The 2022/2023 Global Operator Challenge (GOC) is the second time that Caterpillar has hosted the event globally. More than 10,000 machine operators from around the world applied to compete in this competition. Seventy-five Cat dealers from 35 countries held preliminary events qualifying operators for regional semi-finals.
In the end, these global dealers hosted 3,500 operators for the initial phase of the competition. Of the 3,500 that competed in their local dealer events, 84 operators progressed to one of four regional semi-finals held in Spain, the US, Brazil and Japan.
Having beaten the competition in Cat dealer events in their respective home countries, 13 contestants from five Asia Pacific countries (India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines and Australia) battled it out once again at the Global Operator Challenge Asia Pacific Regional Finals. It took place on 19-20 October 2022 at the Chichibu D-Tech Centre in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.
This year, to make the competition even more challenging and robust, Caterpillar has added the requirement that every event must feature three different challenges on three separate pieces of equipment. This means operators must master a broad assortment of machines in order to qualify for the next round. Participants are scored based on their skills, efficiency, safety as well as their competence in using integrated technology to enhance the machine’s performance.
The Asia Pacific Finals in Japan saw over 200 people in attendance, including customers, dealers, media and Caterpillar personnel. After two days of intensive competition on the 320 Next Gen with 2D, the 950M Z medium wheel loader and the 303 CR Next Generation mini excavator, the contestants proved their mettle and stood up to the challenges that tested their operational agility, mental toughness and skills in using integrated technologies to enhance machine performance.
“We are privileged to bear witness to some highly skilled manoeuvres, keen precision and intense focus during the challenges. It’s an eye-opening experience to see how well our Cat machines can perform in the hands of experts,” said John Fallows, Caterpillar’s vice president of sales and marketing, Global Construction Industries, Asia Pacific. “The best machine without an operator cannot do much, but in the hands of a skilled operator, it can build wonders.”
“This competition celebrates the operators, the people who come to work every day to build a better world in their communities under unbelievably difficult and challenging environments,” added Toby Matthieu, Caterpillar’s industry manager of sales and marketing, Building Construction Industries, Asia Pacific. “Their skills are needed more than ever today and we hope this competition can go a long way in helping tackle the talent shortage of skilled operators around the world.”
Carl Thomsen, Caterpillar’s senior product demonstrator instructor, who was at Chichibu to judge and score the Asia Pacific Finals, shared his thoughts on what he saw during the competition. “I had the privilege of assessing operators from Southeast Asia, Australia and Japan in the Global Operator Challenge Asia Pacific Regional Finals. The competitive spirit of the operators was very apparent,” he said.
“With so much at stake, the contestants showed their determination to win by taking the challenges very seriously. All I can say is, look out Las Vegas, because we are sending three very determined professional operators your way!”
The winners for the Global Operator Challenge Asia Pacific Regional Finals are: Masato Imai from Tanaka Industry, representing Sangyo NCD Japan; Patrick Doheny from CRE Group, representing William Adams Australia; and Nick Thompson from Modcon Civil, representing Cavpower Australia.
These three winners will have the chance to represent Asia Pacific against six other competitors from around the world at the 2023 Global Operator Championship Finals in Las Vegas, the US, to be held during Conexpo-Con/Agg in March.