Commissioner Profile: Patrick Vallejos
September 2021—Although a new Commissioner, Patrick Vallejos brings over 40 years of experience in the industry to the CCO Commission. He was one of the first operators to become CCO-certified back in 1996, although he’d been operating cranes for more than 15 years at that point. Since then, he’s held a variety of increasingly responsible positions, from foreman to superintendent to manager. Currently he’s Chair of the Hanford Site Hoisting & Rigging Committee, where he shepherds all hoisting and rigging efforts.
One of his primary responsibilities is maintaining the Hanford Site Hoisting & Rigging Manual to ensure it remains consistent with U.S. Department of Energy guidance, OSHA standards, and the ASME B30 series of standards. His position requires him to contribute to and remain involved with updating industry consensus standards and promoting cooperation between technical and safety committees in areas of common interest. He is active on multiple ASME committees, including B30 committees (B30.5, B30.12, B30.21, B30.22) and Cranes in Nuclear Facilities committees (HRT-1, NML-1, NOG-1, NUM-1). He also participates in the DOE Construction Advisory Committee and the DOE Hoisting and Rigging Committee.
In his early years in the industry, Patrick witnessed some incidents and near-misses that impressed upon him the need to focus on safety. He saw operator certification as significantly contributing to safe operations and promoting integrity. “NCCCO has brought increased attention to crane safety. It has also helped the industry understand that training is key to operating safely,” he said. “People are more aware of safe operating practices and the benefits of using them. Standardization of certification requirements has raised awareness and created commonality across the industry.”
Patrick believes that NCCCO’s certification programs ensure that personnel bring with them the highest level of training, knowledge, and skill to perform their duties safely and efficiently. The fundamental knowledge required for certification also ensures that certified operators can perform at the highest levels. He also sees that as NCCCO certification has grown and broadened, incident and accident rates have drastically decreased. Certification has created an agreed-upon body of knowledge and suite of skills that helped establish an industry standard of safe operating practices. Certified personnel create a foundation of safe practices that propagates across the industry.
He also appreciates that NCCCO functions as a pacesetter and a leader in the industry. Other certification organizations look to NCCCO to see how they maintain accreditation and enhance certifications across the board. NCCCO has a broad array of certifications available and is constantly forward-thinking to anticipate what additional certifications might benefit the industry and what would make existing certifications more robust.
Patrick brings a unique blend of skills and expertise to the Commission. As a former crane operator, he has a practical perspective in how to apply the intricate web of regulations and consensus standards in the field. He also understands the importance of manufacturer’s requirements from an owner’s perspective. As an active contributor to multiple ASME committees, he keeps pace with changing requirements and consensus standards. With his broad and deep understanding of multiple facets of the industry, he can provide a well-rounded perspective because he understands how all of the pieces fit together.
When not working, Patrick enjoys spending time with his daughter and grandson, although these days that’s more often virtually than in person. He also enjoys the wheels turning on his lawnmower, Harley-Davidson motorcycle, 1968 GTO, and bicycle. Riding along the Columbia River keeps him healthy, and refinishing old objects keeps him moving.