“I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, even as a little kid. At that age, most people want to be firemen, policemen, doctors, or lawyers. I wanted to run equipment.”
For Travis, there was never any doubt that he wanted to work in the dirt world, and he’s done exactly that for his whole life.
He grew up in Indiana, the son of a retail worker and a laborer. He also spent his fair share of time on farms, where he developed his love for big iron.
“I’ve been operating ever since I was about six years old. When I was that young, obviously I wasn’t very good. I was just running farm equipment and stuff like that every chance I got.”
When it came time to get a job, he got his start right out of high school as a foreman for a local landscaping company, before joining the union as an operator.
“School wasn’t for me. I knew I wouldn’t do well in college. Operating pays well, and it’s mainly hand-eye coordination, plus a little bit of knowledge.”
In addition to operating equipment, Travis has been a foreman, a project manager, and a superintendent over the years. Today, he works as a production manager for Turner Mining Group.
“I was employee number six with Turner. I’ve been with them since the company started. I bounce around a lot. I cover the whole region of Northern California right now. Before this, I was in Michigan for three months. I travel, and I get to see the world for free.”
Travis doesn’t have anything that he would call a regret, but he does have some ideas for things he could have done better along the way.
“If I could go back in time, I probably would have paid a bit more attention in high school, instead of focusing so much on sports, and thinking I was going to be a badass football player. If you want to keep growing in this industry, you have to have a little bit of sense, and some general knowledge ― even just high school stuff, like English and math. You need things like that to be able to go higher up in this industry. You need a little more smarts.”
As for advice for starting out?
“I wouldn’t say it’s all about mining. For example, you can go into the electrician field and get an apprenticeship for free. There’s all kinds of apprenticeships out there. The biggest thing is that you need to work smarter, not harder. Other than that, I would tell them to wake up and piss, because the world’s on fire. Get off your ass and on your feet. Let’s go! Let’s make some money!”Back to all stories