EMPLOYEE STORIES – MARK STONE
Equipment design engineer Mark Stone thrives on a challenge. If there’s a better, more efficient and safer way to do something using Active’s growing array of machinery, chances are he’ll find it. And he’ll love every minute of the process.
Mark joined Active about 18 months ago, bringing with him experience in the Automotive sector, automated special purpose equipment and more recently the mining industry where he worked on contracts designing heavy plant and equipment.
It was a combination of good timing, the gentle nudge of fate and sheer curiosity that drew him to a role at Active.
“I saw the position advertised and was intrigued by it but at that stage was contracted to another company,” Mark reflects.
“I came in and saw CEO Jim Roberts and was really taken with the company ethos, then I spoke to Mark Willcocks and was impressed by his enthusiasm towards innovation and liked the idea of the variety of the work.”
A month later, Mark Stone was driving home and came across several ATS trucks and crews clearing trees that were down over the road. He watched the crews working and was fascinated by their equipment and efficiency. A timely email regarding the position sealed the Active deal.
In the months since, Mark has worked on some of Active’s most innovative machinery projects, including the design and build of the recently unveiled Side Tipping Chipper Combo (AKA the GECO).
This unique piece of machinery allows crews better access and eliminates the need to tow a chipper behind. It comprises a 16T Hino truck, a 9” Chipper on a hydraulic Tail-Lift platform and a chipper bin that tips/opens to both sides.
It’s a project that Mark has been involved in from the ground-up and he notes the day he first fired up the GECO was one of the highlights of his time so far with Active.
The finished concept neatly fits with Mark’s consistent aim to improve safety, offer better operational efficiency and provide innovative machinery that allows crews in the field to get the job done.
“I’m always looking for a better way that removes people from danger zones and saves time and money where possible.”
Other projects include the re-design of the Jabiru, a new Knuckle design for the VST40i booms and of course day-to-day support to the fleet department including maintenance repairs, tooling and improvements. The next project he’s working on is re-defining the Bushie, a 4wd machine which features a remote controlled 50’ EWP-style boom with a saw affixed at the end.
“It can support tree climbing crews and cut above live-line spans. We’re looking at incorporating a Gripper arm and putting cameras on the head-end so crews can see what they are cutting from the ground on a tablet. This will be a safer and quicker.”
In his time with the company, Mark has travelled to New South Wales, Victoria and “wherever there’s plant that needs to be viewed in a live situation”.
His first few weeks on the job also saw him drive around South Australia with Mark Willcocks looking at machinery in need of innovation and improvement.
Mark Stone says it’s this freedom to problem solve, innovate and see a project from beginning to end that he enjoys most about the job.
“I really enjoy my job, it’s great,” he notes. “I get all the help I need when I need it and have a huge number of talented and experienced people to bounce ideas off.”