Commissioner Spotlight: Gary Via
August 2018—When an accident happens in the crane and rigging industry, it causes a ripple effect around all those who have any kind of connection with those involved. When Gary Via was just starting out as a crane operator, one such accident helped shape his career goal—to improve safety both on the ground and in the crane.
“I was just starting off in the industry when that accident happened, and I questioned if I really wanted to stick with it. But I thought that I could influence change. I just hoped that I could bring one iota of improvement to the crane industry,” Via said.
As a corporate sales and business development employee at Texas-based TNT Crane and Rigging, one of the largest crane service providers in North America, Via has various responsibilities. They include job site inspection, lift plan development, and assisting NCCCO members with computer-aided design (CAD) while making sure they adhere to all of the requirements set forth by OSHA and customers.
Via has been in the crane and rigging industry since 1978, when he got the opportunity to work for the former construction company Brown & Root, now KBR. Over the years, he also worked as a Technical Specialist before settling into his current position with TNT Crane and Rigging. Via’s current role allows him to travel to job sites to make sure that the job is going well and ensure TNT’s IIF Safety is be followed.
Via puts his four decades of experience to good use at NCCCO where he contributes as a member of the Lift Director Management Committee in addition to his Commission responsibilities.
“Knowing that they have a CCO card, a lot of people think they can just jump into the cab of a crane and start operating it,” Via said. “But, it is not the card that operates the crane. It is the person who is behind the controls.” Via says there’s been a shift in the way that we do things. “We are teaching and mentoring our operators to first and foremost understand how to work with and set up the rigging,” he says. “Then you can get in the cab of a crane and operate it with the benefit of understanding how the rigging is set for the operation.”
As much as Via loves his time working to improve safety on job site, he appreciates vacation and his trips around the United States with his wife. They enjoy their time as “empty-nesters” by lounging on the beaches of Florida, tasting the best wines in California, and sight-seeing in Chicago.