V. Rick Barker, a technician and certified crane inspector for the Tennessee Valley Authority, took home the 2004 Technician of the Year Award presented by the Association of Equipment Management Professionals. The award, sponsored by John Deere Construction Equipment and the AEMP Education Foundation, was "quite overwhelming," according to Barker.
"When you spend as many years as I have doing this sort of thing, to be recognized by a national organization is almost beyond words," he says. "It's really a highlight of all the years I've spent doing this."
Barker started working on equipment in 1972. He joined the TVA 10 years ago. He specializes in cranes and personnel lifts, but also works on earthmovers, trucks, barges and tugboats. He says he loves the variety in his job.
"There's no routine," he says. "It's something different every day."
J. Hunt Cooper, the supervisor who nominated Barker, agreed that he is a valuable and versatile member of the TVA team. His nomination noted, "Barker's responsibilities are extensive: technician, hydraulic and electronics expert, crane inspector, welder, fabricator, accident investigator, shop foreman, trainer, mentor, coach and, once a year, Santa Claus, as he delivers food and toys to the needy."
Richard Furniss, technician with the Las Vegas Valley Water District; and John F. Doyle, of the city of Peoria, Ariz., were finalists for the 2004 Technician of the Year.