Annie Tooley

James Lawson

Heavy equipment operator

My journey into the construction industry began at the age of 15 when my mom helped me land my first job as a framer with a construction company. ⁣

Over the years, I've found myself in and out of the industry.⁣

At 22, I gained experience building and remodeling docks and seawalls on Lake Oconee. In 2018, I decided to try operating and enrolled in the Level 1 Operator course at Heavy Equipment Colleges of America. ⁣

There, I got training on various pieces of equipment, along with other grading and safety education. The most valuable thing I gained from those three weeks was the seat time.⁣

About six months later, I joined a company where I experienced quite a culture shock. Although I spent most of my time compacting the fill area with an 815, I encountered my fair share of drama. My supervisor was extremely impatient with me and wasn't willing to teach me about the grading process. ⁣

In my next job, I got my first chance as a pipe layer and gained more experience operating equipment like wheel loaders, water trucks, backhoes, finish dozers, and scrapers.⁣

I was one of only two American-born crew members on an all-Mexican crew. Despite the language barrier, I learned from the English-speaking crew members. ⁣

Over the next few years, I worked for C.A. Murren, Double P. Grading, North Perimeter Contractors, and eventually Strack, where I am today. ⁣

No company is perfect, but Strack is DAMN close. The upper management has more integrity than any of my previous employers, and I've received more training and opportunities here than at any other company on my resume. If possible, I'd like to remain here for the rest of my career.⁣

In the six years that I've been in the industry, I've learned much about myself and others. My experiences on job sites have changed me for better and for worse, but I don't want to be anywhere else! ⁣

I appreciate BuildWitt and Dirt World for taking the time to catch a glimpse of my life and career. Sharing this with the Dirt World has been such a pleasure.


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