Last week we talked to some of our management team about general goals and targets for the 2014 year. This week, we talk with a couple of long-time team members who have always been ready, willing and able to step up for whatever jobs need doing.
The first team member we spoke with was Junior Colon, a second-generation employee who is also one of our most versatile. If you can name a job at Pine Island, Junior has done it. “I have targets out here every day,” he says. “Right now, what’s important is getting the sanding done. With the ice out there we’re not sanding, so we’ll try to get a little ahead and screen what we’re excavating. That can be tough. You need to make sure it’s dry or else it will freeze and screening it would be a waste; you can’t use any of it.” The real challenge, he says, is building the platform ahead of him as he goes along. “There’s not a lot of room to maneuver, so I have to make little adjustments to the track direction to make it easier. You get used to it after a while, but there’s a learning curve for digging as well. With the long arm, the weight on the bucket can be tricky, so you have to bring it toward you to keep the machine level.” He especially likes projects like this. “It’s fun! It’s something new. And it helps me get better at what I do.”
Junior’s learning through experience makes him an ideal instructor: one of his other targets this year is training other team members on heavy equipment. “Getting everyone familiar is the ideal,” he says. “We’ve rented another long arm and Ivan [Burgos] is out at Sim Place doing what I’m doing here right now. Some of our other guys have been doing some work on it: Wilfredo, Mickey, Joel. But it’s great to get everyone involved in what we’re doing. If everyone is on the same page, everyone can step up when they need to step up.”
Working with Junior this week is Wilfredo Pagan, who is in this thirty-fifth year with us. His current targets include finishing the sanding and working on the current renovation at 11 Acre and Benny’s. “Even when it’s too cold for the sanding team to be out, we’re out here getting the sand screened so they can use it,” he says. Today, though, while Junior is excavating, Wilfredo is helping the renovation team with some clearing and digging.
“My personal goals are the same as they’ve always been,” he says. “Keep doing what I’m doing and keep getting better at it.” Specifically, he says, this means always being willing to learn new things. “I’ve done a lot while I’ve been here. I run a lot of the heavier equipment, I help with the bog renovations, I put in new flood gates…I always have a lot to learn from Junior. Now I’ve been learning all the ins and outs of the laser leveling. Always something new to pick up.”