Elmia ti­tle shot was worth it -

Australian Forests and Timber - - Front Page -

Michael Scott can safely say he has joined a se­lect group of peo­ple ... peo­ple who have rep­re­sented their coun­try com­pet­i­tively against the best in the world. He did that dur­ing the re­cent world-ac­claimed forestry and tim­ber fair Elmia in Jonkop­ing.

He may not have come back with the man­tel of win­ner, but he proved be­yond doubt that Aus­tralian forestry work­ers can match it with the best of the best when it comes to han­dling ma­chines when he missed out by just six sec­ond in the quar­ter fi­nal of the For­warder World Cup.

How­ever, it was not the end re­sult that mat­tered to Michael, he was rapt that he had the chance to see Elmia in all its glory plus have a crack at test­ing his For­ward­ing skills against 18 op­er­a­tors from 11 coun­tries around the world. Michael’s road to Elmia ac­tu­ally started way back in 2003 when he started work in the forestry in­dus­try. Fast for­ward to AUSTim­ber 2016 and he won the AUSTim­ber For­warder Com­pe­ti­tion which paved the way for the Elmia trip.

“We trav­elled from Stock­holm to Is­aberg, about an hour south of Jonkop­ing. . The field lo­ca­tion was huge; it was sur­rounded by 60 year old soft­wood plan­ta­tions.

“A stun­ning en­vi­ron­ment, and a stun­ning lo­ca­tion,” he said..

Michael said Elmia at­tracted huge vis­i­tor numbers and noted that ... “ev­ery­one we met in Swe­den was ex­tremely help­ful and great to meet”.

He met Karl-Mag­nus Hem­b­jer and his team from the SMF or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“They are the Swedish equiv­a­lent of the AFCA . They were bril­liant! Friendly, help­ful and well or­gan­ised. They were wel­com­ing and I made con­tacts I have kept in touch with,” he said.

“When it came to com­pe­ti­tion time I had an ex­pla­na­tion of the track with com­peti­tors by the judges. It wasn’t as tech­ni­cal as AUSTim­ber --- just speed rather than a tech­ni­cal course, and it was also in­ter­est­ing to see the dif­fer­ences in at­ti­tudes to­ward safety.”

Michael qual­i­fied 6th on the Thurs­day op­er­at­ing a Ko­matsu 865 For­warder. The top 8 times qual­i­fied for the fi­nals on the Fri­day.

“The lan­guage bar­rier was a bit dif­fi­cult at times, par­tic­u­lar­ity the pro­grams in the For­warder ma­chines,” he said..

He lost quar­ter fi­nal by 6 sec­onds to Tobias Slet­ten op­er­at­ing a John Deere 1210E For­warder .

Michael said that when it came to pro­mot­ing wares the big play­ers were in their el­e­ment ... “John Deere and Ko­matsu had about a dozen ma­chines, each on dis­play with trailer mounted TV screens with pro­mo­tional ad­ver­tis­ing”.

Michael said there was a phe­nom­e­nal 948 dis­play sites cov­er­ing from sil­vi­cul­ture to Haulage to har­vest­ing to farm forestry to pro­cess­ing and sup­pli­ers to these in­dus­try’s.

“There were lots of in­ter­est­ing and in­no­va­tive ma­chines and dis­plays, but un­for­tu­nately didn’t get time to have a good look around as time was lim­ited.

“I did meet some great peo­ple and formed some good con­tacts, though.”

Michael said spe­cial thanks were due to Nigel Howard and Ko­matsu “for their sup­port get­ting me there” and also Re­treev for their sup­port.

Born and bred in the Ot­ways, Michael started work for Aus-Am Har­vest­ing and worked there for five years break­ing out, fall­ing and op­er­at­ing ma­chines on a steep slope ca­ble op­er­a­tion within the Ot­ways.

Fol­low­ing that he worked for Dean and Bree Ven­tur­oni at Re­treev op­er­at­ing ma­chines in thin­ning, clear fall and sal­vage op­er­a­tions within the Ot­ways and North East.

“Dur­ing 2016, I started ‘Scott Forestry’ do­ing site prep and earth­mov­ing for Mid­way and AKD Plan­ta­tions and con­tin­ued sub­con­tract­ing as an op­er­a­tor to Re­treev, an em­ployer and good friends,” he said.

“I en­joy hands on work, get­ting a job done well, the en­vi­ron­ment of the bush and the strong knowledge I have gained over the years.

“The ever-ad­vanc­ing technology and in­no­va­tion has en­abled log­ging and forestry to do things bet­ter and safer and I look for­ward to fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties in the forestry in­dus­try.

Michael is mar­ried and lives in For­rest (a small ru­ral town­ship in the Ot­way Ranges in Vic­to­ria).

“We have five chil­dren who I hope one day might like to come work along­side me,” he said.

So, from world ti­tles it’s back to earn­ing a quid and sup­port­ing a fam­ily and as Michael says ... “I’m hop­ing to build my work­ing re­la­tion­ship with plan­ta­tion com­pa­nies in the fu­ture.”

■ Michael Scott

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