When the Minnesota Vikings take the field next season, Troy Williams will be able to take pride in their (hopeful!) success knowing he helped them get there. As a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 – backhoe operators, bulldozer drivers, the people way up in the sky operating cranes – he may not be who comes to mind when you’re watching Sunday football, but they couldn’t do it without him.
As a forklift operator for the Vikings’ new practice facility in Eagan, he’s making each play possible.
Troy’s one of over 100 heavy equipment operators from Local 49 who have been instrumental in every stage of the construction of the 200-acre Vikings Lakes Project. The design includes offices, retail, residential and hospitality facilities, including the team’s new headquarters. The Vikings will also have four outdoor practice fields, one indoor field and a 6,000-seat stadium, all set to be opened on March 1, 2018.
While these guys and gals work on an array of projects across the state, this was no run-of-the-mill job. Because of standards set by the National Football League, each stage was meticulously executed, from the sub-grade work on up. “I really like the precision,” said Williams. “Being on this high profile of a job, we have to meet certain standards and meet benchmarks.” Talk about sticking to the playbook!
Add in some particularly rainy weather, and the task becomes even more of a challenge. Over 15 months, the crew only had one day without standing water on the field. And then it rained the very next day.
But that’s just the job for Minnesota’s unions. Whomever the client and whatever the uniqueness of the project, this level of quality is what they deliver every day. It’s something Troy is proud to put his name on. “It’s cool working on a big job like this,” Troy said. “It’s the Vikings, and I get to say I was a part of building this.”
So with each Vikings touchdown next season, thank your Minnesota unions for helping to make it possible. In even the most unexpected ways, they’re raising the bar for us all.