Change in Your Pocket

Walter "Rick" Ricker

We seldom look for the possibility of a valuable wheat penny in our pocket - the oldies are the goodies. There's extra value in the old-timers. Take the time to look, acknowledge and value their rarity. They may hold a much bigger value then you think.

A veteran paving operator is like the Susan B. Anthony Dollar in our pocket. Even though it holds the highest coin value, it sometimes gets confused for a quarter. If we take the time to look closely we will appreciate the value of this magnificent coin and utilize its full value. Although the SBA retired in 1999, its value remains constant.

The veteran operator, like the wheat penny, has years of experience with a hidden value; the ability to share his knowledge, experience and know-how. A paving operator's career evolves as does the industry itself. His or her experience unfolds as technology continues to advance. When a new operator is introduced to the paving process, it is imperative to pass on the experience through on-going training. The Sacagawea Dollar is the newbie born in 2000. It co-exists with its predecessors the SBA and the dollar bill because it can't do the job on its own. Utilizing veteran operators to train new operators is much more cost effective then repairing a job or doing it over because of mistakes. Train them right, well, and thoroughly. Use the hidden value in your retiring veterans and pass the expertise along.

In the past 15 years, the paving industry has gone through many changes through road design, mix design, night paving, automation, tighter tolerances, and advancement in equipment. Pavers and rollers have modified to meet all these changes. What seem to have been overlooked are the people who operate the equipment. Change in your pocket is a good thing. Change in technology is a good thing. If you don't know how to use it to its highest capacity, what good is change? Don't mistake the SBA for a quarter and don't blame the equipment unless the operator is properly trained.

These coins in your pocket add up to a pretty good chunk of change. Spend them wisely and the return can be ten fold.