BNSF Turner Siding - Dirt Crew

Real People

31 March, 2020

An impossible task - that’s what was said when this job began. But this crew, like Crossland itself, heard that phrase and replied with, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

The only thing remotely typical about a day for the crew that worked on the BNSF Turner Siding project is their morning safety meeting. After that, they check their equipment, get it warmed up for the day ahead, and handle whatever the day hands them. Things change every day – the weather, the type of on-site inspector, and the dirt they are working with. These aspects are challenging, but they are also the things that the crew finds rewarding about their job. As a team, they’re proud to overcome obstacles and see the project come together. Most Crossland projects begin with a blank canvas and a dirt crew. “You gotta start molding the ground, and then day-by-day, the bigger picture starts to come together,” says Brett Messer, Dirt Superintendent.  

This particular project required incredibly long hours, working day and night, and spending a significant amount of time away from home. It’s during projects like this when the crew becomes your family. The long hours are stressful, but as long as everyone works as a team and pitches in, the job can go smoothly. “We can’t just do it ‘Your Way,’ we all have to work together to accomplish it,” says Rob Cardwell, a Dirt Superintendent. 


Many of the crew members stated that being patient and willing to learn goes a long way. Donny Carter, Civil Superintendent, gives this advice to anyone wanting a career on a dirt crew. “You don’t just 
jump out of a heavy equipment school or college and know how to work with dirt, material, rock, and concrete. It takes seat time and experience. Listen and learn from your mentors, take part in safety and education, and work hard.” 

Everyone in this crew took a different path to get where they are today. Some started in our internship program, some joined as an apprentice, and others came to us with years of experience. Regardless of the path, Crossland’s Talent and Education Departments helped them along their way. Through the Crossland Academy, they were able to receive certifications that would typically cost thousands of dollars out of pocket. Now they have knowledge and certifications to carry on wherever they may go in their careers. 

Other crew members echoed the importance of being willing to learn to be successful. Krue Christiansen says, “Once I started listening to people, I got a lot further and learned a lot more.” Kyle Fisher suggests to, “learn from the older guys and take helpful criticism from the people who know more than you."


The operators are the pulse of projects like this, and you can tell that they genuinely enjoy their job. Kyle says, “You get to break things, then push some dirt around, and ultimately you get to make something.” Marianne Seiwart says her favorite part of the job is running the dozer. “I have an affinity for that machine; It’s very soothing. If I’m in a terrible mood, as long as I can get in a dozer, I’ll be fine.” 

Brett has this to say about this team, “you’ve got to have a sense of humor. Sometimes laughing and joking with your team is how you get through the day. Also, I don’t want to leave the Bridge Crew out of this. Props to them, they did a remarkable job building two bridges in just 60 days.” 

Thank you, BNSF dirt crew, for representing Crossland so well, putting in the long days and hard work to make this project a success. You have proven that Crossland doesn’t let the phrase “impossible task” get in the way. Phase One of this project was completed with days to spare. Now, on to Phase Two…



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