Max Hyde knows heavy-duty industrial trucks. Large tracked vehicles, like the D3G dozer, are not so familiar.
When he had to inspect the dozer’s undercarriage at Skills Canada nationals on Tuesday morning, it was a crash course.
“There was definitely a learning curve,” Hyde said, “but you persevere through it and you do your best.”
He knew he’d be taking apart a rear axle later and he was looking forward to that task because it’s something he has done before.
An employee at the Ekati diamond mine, Hyde is competing at his first Skills Canada nationals.
“There’s a lot of good competitors here, a lot of good guys,” he said.
One of the good guys in his life who helped him learn the fundamentals of mechanics is his step-father.
“I spent a lot of time working with him at his shop and he’d help me fix my vehicles as they’d break,” he said. “That drove my interest. I knew I wanted to be in the trades when I finished high school.”
Hyde went on to Aurora College to learn heavy duty mechanics for two years and then transferred to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology for his third year. After one more year, he’ll become a journeyman.
“My first step through all of this is to get my ticket… I want to stay on the floor and get that experience, that knowledge, and learn from the older guys,” he said. “If you don’t learn from them now, they’re not going to be around forever.”
Long-term, Hyde said he aspires to open his own shop.
Having lived in Hay River for nine years, Hyde said he now has younger residents approaching him occasionally for mechanical advice.
“They look up to you,” he said. “I’ll see them around and they’ll ask me questions.”