P&Q Profile: Luck Stone’s Eric Warinner

By |  September 11, 2017

Eric Warinner joined Luck Stone in 2013 as an excavator operator but transitioned into a unique position within the last year. Now, Warinner collects and analyzes data with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across the company’s crushed stone and sand-and-gravel sites in Virginia.

How did you make your way into the construction materials industry?

Warinner

I enlisted straight out of high school. I spent four years in an infantry unit, and I was given the opportunity to be a Stryker operator. The vehicle was more of a personnel carrier, but it also had some weapons on it.

Eventually, I decided I wanted to move out of the military lifestyle. I started working at a landfill here in Richmond, (Virginia), as an excavator operator. I spent a year or two there but was ultimately looking for a better atmosphere. When I began working at Luck Stone in 2013 at one of our quarry operations, I knew right away that I had landed in a great spot. While the nature of my work at the quarry varied, I grew particularly interested in the rail component of our business, which was where I was able to bring UAV usage into play.

I understand you’re a drones hobbyist. What can you tell us about that?

When UAVs and drones started to gain ground, that’s when I got into the remote-control hobby. I had a couple of my own aircraft. I built a few but primarily used UAV technology for my photography interests.

How exactly did you bring UAVs “into play” at Luck Stone?

As a hobbyist, I was flying one of mine around at the end of a workday while talking with my boss. We had a great conversation about how we could utilize this technology at our sites to effectively “put an eye in the sky.” From there, I explored where this could be the most beneficial by considering our work to inspect equipment, and how we might eliminate climbing into railroad cars with the use of this technology.

What’s the most challenging part of a UAV pilot’s job?

Staying on the tip of the technology curve. We don’t necessarily want to invest in everything. We want to be a good steward of the company’s money. Also, just trying to stay organized with the amount of data we have coming in is a challenge. We meet on a regular basis to see how we can organize better, because the amount of data [produced] is unreal. Traveling and collecting everything is easier than sitting down and saying, “How are we going to best use this data?”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Having the freedom to try new things. There isn’t a cap to the potential of this technology.


Five things

First industry job – McMurdy Excavating in Harrisville, Pennsylvania.
Hobbies – Boating and photography.
Sports teams – I’m not really a sports fan, but being from Pennsylvania I watch the Steelers from time to time. Plus, it’s fun to be a Steelers fan if you’re bashing on Cleveland. (Note: Pit & Quarry is based in Cleveland.)
Book – “FAR AIM (Federal Aviation Regulations Aeronautical Informational Manual) 2017.”
Travel spot – Anywhere on the water. I love being on the river here in Richmond, Virginia, and being on the beach.

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