More than 5,500 machine operators worldwide have been competing in the Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge since the spring of 2022, and today, one of them emerged as the “World Champion” – the best Cat construction machine operator on the planet.
On Tuesday, March 14, Patrick Doheny of Australia took the crown out of nine finalists from around the world who competed in the final round of the Global Operator Challenge in the Cat Operator Stadium in Las Vegas.
Caterpillar’s year-long Global Operator Challenge is one of the largest construction industry events, with operators from nearly three dozen countries participating. The Challenge highlights the amazing ways construction machine operators masterfully guide Cat machines and use the latest technologies to get the job done.
“Caterpillar created this competition to celebrate machine operators who build our world, advocate and drive awareness for their trade, and highlight solutions that address jobsite challenges,” said Jason Hurdis, Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge Execution Lead and Global Market Professional. “All of the competitors – and especially our nine finalists – showed tremendous skills and abilities operating the latest Cat construction machines and technologies, maneuvering through some difficult challenges and showing the world the invaluable role they play in infrastructure creation.”
The Challenge kicked off in the spring of 2022 with more than 10,000 operators worldwide signing up to compete. After a pre-qualification phase, the first round featured 5,500 contestants competing in local events organized by 77 Cat dealers in 32 countries. The second round in the fall of 2022 consisted of four regional events held in the United States, Brazil, Spain, and Japan. These competitions included digging a trench, loading a precise amount of dirt, and hauling or maneuvering the machines through obstacles.
The third and final round this week in Las Vegas was the ultimate test of precision. Grouped into teams of three – Team Americas, Team Europe, and Team Asia – the nine finalists competed individually and as teams, as they faced three challenges in a specially constructed stadium featuring stands, fans, big-screen TVs, and play-by-play announcers.
The finals kicked off with the “Fork ‘n Loader” challenge, where each operator used the Cat 950 wheel loader with Payload technology to load and move material through specified locations on the course. The “Backhoe Services” challenge had operators using both ends of the Cat 420 XE backhoe to open a small box and precisely place small objects inside. This challenge was designed by Jaus Neigum, the 2020 Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge World Champion, and highlighted Caterpillar’s Customer Value Agreements and services offerings. During the final “Trench Run” challenge, operators showed off their trenching skills using a Cat 315 excavator equipped with Grade technology.
Final scores were based on the operator’s skills, efficiency, and competence in executing a variety of tasks, with penalties imposed for errors. Awards were given to the overall event champion, the individual with the lowest time in each skills challenge, and the team with the lowest combined score. The operators completed the challenges using Cat construction machines integrated with the latest machine-control and payload technologies, including Cat Payload, Grade and Command, Cat Grade Assist, rearview cameras, return to dig and return to carry.
Patrick Doheny from Australia was crowned the champion. Caterpillar awarded him with a trip for two to a location where Caterpillar has one of its worldwide production facilities.
“I am beyond thrilled to have earned the title of the best Caterpillar machine operator on the planet,” Doheny said. “Kudos to Caterpillar for hosting such an incredible event to highlight the importance of our profession. It is truly a dream come true to see your life’s passion be rewarded in such an amazing way.”
In second place was Matt Ferris from the United States, and third place was awarded to Łukasz Mokrzyński from Poland.
Other awards presented were:
- “Fork ‘n Loader” challenge winner – Patrick Doheny from Australia
- “Backhoe Services” challenge winner – John Schiedeck from the United States
- “Trench Run” challenge winner – Łukasz Mokrzyński from Poland
- Team champion Team Americas (Fernando Do Nascimento from Brazil and Matt Ferris and John Schiedeck, both from the United States)
The Nine Finalists
Representing Europe, Africa, and the Middle East:
- Sebastian Behr – Germany (placed third in the 2019/2020 Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge) with 35 years as an operator
- Pontus Ericksson – Sweden with 11 years as an operator
- Łukasz Mokrzyński – Poland with 15 years as an operator
Representing the Americas were:
- Fernando Do Nascimento – Brazil with 28 years as an operator
- Matt Ferris – United States (Arizona) with 20 years as an operator
- John Schiedeck – United States (Texas) with 16 years as an operator
Representing Asia-Pacific were:
- Patrick Doheny – Australia with 25 years as an operator
- Masato Imai – Japan with 20 years as an operator
- Nick Thompson – Australia with 15 years as an operator