A new Forklift Operator of the Year has been crowned after a tightly contested grand final at the Brisbane Produce Market on Tuesday, 24 October, with Aaron Rizzolo from John Potter taking the coveted title.
The event saw the top ten contestants battle it out over a timed, practical course, losing precious seconds for every error they made.
In a close contest that came down to the wire, Rizzolo took out the top prize of $3,000, with a spectacular final time of 2 minutes and 19 seconds. Nathan Heskett from Shamrock Marketing came second with a time of 2 minutes and 27 seconds, scoring $1,500 for his efforts, narrowly beating Amanda Blume from Franklin Bros who took the $500 prize money with a time of 2 minutes and 28 seconds.
This was Rizzolo’s second go in the grand final, having made the top ten in 2018.
“I didn’t have any expectations coming into the race, I just knew I had to be faster than my last attempt. I pushed through the nerves and was happy with my time,” Rizzolo said.
“Now, I’m feeling a bit giddy! Can’t believe I actually won it!”
The event is hosted by Brisbane Markets Limited (BML), with the support of event sponsors Toyota Material Handling, The Drug Detection Agency, SBP Australia, and Brismark.
Brisbane Markets is home to 381 registered forklifts with 961 forklift operator permits active on site, according to BML Director and Brisbane Produce Market wholesaler, Stephen Edwards.
“The Forklift Operator of the Year competition is a great way to recognise the hard, often overlooked, work that our forklift operators do at this site. They are really put to the test during this competition and the top three really are the cream of the crop,” Mr Edwards said.
After competing in a month-long observation period, where they were scored on their adherence to safety and traffic rules on the Brisbane Markets site, the entrants are narrowed down to the top 10 who competed in the grand final obstacle course in front of the crowd that gathered within the Brisbane Produce Market to watch the spectacle.
According to Rizzolo, the event builds camaraderie amongst the site’s forklift operators and encouraged other forklift operators to get involved.
“It really is a unique experience. It’s good fun and all you need to do to compete is what you do every day on the job anyway,” he said.