— August 27, 2019

Crane Operator Helps Build the Future of Health Care

Imagine being able to lift 150,000 pounds with the turn of your wrist. Th at’s what crane operator Dylan Olson does every day as he works to help place the more than 5,200 pieces of structural steel that are being used to build McLaren Greater Lansing’s new state-of-the-art hospital.

Olson got started on cranes five years ago after previous experience working with dirt equipment. “I have a lot of confidence because of my training,” said Olson. “It all goes back to trust and the people who are up there on the radio signaling and telling me where to put the beams.”

Olson took part in a rigorous three-year apprenticeship program in Howell through Operating Engineers local 324. The training includes 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and another 600 hours of intensive on-site training. “You learn the basics and regulations, then get your certifications at the training center, then become an oiler and learn to run the crane,” said Olson. “Most of the training is hands-on.”

Olson has experience on hospital construction, but McLaren Greater Lansing’s nine-story facility is among the largest he’s worked on. Using a massive Manitowoc 14000 crane with a 300-foot jib gives Olson plenty of power to do his job. “On a good day I’ll raise 60 to 70 beams,” said Olson. “It’s a good feeling when you put a piece up there and you can stop it right where it needs to go.”

The need for professional trade jobs like Olson’s has never been greater in the state of Michigan. Careers in fields like construction often carry less student debt and require less schooling than a traditional four-year degree. His advice for anyone thinking about a future as a crane operator is simple. “Just do it, and don’t be timid,” said Olson. “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing.”

McLaren Greater Lansing’s 240-bed hospital is the main hub of a larger comprehensive health care campus that includes a cancer center, medical services building, and other facilities to support health care delivery, educational opportunities, and medical research. The current construction timeline estimates that structural steel work will be complete around the end of 2019, after which crews will begin enclosing the building so that work can begin on the interior. The hospital is expected to open in early 2022.