MEET THE PRO: Kramer Helmbeck, Heavy Equipment Operator

By Arkansas NEXT on Friday, September 25, 2020

Kramer Helmbeck

Hometown: Cabot
Age: 23
Where I trained: Missouri Welding Institute
What I earned: Technical certificate
Job title: Construction and Maintenance Technician
Employer: CenterPoint Energy in Little Rock

After learning about the heavy equipment operator field from friends, Kramer decided to apply and landed a job with CenterPoint Energy. In his current position, Kramer is responsible for operating excavating equipment and monitoring safety procedures for each job. A normal day consists of working non-emergency and emergency leaks and making repairs on natural gas lines.

When it comes to furthering his career, CenterPoint Energy offers many options for advancement whether it be in the construction department that Kramer is currently in or in other departments that handle functions necessary for safe delivery of natural gas to customers.

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.


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.

Education Needed

“No experience [is] required, although a commercial driver’s license (CDL), welding certifications or experience operating heavy equipment are a plus,” says Jay Reber, district director of central Arkansas for CenterPoint Energy.

Job Outlook

expected growth from 2016 to 2026 in Arkansas.

average annual job openings in Arkansas.

jobs in Arkansas by 2026.

 High-end earners in Arkansas (top 10%) make
$50,330 Annually
 Median wages in Arkansas
$36,810 Annually
$17.70 Hourly

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.


Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation
Greenway Equipment
Lexicon Inc.
Nabholz Construction
North Arkansas College
University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology - McGehee


Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation
CenterPoint Energy
Greenway Equipment
Lexicon Inc.
Nabholz Construction
Simmons Foods Inc. & Affiliates

"It's enjoyable to be able to wake up and come to work and like and get along with everyone you work with — and not dread having to come in." –Kramer

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and

See more of your options in CONSTRUCTION.