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MFC Employees Participate in Southern Area Geographic Heavy Equipment Operators Academy

Five MFC employees recently participated in the Southern Area Geographic Heavy Equipment Operators Academy (GHEOA) in Macon, GA. The academy, which ran from June 3rd to June 13th, brought together 65 students from 9 state forestry agencies and 4 Federal Agencies. Notably, participants traveled from as far as Alaska to attend this comprehensive training program.

The GHEOA is a skill course designed to provide standardized training for Geographical Heavy Equipment Operators and Heavy Equipment Bosses. The curriculum focuses on tactical use and safety precautions necessary for effective dozer operations. The training encompasses both field exercises and classroom sessions, with a particular emphasis on safe fire suppression tactics during control line construction.

The MFC was well-represented at the academy, with three students and two staff members participating. Michael Hoda (R4), Bill Lunsford (R4), and Chris Givens (R1) were among the three students who attended the academy. Additionally, Dru Roberts (Task Force Leader TFLD) and Joshua Skidmore (Plans Section Chief Trainee) represented the MFC as staff members and IMT participants. Randi Giachelli, MFC Fire Chief, states, “By participating in the Southern Area GHEOA, these individuals have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of dozer operations in forestry and fire suppression efforts.”

The Southern Area GHEOA takes place every year, alternating between Mississippi and Georgia as host states. This year, the academy was held in Macon, GA, and provided an opportunity for participants to enhance their skills and knowledge in heavy equipment operation.

“The Mississippi Forestry Commission is proud of its employees’ dedication to professional development and their commitment to honing their skills in heavy equipment operation, says Giachelli.”