Students Get to See the World from Behind the Wheel of a 797

Students in Cat 797

On August 16, the Fort McKay facility became the grooming grounds for a whole generation of future technicians and mechanics. Actua campers took a facility tour of the Fort McKay facility as part of a week-long STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp in Fort McMurray. “It was an incredible experience for the kids and for our team here,” said Jud Overton, branch manager. “And a first for the oil sands -- we have never had a group that young visit Fort McKay.” The group of 26 kids varying in age from grade one to grade six students, got the opportunity to tour the facility and get behind the wheel of a 797B truck, a 6015 excavator and a 24M motor grader to get an operator’s perspective. “I was amazed at their level of interest in the industry and the technology on the machines,” said Jud, “They were really excited about seeing everything and were totally engaged. I was surrounded by a frenzy of youngsters waist-high, firing questions at me.”

The first-hand experience allowed the students to connect the dots and understand how our industry is connected to STEM. “I was impressed with the caliber of questions and just how interested they were the science behind how everything worked and in the industry itself,” said Jud.

During lunch the students got to hear from Chad Slee, director, mining product support and Wayne Martin, finance director, mining, on their career aspirations, education and how they got to where they are today. “Chad talked about all the places he has travelled for his career, his education and how it led him to his job with Finning, working for the largest Caterpillar® dealer in the world,” said Jud. “Wayne talked about always loving numbers, his education in finance, starting out managing the finances for a furniture store and his job today as director of finance. Both presentations were on a level the students could understand and stressed the importance of continued education and going after your dreams.”

As for whether or not we have inspired the next generation of technicians? “I couldn’t believe their enthusiasm and how many times I got asked about how they could get a job here,” says Jud. “It was a great experience. The entire team supported the effort of keeping the kids safe and everyone from the technicians, welders and the parts team got involved. We loved having the kids here.”

A special thanks to the entire Fort McKay team for making the day such a special one for the campers.

For more information on our partnership with Actua and our investment in STEM education click here.