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and demanding standards”. There’s not a part of that that doesn’t hold true for today. People want their duties, what is asked of them, to be clear and demanding. They don’t want a manager who waffles on what they want done. Once the job is complete, there should be some positive recognition involved,” he said.


Jonathan surrounded by his hard working equipment management crew


development, paving, demolition and underground utilities. It employs approximately 150 people. Kuentz is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the company’s 150 trucks (light, medium and heavy duty) and its 250-plus pieces of heavy equipment. He oversees the company’s heavy truck drivers and shop personnel to include providing guidance on truck- related rules and regulations to the dispatch office. To keep track of the service and maintenance requirements for the hundreds of trucks and other pieces of equipment under his jurisdiction, Kuentz developed his own Microsoft-Access based program. “All I have to do is plug in the data regarding meter, meter date and the last level of service done, and the program does the rest for me; it provides great reports,” he said.


Kuentz is also responsible for maintaining the technology installed in the company’s various trucks and heavy equipment. “We have heavy equipment using GPS/blade positioning systems and trucks using GPS tracking. We’ll be installing in-cab cameras in the very


22 BEHIND THE WHEEL — Q4 Winter 2016


near future. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like 20 years from now; I’m sure that trucks and heavy equipment will be operated from a remote location, with the operator removed from the unit,” he said.


While the thought of driverless vehicles may be a relief to some companies that are dealing with manpower shortages, Ross Contracting is fortunate that it doesn’t have that problem. “Because we are considered a 100 air-mile radius company, driver retention has not been a challenge,” Kuentz said. “I have to believe that is due to a combination of wage and also non-money motivators, which may be just the positive recognition of individual accomplishments for what he or she has done and not looking at your employees as numbers.”


A fleet maintenance course that he took at Penn State many years ago has helped shape his approach to managing employees. “I remember the instructor saying the following which really hit home; “Produce long and short term results through positive recognition of worker/manager success based on clear


“I know that I need that positive recognition every now and then, and I believe that other people need it, too. It doesn’t always have to be monetary; there are plenty of non-monetary motivators, including a simple pat on the back,” he said. Some of the recognitions come during the weekly toolbox meetings he holds.


Finding skilled technicians is not a problem, either, because Kuentz and Terry Strawbridge, Ross’s shop foreman, work as a team to provide whatever training is required. “Between the knowledge that the two of us have, we can bring in entry level people and help them along,” Kuentz said. Their mechanics receive not only hands-on experience but also formal training sessions that focus on the different components of the trucks or equipment. Because of his confidence in his employees’ skills and in his own knowledge, Kuentz has his team rebuilding major components, something that few other construction companies will do.


Kuentz believes that the true definition of management is the development of personnel, which he does through training and one-on-one instruction. Passing on the knowledge that he’s gained throughout his career is very satisfying.


“When I first started in the industry, my only thought was that I wanted to work on things. But all of a sudden, people started coming over to me and


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