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Fall 2012

LEFT, RIGHT … LEFT RIGHT LEFT

A Bobcat A770 loader with both all-wheel steer and skid-steer capabilities is always on duty and is the workhorse of the hilly, historical and immaculately maintained University of Nebraska at Omaha campus.

University of Nebraska at Omaha employee CJ Brown leads the
grounds maintenance effort, helped by an army of Bobcat compact
equipment and attachments.

University of Nebraska at Omaha employee CJ Brown leads the grounds maintenance effort, helped by an army of Bobcat compact equipment and attachments.

In explaining the challenges his landscaping and grounds maintenance crews encounter on the three hilly campuses of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), supervisor of landscape services CJ Brown is delighted that his sales associate with Bobcat of Omaha recommended the Bobcat® A770 all-wheel steer loader. The A770 is part of the newest generation of Bobcat skid-steer loaders — the M-Series.

After spending 34 years behind the wheel of the big rigs as a cross-country driver, Brown decided he’d grown tired of the extended time away from home and the inherent risks of operating an 18-wheeler. Yet the Montana native, who was raised in Big Sky country, wasn’t quite ready to retire. So he answered an ad for a grounds crew position with UNO and ended up getting the job. Brown’s good-natured optimism, leadership and strong work ethic have been recognized in recent years by university officials with the coveted “Employee of the Month” award.

“I felt I still had a few good working years left, and here I am,” Brown says. “I grew up on a farm and love being outdoors, so I thought the job would be a good fit for me. I guess the university thought so, too. I’ve been here 18 years now and am having the time of my life.”

UNO is composed of three separate campuses that encompass more than 150 acres of beautifully landscaped terrain. There are 10 miles of roads, 30 miles of sidewalks, scores of mature trees and more than 90 acres of turf.

All-wheel steer; all-around use

Brown is one of two grounds crew supervisors at UNO, and was first exposed to Bobcat equipment in the 1970s while growing up on his family’s Montana farm. His primary responsibilities include all landscaping activities — flower beds, plantings, tree trimming, weeding — and road/sidewalk maintenance and repair.

All-wheel steering

All-wheel steering helps to minimize turf damage and reduce tire wear.

“When I arrived here, the university didn’t have any Bobcat equipment,” Brown recalls. “Today we have three Bobcat skid-steer loaders and a Toolcat utility work machine. The most recent addition to our fleet is the A770 loader with all-wheel steer capability. We are a green campus and do a lot of recycling, and the A770 is great for picking up and unloading recycling bins. The all-wheel steer lessens the impact on both turf and pavement, and minimizes tire wear. It is a productive, secure and easy-to-operate loader.”

University workhorse

The seasonal changes of the often unpredictable Midwest climate of extremes — along with the rolling, picturesque terrain of the UNO campuses — have been the ideal setting for the A770 loader, what Brown now refers to as the workhorse of the university. Spring means turf work: fertilizing, tree care, flower beds and various plantings … all of which require a tough, versatile and agile machine, yet one that is gentle on fragile, often moist turf areas created by frequent spring rains. Brown explains that as the seasons change, so do the chores and tasks his crews rely on the A770 loader to complete.

“The steering works really well for the varying terrain and ground conditions of our campuses, and our crews appreciate how easy it is to switch from all-wheel steer to skid-steer as needed. I really like being able to set the speed when operating at a specific grade for leveling out land areas. You can really get it right down fine, where the machine isn’t moving so fast, without bouncing. It’s got so many different features.”

User-friendly

Brown’s crew of grounds maintenance professionals — described by him as ‘fairly young guys’ — were quick studies on how to operate what he calls the most user-friendly loader he has driven.

“Getting the knack of operating the A770 was a little harder for me because I was more used to two levers than a joystick,” Brown says. “These younger guys are more familiar with joystick operation. Actually, it’s pretty simple once you take some time to get comfortable with it. The visibility is great and it’s a really comfortable machine to operate. All the guys around here just love it. They think it’s one of the greatest pieces of equipment we have.”

Extending the versatility of the four Bobcat models in the UNO fleet is a collection of labor-saving Bobcat attachments, including an auger, angle broom, buckets, grapple, pallet forks, snow blade and snowblower.

“The A770 loader is an all-purpose, versatile machine,” Brown says. “In fact, all of the Bobcat equipment we have here at UNO makes campus maintenance and landscaping tasks a breeze. There would be a lot of back-breaking chores that would be difficult for us to complete without the Bobcat loaders. If we had to use a shovel and manual labor, it would take 20 guys to do what we can do with a Bobcat loader in 20 minutes. We use them all the time. They are the workhorses of the campus.”

Minimize turf damage and tire wear

The Bobcat® A770 loader — with both all-wheel steer and skid-steer capabilities — provides an efficient and effective alternative for customers who desire a loader with so many attractive features. In the all-wheel steer mode, the wheels articulate to minimize turf damage and reduce tire wear. The inside tires turn at a different angle and speed than the outside tires to allow for smooth, tight-radius turns. In skid-steer mode, the tires counter-rotate on the opposite side to achieve maximum maneuverability.