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Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers recently celebrated the Grand Opening of its new permanent auction site in Houston (15500 Eastex Freeway) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 25 during day-one of a three-day unreserved industrial equipment auction.
  Ritchie Bros. sold US$66 million of heavy equipment and trucks during the Grand Opening auction that attracted more than 4,400 on-site and online bidders from 49 countries, including 48 U.S. states. Buyers from outside Texas purchased $34 million of equipment (52 percent of the total), including US$17 million purchased by customers from outside the U.S. (25 percent).
  “Our Grand Opening auction was a tremendous success: we welcomed a record number of bidders from around the world to Houston, including more than 1,000 first-time customers, and delivered record results for our consignors,” said Ritchie Bros. Regional Manager Alan McVicker. “The size and location of our new site makes it perfect for our local and international customers. We’ve got exceptional highway visibility, a yard that’s large enough to display a wide range of equipment and close proximity to one of the world’s largest ports.
  “The record crowds show there are lots of people working around the world; they come to our auctions because we have the equipment they need and we sell it all in a fair, transparent manner. Our ability to consistently attract large, diverse bidding audiences gives equipment owners the confidence to sell their surplus assets through us.”
  PipeLine Machinery International, a Caterpillar dealer, has sold equipment in Ritchie Bros. auctions in Fort Worth, Houston, Edmonton and Dubai as part of their plan to keep their equipment current and up-to-date. They had millions of dollars worth of crawler tractors, hydraulic excavators and pipe layers in the Houston auction.
  “Traditionally we haven’t sold too much equipment in the Ritchie Bros. Houston location, but now with a state-of-the-art new auction facility we see Houston as being a great place to do business,” said Tony Fernandez, vice president of PipeLine Machinery. “With the ports of Galveston and Houston located so close to the yard, and the easy access from the airports, it’s obvious that the new site is helping to attract more buyers and consignors. A great crowd was at the auction and our equipment prices were very good.”

Ledcor Projects Inc. and Suncor’s Oil Sands Extraction Group took top honors at Suncor Energy Inc.’s  President’s Operational Excellence Awards on March 17. The program’s two top awards recognize world-class safety performance by Suncor employees and contractors. The employee award went to Suncor’s Oil Sands Extraction Group, which further improved its safety performance by engaging and involving employees and increasing their commitment to safety. The contractor award went to Ledcor Projects Inc., which elevated their commitment to safety at Suncor’s oil sands facility by developing a comprehensive training and orientation program for new workers.
  This year’s 29 award recipients were chosen by a panel of Suncor judges from a field of almost 130 nominees. Suncor launched the annual President’s Operational Excellence Awards in 2002 as part of a company-wide initiative to eliminate occupational illness and injuries. The awards program was later expanded to include recognition for environmental excellence and health and wellness commitment.
  To view a complete listing of recipients of this year’s awards, visit

A new membership program from the American Welding Society (AWS) empowers welders to utilize their buying power for instant discounts at dozens of Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA)-member stores nationwide. Welders can also enjoy discounts on insurance, welding books and training, and other services.
  For more information on the benefits of joining AWS , visit or call 1-800-443-9453.  

The Alabama One Call System and KorTerra, Inc. are beginning a partnership to provide KorTerra’s web based One Call Ticket Management software at no cost to AOC members.
  Providing KorWeb to AOC members will provide members with the latest technology to receive and manage their one-call ticket information, according to AOC Executive Director Annette Reburn.

On February 28, the Tulsa Welding School (TWS) hosted its Fifth Annual High School Senior Welding Competition (known as VICA) in Tulsa, OK. The 176 competitors represented over 120 high schools from 11 different states in what has become a huge regional welding event.
  The competitors, who came from agricultural, mechanic, and vo-tech welding programs, had prepared for several months for the competition. The contest consisted of a stick welding project requiring multiple rods, positions, and techniques. Contestants were graded on adherence to welding procedures and on the quality of their welds.
  Mathey Dearman was on hand to show its Motorized Short Saddle Cutting and Beveling Machine and its newest magnetized cutting machine, the MiniMag XM, used in conjunction with the Hypertherm 45 Plasma Cutting System. Throughout the day, Mathey Dearman provided quality cutting and clamping information to the students and attendees.
  Over $110,000 in scholarships, cash, and prizes were awarded to the competitors, with the First Place winner receiving a full tuition scholarship to TWS. Missouri schools dominated the event, taking seven of the top 12 places. First through fifth places were earned by Lance Overstreet of Jefferson City, MO;  C.J. McDonald of Calhoun, MO; Ethan Strain of Higbee, MO; Alicia George of Page, AZ; and Logan Taylor of Taylor, AR.

IronPlanet®, an online auction company for used construction and agricultural equipment, announced the completion of its largest single-day auction on January 29, with $20.88 million worth of equipment sold. This represents a 10%  increase over the company’s previous single-day record ― $18.97 million, set on January 31, 2008.
  More than 15,000 visitors from 147 countries participated in the auctions, which featured more than 750 lots located in 30 states. Twenty percent of the equipment sold at auction went to international buyers located in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.
  2009 is expected to be a good year for the company. Online auction are being conducted in North America, Europe, and Australia. “As we continue to expand our global reach and enhance the services we provide, I’m confident we will increase sales and our share of the global auction marketplace,”
  Customers around the world are turning to IronPlanet as a faster and more profitable way to buy and sell used equipment,” said Gregory J. Owens, chairman and CEO of IronPlanet.

Constance “Connie” Grife, wife of Larry Grife, assistant superintendent for Abercrombie Pipeline Services, LLC, died at the age of 58 in Grand Junction, CO Jan. 14, 2009. Connie’s interests included her husband, children and grandchildren. No other information available.