San Diego County Water Authority maintenance professional Bobby Bond Jr. made it a three-peat, representing San Diego at the 2019 American Public Works Association’s National ROADEO Skills Competition in Seattle, Washington.
He secured the right to represent the San Diego region as the Master Skills Operator Champion by winning first place out of 20 competitors. The San Diego regional competition took place this summer at Rohr Park in Chula Vista.
“I get nervous every single time before I do it, but it’s not too bad,” admitted Bond.
Bond gets daily on-the-job training in his role as a Senior Maintenance Technician for the Water Authority. Over the past year, he has worked on pipeline encasement for the Lake Murray to Sweetwater Reservoir Pipeline 3 relining project; performed demolition work using a “mini-excavator” to remove unused flow control facilities; and a variety of road grading assignments.
“I think I improved on the mini-excavator,” said Bond.
Work experience is training for competition
Bond’s versatility is an asset in competition. Participants compete on the local level in three categories: the backhoe/mini-excavator, skid steer, and mechanics. Each task requires the competitor to perform tasks with the equipment against the clock, with faults assessed for any mistakes. The three sets of results are added to determine the overall Master Operator Champion.
His time through the course was five minutes and 46 seconds with minimal faults, earning him the victory in his third year of competition. Taking second place and joining Bond in Seattle was David Bosley from the City of El Cajon. He was just 10 seconds behind Bond, and asked to train with Bond before the national competition.
See Bond Jr. in action in competition at the 2019 National ROADEO Skills competition here.
APWA ROADEO competitions test vital job skills
At the September 9, 2019 APWA National Equipment ROADEO in Seattle, competitors performed two mini-excavator tests, with the scores added together to determine a winner.
“It’s like the first time every time we go,” explained Bond. “You’re in a new city, and the set-ups are different. This year, two mini-excavator events took place in a parking lot down by the baseball stadium [T-Mobile Park]. It was a busy street; people were looking over wondering what as going on – it was early in the morning.”
Bond also attends the APWA convention to learn about new products and techniques.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate in it,” he said.
The annual national and regional competitions test the skills Bond and many other professionals use each day on the job while maintaining water and wastewater systems, streets, and other vital infrastructure.
Water Authority Board of Directors honors Bond’s efforts
The Water Authority’s Board of Directors recognized Bond as the Employee of the Fourth Quarter in FY 2019 for his expertise and dedication.
“He really exemplifies teamwork, customer service, and excellence in the work he does,” said Acting General Manager Sandy Kerl. “His successful efforts on the La Mesa-Sweetwater pipeline encasement repair projects were critical to ensuring a reliable water supply to our member agencies. Bobby has one of the most positive attitudes, and it’s contagious.”
“It’s an honor to win for the Water Authority. I’ve worked here for seven years, and I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Bond.
He intends to continue honing his skills at work, pursuing his ultimate goal to compete for the Water Authority when the 2022 National Roadeo Skills Competition takes place in San Diego. Bond plans to compete in the next three contests in New Orleans, St. Louis, and in North Carolina before enjoying his hometown advantage.