Mitch Mclntyre – a 23-year-old Local 49 member from Cresco, Iowa – has been soaking up as much knowledge as he can at the Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Center during the off-season. So much so that he enrolled in the Training Center’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) class on a Monday and passed the CDL test – obtaining his CDL – on that Friday.
Mclntyre explained that while it was his first time driving a commercial sized vehicle, he picked up the lessons very quickly.
“It’s a lot of information in four days, and it wasn’t easy,” Mclntyre said. “ But Randy Parker (CDL Instructor at the Training Center) is a good guy and a great instructor so I give my hats off to him for teaching me the way he did.”
Mclntyre also noted that he received a 100% score on the pre-trip portion of the CDL test. The pre-trip portion of the test is designed to test your ability to check a variety of commercial vehicle safety equipment and vehicle components. This portion happens before you take the driving component of the test.
“I was told it was the best score on a pre-trip that they (Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicle Services) have seen in a long time, so I was pretty proud of that,” he said.
Mclntyre currently works for Rochester Sand and Gravel, and has only been a member of Local 49 since November 2016, but says he has learned so much through his employer and by attending classes at the Training Center.
“So far at the Training Center I’ve taken the stakes and grades class, small equipment class, OSHA 30, and I also did the asphalt and paving class,” Mclntyre said.
Mclntyre is also active in Local 49 and encourages younger members to attend their local monthly union meeting.
“For those that don’t go, you should because there is a lot more information that you probably don’t know about including your benefits,” Mclntyre explained. “Some of the benefits and other things are changing so you have to keep up on that stuff.”
Even thought Mclntyre is fairly new to the industry he is enjoying his time and encourages other younger people make this career choice.
“It can be long hours, but the money is great, and you don’t only get free training you also get really great health benefits,” Mclntyre explained. “And you know your business agent is there to help you, so there’s a lot of great opportunities with the 49ers.”
Mclntyre’s final advice to those looking to get in the heavy equipment industry is getting into an apprenticeship program.
“Get in an apprenticeship program like the 49ers, you don’t have to go to college to earn a good living, there’s a lot of great opportunities with Local 49,” he said.
For more stories like Mitch’s visit www.local49training.org.