER curriculum in our schools. This program covers everything from safety, blueprints, and grade work, all the way through each piece of heavy equipment we teach at the schools including: skid steer loaders, tractors, backhoes, dump trucks, water trucks, compactors, loaders, forklifts, bulldozers, scrapers, excavators, and motor graders.”


Klabacka took this concept to the University of Las Vegas Center for Work Force Development, where Professor Dr. Clifford R. McClain helped organize, validate, and refine it. From there the NAHETS curriculum development department consulted with experts in the field and then authored a supplementary training curriculum. Then they partnered with the NAHETS media department and Yellow Metal TV, headed by Rhett Nielson, producer and artist who came up with the original packaging, display, and marketing concept. In addition, NAHETS also engaged Ryan Bankhead, 3-D animation specialist and illustrator, and video editors and cameramen Trevon Angulo, David Taylor, and Sam Teilman, to create the Yellow Metal Boot Camp product that NAHETS has today.


The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools ( is recognized as the national leader in the entry level heavy equipment operator training field. It has member schools located coast to coast across the country. The association schools offer a wide range of training and services designed to empower people in their quest to join the ranks of the highly sought after construction trades, specializing in heavy equipment operation from backhoes and bulldozers to rough terrain hydraulic cranes.




Posted in *Press/Media, crane operator, dump truck operator, Education & Training, excavator operator, fork lift operator, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, industry news, motor grader operator, Standards & Safety, wheel loader operator | 3 Comments »

Nevada School of Construction Hosts NCCCO Workshop

Posted by nahetsblog on August 9, 2007

From the NCCCO News Center:

August 2007 – The largest CCO Practical Examiner Accreditation workshop ever held by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) was hosted May 22-24 by the Nevada School of Construction (NSOC) in Las Vegas, NV.

A total of 30 candidates from 17 states attended the mobile crane workshop, which included first time student examiners, as well as refresher and re-accrediting examiners.

As sponsor of this event, NSOC provided the location, cranes and meals for the 3- day workshop. “Crane operators are in high demand,” said Debra Forbush, NSOC Campus President. “One national company has hired about 15 of our graduates and one of the largest national mining companies is also a client.”

NSOC, a member of the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS), has been operating in Las Vegas for the past three years preparing students for jobs in heavy construction, including crane operation. The school boasts over 250 years of collective experience among the instructors, and claims a national reputation for graduating operators in the construction industry.

Forbush said the crane operator training program had been a positive addition for the school and its students. “We stress safety, safety, safety!” she says, and claims safety and attitude are the two contributors to success—a belief reflected in a sign on her office wall which states, “Attitude is everything; pick a good one!”

Since January this year, Nevada has required crane operators to be certified. CCO certification is a part of the NSOC graduation requirements. Forbush noted that, with the new legislation in effect, emphasis on becoming certified had intensified. “Employers use our school as a resource to locate new talent, and our graduates use our school as a springboard to find employment nationwide,” stated Ms. Forbush.

The NSOC facility comprises a training site as well as classroom space. For hands-on training, NSOC has a Link Belt RTC-8030 mobile crane on site in addition to other heavy construction equipment. A small telescopic crane (boom truck) was rented for the Workshop so the students would have an opportunity to meet the small telescopic hydraulic crane type requirement.

Feedback from the NCCCO Workshop had been very positive, Forbush said, and she noted that she has already had several inquiries from potential examiner candidates for a repeat event.

The expanding Las Vegas skyline is currently dotted with a veritable forest of booms and jibs representing multiple crane types, working on the latest construction projects.

Forbush said NSOC was a good choice for the Workshop, since Las Vegas will clearly need more certified crane operators as growth continues and the demand for crane operators rises. “People stop on the freeway and take pictures of our city because of the unique construction scenes,” she noted.

Posted in *Press/Media, Admissions & Recruitment, crane, crane operator, Education & Training, heavy equipment, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, Home, industry news, NCCCO | Leave a Comment »

Flying the Flag For NAHETS

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 3, 2007

As of June 2005, Wade Vakulick was an Instructor for the Oklahoma College of Construction (OCC) . In August of the same year, he was appointed Chief Instructor. A year later…he was in Iraq.

In July of 2006, Wade was contacted by his Air National Guard unit. They notified him that he was to be involuntarily activated to assist in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom. He was in Iraq for 6 months.

Wade-Construction Equipment Operator in IraqWade’s duty in Iraq was construction equipment operator, as well as project superintendent of the U.S. Army Iraqi Theater of Operations construction projects on COB Speicher. Before his deployment in Iraq Wade was activated in October of 2006, spent four weeks at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin to do combat training, and then was deployed to Kuwait.

It was difficult for Wade to be away from his home and family for those 6 months, as it is for all who serve overseas. He also was concerned about what would happen with this job while he was gone. When he learned that he would be able to have his job at the OCC when he returned, he wanted to do something special for NAHETS to show appreciation for its support of him being in Iraq. In all sincerity he said:

“I wanted to bring something back for NAHETS from Iraq that would truly be an honor to hang on the wall, not just the normal little trinkets that one can purchase at the Base Exchange. I am truly grateful for Matt and the others at NAHETS for understanding my situation and as a result, NAHETS helped to contribute to the freedom and security of the United States of America and the Iraqi people.”

Wade in Iraq

While Wade was serving on Coalition Operating Base (COB) near Tikrit, Iraq, he was able to purchase an American Flag. He gave this flag to the Apache Attack Helicopter Squadron “Blue Wolves”, 25 Infantry Division Aviation Brigade. The Blue Wolves had the highest kill ratio of any attack helicopter squadron in Iraq. The Blue Wolves were able to fly the flag in an AH-64D Apache helicopter on an actual combat mission over the skies of Iraq especially for NAHETS. Regarding the event Wade said that “This flag is a one of a kind tribute to a one of a kind company. The flag is a thank you for the support that was shown to my family and me by NAHETS during my 8 months away from work.

Flying the Flag For NAHETS medium

Now Wade is back from Iraq and serving as the Business Relations Director for the Oklahoma College of Construction. The OCC is a member college of NAHETS-The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools.

Posted in Amazing Stories, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, industry news | Leave a Comment »

Lift and Access Finds NAHETS.

Posted by Taylor Morris on August 2, 2007

On July 11, 2007 Matt Klabacka, President and Co-Founder of The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS), received an unexpected phone call from Erin Whitehead, the Associate Editor for Lift and Access magazine, requesting information to write an article on NAHETS.

Klabacka, who was very excited about the phone call, was curious to know how Whitehead found NAHETS. In response, she said that Lift and Access frequently does news scanning for the industry, and during that process they found the NAHETS site and blog. She read about the recent opening of the Southern California School of Construction, as well as the NAHETS crane training programs. Curious to know more, Whitehead contacted NAHETS immediately. After some questions and answers, the NAHETS article was published shortly after…

Lift and Access Article on NAHETS

Posted in *Press/Media, crane, crane operator, heavy equipment, heavy equipment operator, heavy equipment schools, heavy equipment training, industry news | Leave a Comment »