Who are the real men of maintenance?

Maintenance machismo comes in many flavors. Plant Services Senior Technical Editor Stanton McGroarty introduced us to the concept a week ago (http://community.plantservices.com/content/maintenance-machismo-today) and made a strong case for changing the face of what it is. No longer the dude who "rides into the fray when disaster hits," the new hands of maintenance machismo steer a vehicle that avoids emergency, fire-fighting maintenance practices and puts reliability first, so that equipment is operational.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised (and not surprised like when someone throws you a party (McGroarty also covered that topic this week: http://community.plantservices.com/content/emergency-maintenance-we-have-work-hard-look-dumb)) when I saw the Real Men of Maintenance contest, sponsored by Sherwin-Williams’ Sprayon and Krylon Industrial product divisions. The contest (www.realmenofmaintenance.com) is looking for the maintenance professionals who embody the kind of maintenance machismo McGroarty identified. It’s evidenced by the slogan on the T-shirt that all entrants receive: “If it ain’t broke, you’re welcome.”

Yep. That works.

The deadline for entering is Sept. 30, so there’s still time to tell your story. You can real through them on the site, but here are summaries of a few of my favorites thus far. The remarkable part of the equation in all of these is the surprising mention of safety within the context of maintenance and reliability. These are the people with proper perspective.

Paul Heckman, the building and maintenance manager for the Duluth News Tribune, added belting to the operation’s existing conveyor system instead of replacing it, thus eliminating significant downtime Heckman’s also a strong proponent of plant safety and is a member of the safety board.

Julie Russell, a veteran maintenance mechanic at Santee Cooper’s power-generating plant, knows that equipment failure is unacceptable in her industry, but safety rules and regulations are equally important to her.

Bill Johnson, a maintenance mechanic at Solvay/Rhodia, a chemical plant, mentions that changing a gasket can turn bad if you’re not being safe. His company has implemented a Safe Start program, and Johnson has begun conducting PMs and monitoring bearings to predict motor failure so it can be prevented before it happens, instead of replacing equipment.

Plenty of entries are there on the site to read. You can vote, or you can enter yourself or a colleague. You still have time.

Three grand prizes will be awarded. Each will receive a $2,500 gift card for Bass Pro Shops, as well as a year’s supply of Sprayon and Krylon Industrial maintenance products. Not bad recognition for a job well done.