Industry Experts, Former Winners to Judge 2015 Top Trainer Awards

Seven trainers with superior subject matter expertise in crane operations and rigging activities will serve as judges for the 2015 Top Trainer award, presented by Crane & Rigging Hot Line and endorsed by the Association of Crane & Rigging Professionals (ACRP).

The Top Trainer program seeks to bring attention to the importance of quality training in reducing crane and rigging accidents in construction and heavy industry. Trainers are recognized for having a positive impact on students, the work environment or the industry through the use of innovative training techniques or hands-on instruction, by encouraging peer or corporate accountability, and/or through quantitative or anecdotal evidence that the training was successful. This year, nominations will be accepted until July 31, 2015; nomination details and forms are available on

“The journey to safety starts with trainers who lead the way,” said John Hellums, president of ACRP. “Once again, ACRP is pleased support this program that recognizes trainers for promoting a culture of safety in their organizations.”

ACRP will supply two judges for the panel. They are Jeff Hairston of RHTC Inc., West Monroe, La., which provides equipment and rigging services, inspections, and training, and Paul Kuber, a critical lift advisor and consultant to Becht Engineering, who is currently on an assignment at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, La.

For the first time since the program was established in 2008, four other experts, former Top Trainers themselves, will also serve as judges. “Winners are not eligible to be recognized again for five years, and yet, we value the depth of knowledge and experience they have in this field,” said Katie Parrish, editor of Crane & Rigging Hot Line.

2015 Top Trainer Judges

  • John Augustine, Owner, Sylvan Enterprises, Kingston, Tenn.
  • Bob Berry, Training Director, Sims Crane & Equipment, Tampa, Fla.
  • William “Hank” Dutton Jr., Senior Technical Specialist, Travelers Insurance Co., Hartford, Conn.
  • Jeff Hairston, President, RHTC Inc., West Monroe, La.
  • Paul Kuber, Critical Lift Advisor and Consultant to Becht Engineering, Baton Rouge, La.
  • Nelson Plumb, Operator, Trainer and Lifting & Rigging Advisor, Crossland Construction Co., Columbus, Kan.
  • Sam Smith, Training Manager, North American Crane Bureau, Lake Mary, Fla.