O.J. Watson helps power agency hit new heights

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OJ Watson

Denver-based custom truck builder O.J. Watson is taking customers to new heights.

For the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), that meant getting to high-voltage electrical equipment in all sorts of weather and terrain.

The Western Area Power Administration is one of four Power Marketing Administrations created to deliver and market energy generated from hydroelectric plants operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the International Boundary and Water Commission. It sells and transmits power through 17,000 miles of lines radiating from 56 federal dams and the Navajo Generating Station to millions of users in 15 western states.

To meet its goals, WAPA found itself in need of a heavy-duty aerial boom truck.

The Elliot G72 HiReach Aerial Platform can reach in any direction and lift workers and tools 72 feet high and 62 feet to either side.

“When we mounted the G72 to a heavy-duty Freightliner truck body, we knew WAPA would have a rugged, reliable piece of equipment that would be ideally suited to the demands that working in the Intermountain West place on their crews,” says Mark Eckrich, Watson’s Senior Vice President.

Elliot Industries has been designing and building truck-mounted telescoping aerial work platforms and cranes since its founder, Richard Elliot, developed the first one in Omaha, Neb. in 1948.

Elliot developed the first truck-mounted telescoping platforms, and the company has carried his vision forward into the present. Today the G72 HiReach platform is part of an extensive line of customizable machines that the company calls “the machine that launched an industry.”

The boom uses a single-acting, full displacement long-stroke cylinder to raise loads up to 500 pounds on a 30 x 54-inch platform. A holding valve prevents the boom from falling in the event of a failure in the hydraulic system. Once the boom reaches working height, the turret rotates on a large-diameter ball bearing mount that gives continuous motion through a self-locking gear box for smooth and safe positioning.

Because each agency, municipality and contractor has its own requirements, O.J. Watson’s staff meets with each party to properly spec a truck. O.J. Watson’s team then designs the work truck to meet the standards set forth and once the truck design is approved, O.J. Watson’s Denver facility mates the work platform to the vehicle that will carry it and installs the controls necessary to operate it.

“Our goal is always to go beyond simply selling our customer a truck,” says Eckrich, a member of O.J. Watson’s ownership family. “We create business solutions by matching the customer with the size and style of truck best suited to their needs.”

If that means finding a specialty manufacturer like Elliot Equipment to work with on a custom design, that’s what O.J. Watson does. “We’re only as good as the last truck we made,” Eckrich adds, “and we keep that uppermost in mind on every project.”

In addition to Aerial Bucket Trucks, O.J. Watson builds Service Body Trucks, Crane Trucks and Mechanic Trucks, Platform Trucks, Dump Trucks, Hook Lifts, and a wide variety of Snow & Ice Control equipment.