Caterpillar launches global heavy equipment operators challenge

heavy equipment operators Caterpillar

Think you’re one of the better heavy equipment operators to grace the cab? Caterpillar is offering you the chance to prove it.

At bauma, Caterpillar announced its first Global Operator Challenge. The multi-stage event will see heavy equipment operators test their skills to see who deserves to be called the “best” in the business.

“The reason we’re doing this is the real heroes of construction equipment are the operators,” said Fred Istas, vice president of Caterpillar’s earth-moving division.

“The more we can have the operator and the machine work well together, the more likely we will be able to help our customers be successful.”

The operator challenge will see various levels of competition, starting at the dealer level. From there, the winners will head to regional semifinal contests, which will be held in the United States, Spain, Brazil and Japan, beginning in October.

The prize

The regional semifinals winners will then head to the finals at ConExpo in March of 2020. The heavy equipment operators that are crowned champion wins an all-expenses paid trip to any Caterpillar facility of their choice.

In each stage, heavy equipment operators will be tested on their agility, mental toughness and versatility via precision and time-based trials.

As well, operators will be tested on their competence in using machine enhancing technology, such as Cat Production Measurement and Cat GRADE systems.

“The challenge tests operators to demonstrate their skills and ability to leverage technology, while keeping an eye on time and also safety,” Istas said.  

The machines

Through six challenges, heavy equipment operators will demonstrate their skill set using a Cat 972M wheel loader; a Cat 323 Next Gen hydraulic excavator; a 299D2 skid steer; a MH3022 material handler; a 301.7D mini excavator; and a D6T XE dozer.

“This competition will highlight the Cat Next Generation machines that are transforming job sites by increasing productivity to new levels, providing a new experience of comfort and ease of operation through technology,” said Jessica Nunley, Global Marketing Innovations manager for Caterpillar Global Construction and Infrastructure division.

“We hope the Global Operator Challenge will attract more individuals to join our industry.”

The Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge will be the biggest contest of its type, following the company’s success with the European “New Range-New Rules” competition held last year in Spain. At that event, 18 heavy equipment operators from 10 countries competed in the final round, with German operator Sebastian Behr willing the top prize.

“It’s one more way we’re rewriting the rules,” Istas said. For more information on the competition, visit