This is the leading edge of the industry.

Posted: November 18, 2016
Last modified: March 21, 2017

Johnnie Marsden III
Heavy Equipment Trainer
Resident of Ruskin

Johnnie Marsden III was providing encouraging instructions to a potential job candidate, who was demonstrating his skills on the front-end loader. “Level your bucket,” Marsden said. “Raise the bucket. Raise it. Now start curling. See the difference?”

He’s operated big machinery on many projects and for SGL, his job is to observe candidates abilities as they operate heavy equipment simulators on test courses. There was no need to pull equipment off the job or worry about the safety of an operator during a simulator assessment.There was no need even to go outside.

The test took place on a simulator inside the SGL Recruitment and Training center in downtown Orlando, where Marsden uses the high-tech setup to assess abilities, teach new skills and reinforce safe practices.

It’s very rare to have job trainers and simulators on a construction project. “This is the leading edge of the industry,” said Marsden, who now works for SGL — the joint venture of Skanska, Granite and Lane. “I love that my position allows me the opportunity to make real change in the way operators view the importance of proper training.”

It’s very rare to have job trainers and simulators on a construction project. “This is the leading-edge of the industry.” said Marsden. “I love that my position allows me the opportunity to make real change in the way operators view the importance of proper training.”

When the applicant completed the simulator test, Marsden read out the stats about total time, percent of shovel loaded, time spent with wheels spinning and several more measurements. They all indicate safety and efficiency. The applicant, who also had served in the U.S. military, seemed disappointed by anything less than perfection. But Marsden said the numbers looked pretty good.

“Confidence, man, confidence,” he said. “If you get called back, come back with confidence.”