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Ralph Rich has always been fascinated with big iron and thanks to his grandma, he now calls the seat of a Caterpillar 390F excavator his office.
“Both of my parents worked for the state their whole lives. My dad did surveying, and my mom was a project manager. They had office jobs, and they never worked in the field. But when I was a kid, there was a big project going on not far from my house. My grandma would drive me there, and we’d sit in the car off the side of the road and watch the machines every day, all summer long.”
When it came time for Ralph to start his career, there was never any doubt about what he wanted to do. His first experience with excavating came from his time on a farm.
“My first job was working on a farm as a caretaker. It was a horse farm. I mowed all the grass and cut all the fields. They were building a big house on the farm, and there was a guy there to do the excavating work. I helped him out on the side, and that’s how I got into running equipment.”
From there, Ralph was set on getting into big dirt work, but not without some struggle first.
“I like the big dirt work. The bigger the machine, the better for me. Even when I was younger, I could watch other people work, and know that I’m better than them. But just because I was young and inexperienced, I never got a chance on it, which I thought was bullshit. They didn’t really go by your skills. It was all based on seniority, which I don’t think is right.”
After just one month, he decided to look elsewhere. Thanks to having a CDL, another local company gave him the chance he was looking for.
“I had my CDL, so I could drive a truck, but other than that, I didn’t have that much experience. But they threw me in a machine right away. I’m a pretty quick learner. I have a knack for it. I hopped in there and caught on quick.”
Sometimes, Ralph considers moving into a foreman or project manager position, but he’s not convinced that it would be a step up from where he’s at now.
“Some days I think about moving up into management, but right now I have a pretty gravy job. I don’t know if it’s worth the headache. I still wouldn’t rule it out though, that’s for sure.”
Life sounds pretty damn good for Ralph.Back to all stories