July 11, 2022

Hinds CC partners for logging training, research

“I was happy to have the opportunity to work with NAU and hope to partner with them in the future, said Wayne Withers, Hinds Logging Equipment Operator instructor. “This collaboration…
BY: Cathy Hayden

Photography: BRAD SMITH

Above: Participating in recently logging equipment training at Hinds Community College were, from left, Adam Moore, Erin Burk, Tony Petrauski, LaQuinton Wall, Dennis Daniels and instructor Wayne Withers. The training was held near the Raymond Campus

The Logging Equipment Operator Academy at Hinds Community College recently partnered with Northern Arizona University to provide short-term training opportunities and research for stakeholders involved in the forestry industry.

Two groups participated in two separate training sessions using the John Deere simulator and skidder loaned to Hinds by Stribling Equipment.

“I was happy to have the opportunity to work with NAU and hope to partner with them in the future, said Wayne Withers, Hinds Logging Equipment Operator instructor. “This collaboration has giving me new ideas for future classes.”

Wayne Withers, Hinds Logging Equipment Operator Instructor, points out parts of the logging equipment to trainee LaQuinton Wall.

The program is a collaboration between Withers, David Livingston, Executive Director of the Mississippi Loggers Association, along with Northern Arizona University’s Dr. Han-Sup Han, Professor and Director of Forest Operations and Biomass Utilization at Northern Arizona University, and graduate research assistant Erin Burk.

“The training was helpful for learning the capabilities of the equipment for management and to meet silviculture prescriptions,” said Adam Moore, Forester at USDA Forest Service. “I have a better idea of the challenges the operator has when implementing the prescription within our timber sales contracts. I really enjoyed the instruction and operating hours on the skidder.”

Tony Petrauki, Forestry Tech on the Forest Service’s Strike Team, also participated in the training. “This was a very unique training opportunity, and I’m thrilled to get behind the joysticks of some forestry equipment,” he said. “Since I lay out harvest units, this training has been a great learning experience to get in the seat of some logging equipment and see from the perspective of a logger.”

Dr. Han is applying for a grant from the Economic Development Administration to start a Forest Operations Training Program at Northern Arizona University to train new equipment operators, log truck drivers and diesel mechanics, along with doing new research in forest operations. NAU is working to address the lack of logging workforce in the Southwest United States.

Above: The grant project is a collaboration between Northern Arizona Univeristy, the Mississippi Loggers Association and Hinds Community College. From left are Northern Arizona University’s Dr. Han-Sup Han, Professor and Director of Forest Operations and Biomass Utilization at Northern Arizona University, graduate research assistant Erin Burk; David Livingston, Executive Director of the Mississippi Loggers Association, and Wayne Withers, Hinds Logging Equipment Operator instructor.

Burk has been hired to do research that will help in developing this program in Arizona. She has chosen to do a study on the effectiveness of training new operators on simulators as compared to training them on the real machine. This study will provide insight into how effective these new simulators are in helping forestry operators to learn the skills they will need on the job, while allowing NAU to gain experience developing a curriculum for the logging equipment operator track.

“Han and I really enjoyed working with Wayne Withers and David Livingston in Raymond,” Burk said. “They showed us active logging operations and gave us the opportunity to see some new equipment that has inspired new ideas for research and implementation of operations in Arizona. We learned a lot from them about the Logging Equipment Operator program at Hinds. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with them in efforts to expand the logging workforce across the country.”

Hinds Community College’s Logging Equipment Operator Academy is funded by a $1.3 million Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant by the U.S. Department of Labor and Delta Regional Authority.