This is an interesting on a day in the life of Cody, a heavy machine operator on the grounds crew of the sprawling grassy knolls on campus of UCSC in Santa Cruz, CA. He was showing off their new remote controlled flail mower, which helps maintain and contain brush on the large grassy hills of campus. Cody describes his job and his career journey in the following interview.
Tell us about this awesome robot mower machine?
This is our new flail mower, it's remote controlled up to 660 meters, which is further than I can effectively use it. It's a slope mower, so it's made primarily so we don't have to put somebody up there (on the steep slopes where mower rolling is a risk). It works on small brush and grass. It does not like rocks, which is one of the reasons I end up walking alongside it a lot, but I'm not having to, Balance of weed eater. We also use it in conjunction with the weed eater and the tractor mower. Tractors don't fit underneath the tree branches. With a weed eater you would have to maneuver underneath it. So the flail mower is nice to have.
What is your, your actual role and what got you interested in this groundskeeping career path?
I work for at UCSC on the grounds department. I work for the heavy equipment and infrastructure services crew, so the field mowing, all the open spaces, that's part of the heavy equipment crew.
What are the best and the worst parts of your job as a grounds crew team member?
You're working outside, which is the best and the worst part. I prefer that over sitting at a desk. During the summer when you are fixing pot holes, you're out on the black top and that's all you're doing, it's just hot and miserable. But other days like today nice, a little breezy, throw a hat and beanie on and jacket, you're fine.
Any suggestions for kids in high school who are interested in working outdoors and getting onto a grounds crew team?
You gotta start somewhere. And for most of us, you gotta start at the bottom. Your mopping floors in the beginning, and then you get a little experience working on whatever machine, and then build that.
Did you have a mentor or anything going through your career journey?
I started out with my dad. Him and I did a lot of heavy equipment growing up. I had one guy, who primarily did chainsaw work, take me under his wing. So I've had a few mentors. Opportunities just kind of come up if you're a likable person. That's where I got lucky.
What are your aspirations career wise?
Right now, I like where I'm at. I enjoy the work I'm doing. The scenery is beautiful. In the future. I'd like to get onto another crew, probably the tree crew, get a little experience there and then that kinda sets me up in the future for supervisor position
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