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Celebrating 25 years

June 6, 2023  By Don Horne

Trevor Eckert

What’s next for the nation’s crane rental association as it marks a quarter century?

Crane & Hoist Canada magazine editor Don Horne sat down with Sterling Crane’s Trevor Eckert, then Chairman of the Board of the Crane Rental Association of Canada (CRAC), now rebranded the Canadian Crane Rental Association (CCRA), to talk about the association’s 25 years of growth in the industry, and the plans for the future.

The CCRA is celebrating 25 years – what does that mean to you?

Trevor Eckert: What an achievement, I’m very proud to be involved with this association and to be Chairman of the board and able to celebrate 25 years is special. It goes to show what this association represents and the work that we do matters.

Collectively our member companies help build Canada, while we are competitors we have a respect for each other that you don’t often see. I know I can reach out to any member, and they go out of their way to help if able to.


I have built some lifelong friendships with a lot of folks in this industry and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

How has the association evolved since the late 1990s?

Eckert: In 1997 a small group of crane owners (four in total) in Western Canada held a meeting, where it was decided that a Canadian Association should be established.

In subsequent years many common issues were raised by members. the board would assign committee members to address these concerns in order to advance safety and professional expertise across the country.

Our Association sits as one of seven active members of the International Crane Stakeholders Assembly. The assembly facilitates information sharing and meaningful dialogue between crane industry stakeholders on safety, technical and regulatory issues of concern to the international crane industry in an effort to promote the harmonization of international standards.

Today we are 134 member companies strong, the highest it has been in our history. We have a voice, and it grows stronger every day.

See related article, Moir-Riendeau succeeds Eckert as Chair of CCRA

What are some of the most impressive initiatives launched by the association?

Eckert: Our longest standing initiative is the Boom Dolly Research Committee. Many thanks to those members who have volunteered their time over the years to keep pushing this initiative. We are finally starting to gain some traction. We have successfully completed the first “pilot project” in Alberta and are very close to having that be extended in order to continue to collect the data necessary to gain increased axle weights for our cranes during ban seasons.

We were also invited to participate on the task force for vehicle weights and dimensions at the national level. This invitation was a direct result of the work being done on the Alberta pilot project. It is very good to have our collective voice heard at this level.

Our Diversity & Inclusion committee was formed to create awareness of the importance of Diversity & Inclusion at all levels of our member organizations.

We have recently established a technical committee to work with the regulatory bodies such as CSA Z150 and WorkSafe BC so any proposed changes to regulations can be reviewed by actual stake holders in industry prior to becoming law.

What are the benefits of being a member of the association?

Eckert: The association has experienced constant growth over the past decade due to a shift toward advocating for members across Canada. We are working hard to connect all crane rental companies from coast to coast. The power of association is simple: a company alone does not have the strength to tackle major government policies or regulations but collectively, that’s what we do.

Our moto is simple, “We do business with people we know, like and trust;” and by connecting to industry leaders, you get to grow your network, develop new partnerships, and learn from best practices from other parts of the country.

There are some great stories working in the crane industry. What is your favourite?

Eckert: I have been working in this industry for more than 35 years now. I went through the apprenticeship program and worked my way thru some difficult jobs along the way. I used to love sitting down with older operators and listening to their stories. It’s amazing to me what memories operators have. It seems they can recall most every detail of lifts they performed even years later. Who was there, how they set up, what they did to pull it off successfully. The following is my favourite of all time.

When I was in High School I was downtown at the local mall, I stepped outside the front doors and seen what was a large crawler in those days up on top of a stack of crane mats. They were adding a second story onto the mall. The crane was an American 9310 (225 ton) crawler with 300’ main boom and 80’ jib. The bottom of the tracks were eight feet from the ground; it was a spectacular sight and I wondered how on earth did they get that big machine up there.

Fast forward 15 years and I came to be the Branch Manager for Sterling Crane. The Crane & Rigging Supervisor who worked for me was a man named Art Blumers. I was telling Art one day about seeing that huge crane up on that stack of mats. Art said, “I was the operator of that crane” and went on to tell me all about it. They built the eight-foot-high stack of mats like a stairway, then leaned 20-foot-long mats up the stairs to make a ramp in order to drive the fully erected crane up.

They needed to get the crane up that high in order to reach all of the work areas. He went on to tell me that he could not sleep the night before doing this.

He slowly started crawling up the ramp, booming down tight to the building in front of him to try and balance the crane. Once he was at midpoint of the tracks at the top of the ramp, the crane slowly started to lean forward, every inch he crawled forward the more he would boom up to avoid touching the building. Slowly but surely the crane leveled out and he crawled into final position.

Knowing what I know today, there is no way a job like that would be allowed to proceed. I also forgot to say this was also on top of an underground parking lot that was shored up as well. Stories like this really make you think of all the innovative ways the people before us worked to find solutions to get the job done.

When Art told me the story he said getting up there was the easy part, backing down off that pile of mats was a lot more nerve racking, and he had to do it four times. He said that was the job that turned his hair grey. I can believe it.

So, if you see a grey-haired operator, chances are he has a hell of a story to tell.

What can we expect from the association in 2023? In the years to come?

Eckert: A unified voice to lobby on issues that matter to our industry;

Advance Safety and Professional expertise within the Canadian crane rental industry;

Successfully complete the Alberta Pilot Project for increased axle weights;

Continue our work with the task force for vehicle weights and dimensions at the national level;

Showcase the fantastic work our member companies do with the Canadian Lift of the Year presentations; and

Increase our membership of Canadian based crane rental companies and suppliers.

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