“I am an operator, and I know every aspect of what we do,” said Geoff Movold.
Geoff Movold, of Fargo, North Dakota, has been a member of Local 49 for more than 10 years, and has worked as an operator at Northern Improvement for the past 24 years.
During Movold’s 24 years with Northern Improvement, he has operated blades, dozers, excavators, and even has crane-operating experience.
“The opportunities that have been there for me have been huge,” he said. “I know every aspect of what we do and spent many hours to do it, and have that under my belt. I am a true operator,” he added.
Even though Movold says that he may not have worked on “big ticket” projects, every project he has worked on has taught him something.
For Movold, being an operator not only allows him to operate different kinds of pieces of equipment, it also allows him to be creative with his work. “Every project has challenged me to the point where I’ve gained something,” he said.
“Some people get to be creative in certain mediums, I get to work with the earth and get to make some pretty cool things,” he said.
Even though Movold has operated various types of equipment, he says that he is most passionate about operating excavators.
“It’s not just about a loading machine, I’ve done so many projects with it and I’m very passionate about it,” he said.
Movold is so passionate about operating excavators that last year he became an excavator instructor at the Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Center.
“I had an opportunity to either be a heavy equipment instructor at the Training Center or an excavator instructor, so of course I chose the excavator,” he laughed.
Last year was his first year as an instructor, and he is eagerly waiting for this year’s training classes to gear up.
“The coolest thing is how many people do take advantage of the Training Center, and that’s a great sign,” Movold said.
Movold originally took a couple classes at Local 49’s old Training Center previously located in Rosemount, Minnesota, but says the Training Center in Hinckley has transformed.
“There’s a machine for everyone, and the instructors are really there for you,” he said. “The equipment you get to run, use and train with is exactly what you’re going to run in the field so take as many classes as you can.”
Movold said he really encourages younger operators who are just starting their career to be more involved, and take advantage of the Training Center.
“I don’t have anything to compare it with…Local 49 put a hundred percent into that Training Center, and into its own members…that seems unheard of,” he said.
As an instructor, Movold always tells his students’ one piece of advice, “always be prepared for that opportunity.”
“In one week I can’t teach you how to be an expert excavator operator, but when you’re on the job, let’s say as a skid steer operator, and your boss asks you if you can run that excavator to just load a couple of trucks, you can,” Movold said.
“You’ve now just prepared for an opportunity you might not have had, and you succeeded… you never know what’s coming, but if you prepare, those prospects for employability become much greater.”
In addition to being an instructor at the Training Center, Movold said he has been even more involved with Local 49, and says it has been a positive experience.
“Once I got involved I felt like I belonged, once I felt like I belonged it took on something greater than just me,” Movold said. “That has completely changed my perspective…getting involved was sort of a stepping stone.”
Movold also credits his business agent, Nathan Brandt, and all of the instructors at Local 49’s Training Center for getting more involved within the union.
“The more connections I get within the union, the bond gets greater, and you become proactive and become more informed, and aware of things,” Movold said.
Movold encourages younger members to get involved, and to take that first step.
“Get involved, it just takes that first step that you have to take, but whether it’s really small, just take that leap, and make yourself as employable as possible,” Movold said.