Empowering Through Education: Laura's Journey as a Heavy Equipment Trainer

picture of our employee next to a machine at the landfill

Name: Laura Perguson Job Title: Heavy Equipment Training Manager Years: 35 years

Laura's journey into heavy equipment training began long before she became an official trainer, mentoring, teaching, and training have been ingrained in her DNA. As she climbed the ranks from RSA Operator, Site Supervisor, to Training Manager, Laura's commitment to her colleagues' growth remained steadfast. She recognized the importance of passing on the knowledge she had gained from her mentors and saw firsthand the positive impact it could have on others. Throughout her career at OC Waste & Recycling, she naturally found joy in helping new operators find their footing.

Q: What sparked your interest in pursuing the role of Heavy Equipment Training Program Manager?

A: I had mentors sharing their knowledge when I was new to operating, so it became a passion of mine to help others too. It’s what we do here at OCWR, we work with our co-workers. We are all teachers here. When this position opened, it would give me the ability to really work closer with our employees. Focusing on helping new and current operators build their skills and confidence. Creating a safer environment and helping all of our employees at a chance to advance in the department/county and to gain their skills where they never would possible be able to achieve elsewhere. The department needed someone to focus on training operators and I thought I would be great at it as it was already what I was doing currently.

Q: What are some good qualities to have as a trainer?

  • Promote positivity
  • Adaptability to different personality
  • Building confidence in the employees
  • Knowledge and technical skills
  • Keeping safety first

Q: When you look back, what's the most important thing you've learned about training others in heavy equipment operation?

A: Safety feels like it’s always the go to answer and it is. But my feelings on that are, “If the safety first is achieved, then skills come later”. Also, big is to build their confidence, before having them operate on the real machines or being assigned to work in the active working areas of the landfill. Another important safety factor is, coming into the training program, it needs to be all about the positivity! This could break a person down if it is not practiced or encouraged, they will not be in a safe mind to operate safely. 

Q: Can you recall a specific achievement or moment in your career that made you realize your passion for guiding others in heavy equipment operation?

A: My passion is operating equipment, manipulating the machine to do what my mind had pictured, seeing the outcome after I was finished with the project was a good feeling of accomplishment. It’s really all my gained experiences throughout my career that has given me the opportunity to do what I am doing today.

Q: Anything you’d like to share for people looking to train others?

A:  Naturally, there is a passion in all of us who operate equipment and to not sit back and watch anyone struggle during their training years. We do not like to see our co-workers struggle and we can help by mentoring and sharing with each other is part of what our team is about. Reach out to those that are new and trying to figure it out. Good communication is key to success. Never forget where you came from, we were new once too. Reach out and be helpful or you can apply for one of the three new training positions recently created for OCWR. Look for the recruitment to come out soon.

Laura's journey is a testament to the profound impact of mentorship and training at OC Waste & Recycling operations. Through her unwavering commitment to safety and education, she has not only shaped the careers of countless operators but also fostered a culture of continuous learning and growth at OC Waste & Recycling.

As she continues to chart new territories in her role as Heavy Equipment Training Program Manager, Laura remains driven by her passion for empowering others and making a lasting difference.