NEXT PROS: Winston Raney, Heavy Equipment Operator

By Arkansas Next staff on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Jacob Slaton
“I like that there is something new every day, and I also enjoy that I am able to work outside.” – Winston Raney

Winston Raney

Hometown: Fordyce | Age: 27 | Where I trained: University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College | What I earned: Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) License | Job title: Surfacing Gang Foreman | Employer: Union Pacific Railroad in North Little Rock

What does a heavy equipment operator do?

Heavy equipment operators utilize heavy machinery often used in construction. They also clean, control, maintain, inspect and repair the machines.

“I get to work at 6:30 a.m. and begin my day with reading the safety rules. Before 10, I have to send in a curfew request and a signal report ticket to the train dispatcher for the next day’s work so they can start planning their routes. After working on the track, I complete our production report.”Winston


• Clean, maintain, operate and store heavy equipment.

• Check equipment daily to maintain a clean and safe work environment.

• Work with crew members to coordinate machine actions.

• Follow regulations to ensure that the job is done safely.

• Work with computers and other technology to increase efficiency.

• Communicate with train dispatchers to help them plan routes.

• Make repairs or report problems.

• Complete a production report at the end of the day.

Job Outlook

Expected growth from 2016 to 2026 in Arkansas.

Average annual job openings in Arkansas.

Jobs in Arkansas by 2026.

This option is for you if:
You have good hand-eye-foot coordination.
You’re great under pressure.
You can recognize and adapt to changing conditions.
You love big trucks and machines.
You’re dependable and trustworthy

High-end earners (top 10%) make

Median wages in Arkansas
$35,430 Annual
$17.03 Hourly


East Arkansas Community College
North Arkansas College
University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology – McGehee
University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College


Arkansas Electric Cooperatives
CalArk International
CenterPoint Energy
Lexicon Inc.
Simmons Foods Inc. & Affiliates
Union Pacific Railroad

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and

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