Travis Grime

Travis Grime

From serving his country to serving those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas,  Local 49 member Travis Grime shows that his willingness to help people knows no bounds.

Grime grew up in a small farming community in Ohio, and has been around heavy equipment his whole life.

“My mom would be the first to tell you that I was a ‘Tonka Truck’ kid since my earliest memories,” Grime said. In addition to an early love for machinery, he had family ties to the industry. “I had a cousin that was older than me that was an operator and I would say he was my inspiration to become an operator.”

After graduating high school, Grime joined the United States Navy and was enlisted for seven years. Grime felt a true passion for serving, and after the call to action that followed September 11, 2001, he transitioned from the Navy to the Marine Corps.

“I found that the Marines were much more my type of thing… they were considerably more disciplined…and once I found out that they had a heavy equipment program that was it – I was in,” Grime said.

When Grime entered the Marine Corps he was immediately placed in their heavy equipment program. “I remember specifically telling my recruiter that if I couldn’t be a heavy equipment operator in the Marine Corps then I wasn’t going to go, and that’s exactly where he placed me,” Grime said with a laugh.

To further his experience with heavy equipment Grime became a certified Marine Corps heavy equipment operator after attending a two-month long course at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Grime was then deployed to Iraq for nine months, giving him the opportunity to put these skills to work.

“I was doing vehicle recovery in Iraq, and we did a lot of road building and maintenance projects all around our base,” Grime said. “If we ever had to go outside the wire we would call it – or off base – there would be people with mine sweeping equipment that go out beforehand and would determine the best course of action if they encountered any sort of situation.” 

Grime said that his heavy equipment experience in the military definitely set him up for success once he transitioned from active duty.

“As a heavy equipment operator in the military, it aligned me very well with being a union operator,” Grime said. “There’s also a lot of other veterans that I’ve worked with over the years in the field so that brotherhood that I felt when I was in the Marine Corps transferred into the union as well.”

“As a heavy equipment operator in the military, it aligned me very well with being a union operator,” Grime said. “There’s also a lot of other veterans that I’ve worked with over the years in the field so that brotherhood that I felt when I was in the Marine Corps transferred into the union as well.”

When Grime was transitioning from active duty, the oil boom in North Dakota was in full swing. In 2013 he found an advertisement in the newspaper for a heavy equipment operator, and this led him to meet with North Dakota Local 49 Business Agents Al Henke and Darrell Miller to discuss local opportunities. They welcomed him with open arms and helped him get his first job as a Local 49 heavy equipment operator.

“I got to travel all over North Dakota while I was out there,” Grime said. “I started off on a roller and one day there was a scraper guy that wasn’t there and my boss gave me a shot… within a couple days I was keeping up with guys that have been doing it for years.”

In recent years Grime has worked on multiple large projects across Minnesota, including the “Be The Match” building across from Target Field, the new Senate Office Building and the Stillwater Bridge. Grime is a certified crane operator, but also has many years of experience operating different pieces of heavy equipment. He credits his career versatility to training from the Local 49 Training Center.

“I try and attend the Training Center as often as possible for any and all classes that I think will make me more marketable,” Grime said “For example, when crane work is slow maybe I’ll go take an advanced excavator class or the sewer and water class…I’ve spent months up there. My first year I was at the Training Center for three months straight.”

Grime says that being a member of Local 49 and a skilled heavy equipment operator are qualifications that give him a tremendous amount of pride.

“We’re the most highly trained and qualified operators anywhere in the country, and it’s something that I definitely puff my chest out about,” Grime said. “I know there are other great locals out there, but we are known far and wide for being exceptional operators.”

Recently, Grime felt a similar call to action after hearing about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. He knew that he wanted to help, and knew he could use his skills to bring relief to the area. He partnered with Team Rubicon—a non-profit organization that utilizes the skills of military veterans to provide immediate relief to those impacted by disasters and humanitarian crisis—to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“When I went over to Rockport, Texas that was where I saw the absolute devastation…it looked like a third world country going down the highway and seeing thousands of trees that were blown over and homes damaged,” Grime said. “It was the most humbling experience of my life.” 

Grime volunteered in Texas for two weeks after Hurricane Harvey officially hit and says that there are still thousands of people who need help, as the wreckage is still evident.

“That is why I went down there, to help the people that need help the most,” Grime said. “There’s just an overwhelming need for help, but everyone that we encountered were extremely thankful of the support – I would absolutely do this again.”

 

For more stories like Travis’ please visit www.local49.org and for more information on Team Rubicon please visit www.teamrubiconusa.org.