With a fleet of approximately 550 vehicles, keeping everything operating smoothly is no small task for McAninch’s 25 full-time maintenance employees. With the arrival of spring, massive pieces of earthmoving equipment were brought of winter hibernation and sent to job sites. We recently sat down with Jason Paulson, vice president of fleet management, and Tyler Smith, field mechanic, to learn what it takes to keep these machines running strong.
It was a long winter, and we know McAninch’s employees were ready to get moving at the job sites. How do you get so much equipment ready for the busy spring season?
Paulson: While we like the spring, summer and fall seasons the best, the winter season is important for our equipment. During the winter, all our equipment comes in the shop for a full Department of Transportation inspection. From the lights to the tires, we make repairs on anything that needs attention. That may involve tightening linkages, dropping the pans, and getting dirt out of cracks and crevices.
All our equipment operates with GPS, so if there is play in any parts on the machines, it can impact accuracy. Our mechanics are dealer-trained on both the electronics and manual operations, so the equipment is tight and capable of running at optimal performance when it hits the ground.
What’s a day or week in the life like for a field mechanic?
Smith: Every day is different, which makes the job interesting. Some problems are complex, which makes it a challenge to solve them. That’s where being part of a great team at McAninch is beneficial.
The warm weather months are the busiest time, and I spend all my days making equipment repairs right out at the job sites. Out in the field, most of the repairs involve hydraulics. In the off-season, we repair equipment cracks and other potential malfunctions to try to heed off repairs in the field. However, with such a large fleet there are always going to be equipment needs. I typically work 55-60 hours, including some Saturdays during our peak season.
What type of training did you receive?
Smith: I’ve worked at McAninch for eight years, and it’s a great company. I started as a welder, ran the equipment for a short time, and have been a field mechanic for three years. Most of the training for this position was right on the job. It’s gratifying to perform a complete engine or transmission overhaul on a machine, and then see it working well in the field. The equipment is the lifeblood of the company, and you know you’ve done your job when things run the way they should, and project deadlines are being met.
How do you make sure the equipment is safe for operators?
Smith: We treat our equipment like how people need to treat their personal vehicles to feel safe while driving and to get the maximum life out of them. We have system checks based on hours. We do routine checks such as oil changes, plus we check seatbelts, air pressure and replace windows and anything else that could impact the operation of the vehicle and safety of the driver. On a job site, you never know what an operator may encounter, and safety is always our top priority.
If you or someone you know is looking for a career with a company who is passionate about its people, puts safety first and provides professional growth opportunities in a team-oriented and highly productive culture, look to McAninch.
Ideal candidates will have a valid driver’s license, are willing to work longer days in good weather and most importantly, have a mindset of safety first. Candidates who are interested in pursuing a career with the leading excavation and grading contractor in Iowa should call (515) 267-2500; complete an application by stopping by our office at 4001 Delaware Avenue, Des Moines; or fill out an online application at www.mcaninchcorp.com.