Aaron Witt

Workers' Thoughts on Technology, Dirt Talk Live, and Situational Awareness

Read on to learn if craft workers feel they can utilize the technology at their disposal, how our first ever Dirt Talk live went, and the value of situational awareness…

Workforce Poll

This week, I asked workers,

“Do you have the resources you need to effectively use the technology your company has implemented?”

The Results:


“If not, what resources are you lacking?”

  • “All of them… I have to figure it out myself…”
  • “Our new system capabilities are entirely unknown.”
  • “Stuff gets bought, but then you must figure out how to use it yourself.”
  • “Actual training, not the superintendent who half knows how to use it, training me.”
  • “Time to learn before having to utilize it.”
  • “I can’t use the tools because I don’t even have internet on site.”
  • “I’ve had GPS for my blade for six weeks now and only know how to use it thanks to Instagram.”
  • “It’s crazy how much they spend on software but then don’t implement it properly because of the ‘way we’ve always done it mentality.’”


Weekly Update

Months ago, organizers from the ECC (The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering and Construction Community) asked us to speak to 200 of their future leaders at their annual conference in San Antonio. Think key future leaders from companies like Chevron, Shell, Fluor, and Kiewit.

While I figured I’d prepare another speech about workforce development and what everyone can do to help solve the problem, the event organizers had a different idea… They wanted us to take the Dirt Talk Podcast on the road.

After hundreds of podcast episodes, Alex, Eric, and I are pretty damn comfortable talking dirt, but we always do it within our small Nashville studio. To do it on stage in front of 200 important people? That’s a different ballgame.

And one more detail… The speaker before us was a retired U.S. Army general. What the heck were they thinking of inviting us?

We gave it the ol’ college try, and I’m happy with how we did. We talked about our travels, explained the importance of storytelling, and answered audience questions. We debriefed at the airport after and have a long list of lessons learned, but we may be onto something. Stay tuned… the Dirt Talk Podcast might be coming soon to a conference near you!


Business Lesson Learned

Welcome back to the part of this weekly newsletter where I admit I don’t know what I’m doing as a business owner or leader…

A concept I learned from Echelon Front and Jocko last year is simply explained as “situational awareness.”

Good leaders must understand the battlefield from all angles. As everyone else is in the fight, they must detach and keep their heads above the fray. But they must also occasionally get their hands and boots dirty to stay grounded. It’s a constant challenge.

While I feel like I’ve been in the foxhole for months, my recent weekend in Utah was the detachment I needed. I returned to our business with a fresh perspective on where we stand in the big-picture sense. Then, I dug in with some of our leaders to better understand what was happening on the ground.

With the best situational awareness I’ve had in many weeks, I’ve communicated clearly to our leadership team and company based on what I feel is needed. It’s all been well received, but I could’ve never gotten to this point without understanding the importance of situational awareness and the opportunity to detach.



This week on the Dirt Talk podcast, we had Sophie Coleman of MC Earthmoving from Victoria, Australia!

Sophie had no intention of joining the earthmoving industry growing up and even as she entered the workforce. But as she returned home from a few years of working in the states, she began working part-time at the family earthmoving business.

Her initial office filing gig has led to a full-time job helping her father to manage and modernize the business. It’s a fantastic story; hopefully, you will enjoy the conversation as much as I did!


The first of the Canadian Vlog series is here! In the first episode, I’m joined by my friend Alex Burnett as we aimlessly cruise around oil sands mining operations looking for cool stuff. Did we find some? You bet we did. How’s watching a fully-dressed 6015B excavator walk off a trailer for cool?

Keep up to date with all the news.

hand waving