Examining New Jersey's Innovation in Infrastructure

Steve Adubato speaks with Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, about innovation in New Jersey, the state’s infrastructure and wind energy job opportunities.

10/26/19 #323






"We welcome Greg Lalevee. Business Manager for International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825. Good to see you Greg. Good to see you. Thanks. A whole bunch of things to talk about. Infrastructure issues. The Gateway Tunnel. The future of the work that you and your colleagues do, and how technology is affecting it. But let's get this out of the way. The last time you were here with us... I'm calling this Greg Lalevee 2.0. [laughter] You look fitter. Thank you. Get it out of the way. Tell folks. I lost 117 pounds. So far. By the way, I heard a gasp in the control room! [laughter] It's... Wow. We'll talk offline about your secret. Or we'll put it on our website. But well done. Thank you. And keep working out and taking care of yourself. In that spirit, the condition of the union movement in this country? Mm hmm. A lot's going on. A lot of questions about it. The federal administration doing what they're doing. Or not. But what you have said to me, and I should make it clear, I've done a significant amount of leadership development for Local 825, and so leadership is what we talk about. You're big on innovation technology, and all of a sudden, there's this educational component to the future of people who are engineers. What does that mean? For the future of people who are going to be operating engineers. Define the difference? Well, for those of us who do the hands-on operating of heavy construction equipment or repair of heavy construction equipment, there is a technology move going on where GPS is moving into machinery. There's artificial intelligence. There's autonomous control. And we're taking a good hard look at how to educate our members in two veins. One, we want to take our existing membership and give them the platform to transition into the technology, and then we want to be able to capture those young people as they're moving through STEM and MIM programs, through their high schools or vo-tech high schools and bring them into the world of operating engineers. But the bottom line Greg, is that... and we've talked about this a lot, and it's important people understand this, the role of Operating Engineers has changed dramatically, largely because of technology and innovation? Always. And over the last hundred years, the Operating Engineers have managed the engines running the equipment, moving from steam to diesel engines. They've managed the change from cable control to hydraulic control. And we're going to manage this change too. And become masters of our craft and understand the technology. One more question before we get to Gateway. Some of the teaching methods use a lot of video and high tech stuff. I don't have any other word to describe it. Describe it. Well, there..."