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THOMAS Perston from Quality Roading and Services continued the company’s tradition of excellence in excavator operation, after he became Hawke’s Bay East Coast Regional Excavator Operator champion on Friday.
Thomas took part in the Civil Contractors New Zealand regional excavator competition on Marine Parade in Napier last month. He placed in the top three but had to wait until Friday’s awards night to learn he was king of the scoop.
“We were all lined up there on stage. It was pretty intense. But then I heard the rumble and chants of everyone from QRS,” says Thomas.
Fourteen QRS staff attended the awards held in Hastings. They responded to Thomas’ achievements with haka Tika Tonu. “It’s a really proud moment for Thomas and his whānau, but also for us,” says QRS capital division manager Mike Wilson
“It highlights that QRS is highly respected and offering quality services. That’s good for our clients, but also good for Wairoa. We have the best people in the area to do the work.”
Thomas is a father to four and a construction site supervisor at QRS. He’s worked for the company for 22 years and entered the excavator competition six times. “I’ve been back over the years and finally cracked it,” he says.
Thomas progresses to the two-day national excavator competition held at the Central Districts Field Days in Feilding in March. Like the regionals, the national event celebrates the craftsmanship and dexterity of the country’s big machine operators. Male and female operators complete time-constrained extreme tasks of precision often involving basketballs, wine glasses, paint brushes, and plenty of tight corners.
Thomas, 42, follows in the footsteps of former QRS operator Tui Paikea who won the right to represent Hawke’s Bay East Coast in the 2019 nationals. Chief executive Jeremy Harker says it’s a great result. “He has been close to winning this event in the past. Given the depth of the competition, what Thomas has achieved is fantastic. We’re very proud of him.”
Thomas will talk to colleagues and others in the industry for tips on how to compete on the national stage. “It will be more intense, but I have got the support of people around me.” In the meantime, he’ll jump into the cab as often as he can to hone his landscaping, gradient, drainage and battering skills. “I’ll set up extra tasks when I am in the cab,” he adds.
The CCNZ branch awards night is the premiere calendar event recognising and celebrating construction excellence in the civil infrastructure industry. QRS was proud to support subcontractors who had projects that made the finals of the construction awards portion of the evening. Meanwhile, QRS construction project supervisor Arnold Smith was re-announced as this year’s regional novice excavator operator winner.
“It was inspiring to hear QRS and Wairoa District Council’s projects mentioned so many times during the evening,” says Mike Wilson.
6 November 2023
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