Apprenticeships Offer a Pathway to a Successful Career for All


Kaitlin Hoetger, Operating Engineer at Ajax Paving Industries, Inc.

By Donald O’Connell 
Apprenticeships offer pathways to successful careers that provide family-sustaining wages and benefits.  This is the reason Kaitlin Hoetger decided to become an apprentice Operating Engineer.

The Operations Manager of Ajax Paving Industries, Inc., Leo Remijan, noted that “In 2008, Ajax contacted the Operating Engineers for potential applicants for the MDOT On-the-Job Training Program.  Kaitlin was referred to Ajax at that time.  She has proven to be a dedicated hard worker, dependable, knowledgeable, willing and able to work as a valuable team member to get the job done.  Kaitlin has earned the respect and trust of her other crew members.”  He further notes, “Kaitlin is one of our talented young operators who will be the future of the company for many years to come.”

Mark Zinser, Education and Training Instructor, Operating Engineers Local 324 JATF, Inc. mentioned that Kaitlin strives to be the best operator she can be.  Mark noted, “She would not settle for just a passing score on her equipment proficiency test, she wanted the best score.”  He also said, “She went above and beyond her requirements for graduation by taking extra classes so that she was a well-rounded operator.”

Kaitlin has demonstrated that she has what it takes to be a successful Operating Engineer.  She arrives early to the job site and is prepared to begin each day with a good attitude.  She understands that the days may be long, often with travel away from home, but that has not stopped her.  She understands that the road and highway work is dangerous, which is why she always puts safety first.  She understands that a positive attitude can be contagious and that is why other crew members enjoy working with her.

Kaitlin sustains her successful career as an operating engineer while also raising a family.  In early 2012, she took a maternity leave to become a mother.  Safety Director of Ajax, Joseph Landino, stated that “Upon returning to work, not missing a beat, she picked up right where she left off.”For all of these reasons, Kaitlin was honored by the Associated General Contractors of Michigan as the Operating Engineer Apprentice of the Year at their February 14, 2014 annual meeting.

Kaitlin posted to the Operating Engineers Local 324’s Facebook page, “Thank you everyone!  The recognition is very much appreciated.  I’m proud to be a member of Local 324.”

Congratulations Kaitlin, you make us all very proud. IMG951067-1