ACPA Honors 2018 Safe Operator of the Year

Safety is one of American Concrete Pumping Association’s (ACPA’s) highest priorities, and our goal is to foster a culture of safety at every level in the concrete pumping industry. Recognizing the finest examples of safety is one way we uphold our commitment to this mission. This year, we’re proud to name Bobby Blankenship as ACPA’s 2018 Safe Operator of the Year.

ACPA presented Bobby with the Safe Operator of the Year Award in January at the ACPA Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation during the World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Nevada. ACPA member companies submitted nominees, and as a condition of award consideration, all nominees held valid ACPA operator certifications.

Every nomination included at least one recommendation from a supervisor, coworker or customer. An independent safety consultant selected the winner according to the criteria of safety record, workforce development and a spirit of furthering the concrete pumping industry.

Safety Is His Specialty

What’s Bobby’s secret to more than 20,000 accident-free man-hours? Those who’ve worked with Bobby on a job site will tell you it’s his attention to detail. Nothing goes unnoticed. Bobby considers all probable scenarios and prepares for every possible concern. Because he’s well-known for meticulous accuracy, Bobby’s oilers know they better be in top shape to make sure they do a great job.

In his more than 40-year career as a concrete pumper, Bobby has earned a reputation as one of the industry’s safest operators. He began operating concrete pumps for CCC Pumping in Detroit, Michigan in 1974 before moving to California in 1977. In 1985, Bobby joined Merli Concrete Pumping in San Diego, California. In Bobby’s own words, he’s “been happily working for Merli for 33 years.”

With so many years of experience, Bobby can run any size boom pump, but his specialty is the 61-meter Schwing, which keeps him busy logging long hours on big pours. Bobby has held certification as an ACPA concrete pump operator since 2008 when Merli Concrete Pumping joined ACPA.

Man of Integrity

Professional, respectful, patient, humble, a fatherly figure and faithful employee, Bobby is a man of integrity who’s well-liked on every job. Merli’s customers request him time and time again.

John Caole, president of Merli says, “Not only is Bobby knowledgeable and practical, but also a team player. All these years I have trusted Bobby like no one else to get the job done, and I still trust him to this day. I send other operators with Bobby because he’s a good mentor, both professionally and spiritually. Many will have a better outlook on life and a better attitude after working alongside Bobby because he cares about them, listens to them and doesn’t belittle or talk down to them. He invests himself in others around him. I know he’ll teach them practical skills about what a concrete pumper should and should not do, why it’s important to get in the yard early to check the equipment, how to prepare both physically and mentally for the task ahead, and how to follow through to finish the job well.”

Matt Smith, field manager at Merli, says, “Besides safe, sturdy setups, Bobby arrives on the job site early to account for any issues that might prohibit him from setting up safely and efficiently. He prepares the pump, as well as himself, physically and mentally for whatever he may encounter in the day. In Bobby’s words: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ To top it off, he’s always a team player with a can-do attitude.”

Bobby approaches family life with the same dedication and devotion as he does to his pumping career. He and his wife Sherry have been married 47 years and have two sons, Scott and Robby, daughters-in-law Stephanie and Alisha, and three grandchildren, Samantha, Sonny and Kelly. When he’s not working, you’ll find Bobby spending time with family and friends, serving his church, and playing tennis and ping pong.

Always striving for excellence in safety and customer service, Bobby represents the highest standards of concrete pumping. ACPA is proud to honor Bobby Blankenship as 2018’s Safe Operator of the Year.

2018 Safe Operator Nominees

ACPA would like to thank every company that nominated a pumper for Safe Operator of the Year. Many exceptional candidates were nominated, including:

Christopher Blair—Brundage Bone Concrete Pumping, Portland, Oregon

Wes Chaney—Premier Concrete Pumping, Orangeville, Ontario, Canada

Chris Eby—Longshot Concrete Pumping, Durango, Colorado

Geronimo Longoria, III —Longoria Concrete Pumping, College Station, Texas

Beckum Riley—American Concrete Pumping, Cincinnati, Ohio

Aaron Sorenson—Cemstone Products Company, Mendota Heights, Minnesota