Portfolio

A collection of my writing and produced video highlighting storytelling and explanatory narrative #

Alberta residents walk away from devastation #

Part of The Tuscaloosa News’ Pulitzer-Prize Winning Entry for Breaking News #

As scores of her Alberta neighbors walked slowly in a mass exodus west
along University Boulevard on Thursday morning, Brenda Gibson stood
staring across the street at what was once her home. Looking south, a
small white house stood out among the waves of broken trees and
splintered wood, standing but leaning over, its front porch broken in
half.

“It’s demolished,” Gibson said. “I’m still in shock. I’m like ‘Pinch
me. Wake me up.’ This just can’t be true.”

All that Gibson has left, like so many others in Alberta, are the clothes she salvaged from her home, along with a bottle of grape soda and some snacks she pulled from the rubble of a convenience store.

“We don’t have any food or water. After going through our house we were walking up to the Piggly Wiggly because the police were supposed to have water there when we saw the people here,” she said.

More than a dozen people had gathered atop the mound of rubble and were desperately digging through the debris, hoping to salvage drinks and food before getting back to their destroyed homes or continuing to walk west, away from the death and destruction.

“I was just trying to get my grandkids something to eat,” Gibson said.

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Cat Renamed the D6K2 Dozer to the D4 Here’s Why They Did It #


Will the 2021 Ford Bronco Make a Good Construction or Work Truck? Everything You Need to Know #


Case Unveils DL550B: Unique 2-in-1 machine is both small dozer and large CTL #

Equipment World #
An explanation and history of how Case built a true 2-in-1 machine #

At ConExpo 2020 Case followed its unveiling of a fully-electric backhoe with the introduction of the DL550B, a machine that represents an entirely new machine category—the compact dozer loader—and one that has been several years in the making under the code name Project Minotaur.

The DL550B isn’t just a compact track loader equipped with a dozer blade. From the undercarriage to a chassis-integrated C-frame, to full machine control support, it was designed to be a true two-in-one machine, capable of both heavy dozing and loading tasks.

The DL550B traces its origins back to ConExpo 2017. At that show, Case introduced a prototype it was affectionately calling Project Minotaur, a reference to the monster from Greek mythology that was part man, part bull. Or in the case of Case’s monster, part compact track loader, part bulldozer.

Open on YouTube-> #

The model name for that original Minotaur prototype was the DL450 a nod to Case’s former 450 dozer. It was created by taking the base frame of a vertical-lift TV380 CTL that was then married with a radial-lift loader arm design similar to that of the former Case 465 skid steer.

That prototype concept created a huge amount of buzz at ConExpo 2017. The production machine unveiled at ConExpo 2020, however, is a very different beast.

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Is Your Car Smarter Than You? #

Good Grit Magazine #

Near the beginning of a conversation that would take us through his time as a teenage pro wakeboarder traveling the globe, the job interview he had with Elon Musk, and how he turned down a shot at the Olympics to accept a scholarship to the University of Florida, Jonathan Azevedo asks me if I’m familiar with the classic cartoon, The Jetsons.

“Remember when they would show the cars flying and they’d be a foot apart and traveling really fast with no interruptions? That’s essentially where we’re going,” he says.

And while he isn’t suggesting we’ll be flying to the supermarket anytime soon, Jonathan believes our lives will soon get a little bit easier, thanks to the advent of the self-driving car.

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New Komatsu WA475-10 Wheel Loader Has Hydraulic Mechanical Transmission & Redesigned Cab #

Equipment World #
An explanation of how Komatsu’s new hydraulic mechanical transmission enabled the company to add power and fuel efficiency in its next generation of wheel loaders. #
Open on YouTube-> #

Why Cat changed its machine branding—and the story behind that red hexagon #

Equipment World #

A growing product line and competitor imitation were two major factors
in the recently unveiled redesign of the Caterpillar trade dress, the
combination of logo and styling that the company uses to brand its
machines and other products.

This is according to Ed Stembridge, product identity manager at Cat and
the leader of the design team behind the new product styling. Stembridge
discussed the new product styling and the process of its development
during an interview with Equipment World in the days following its
reveal.  

As a 17-year veteran of the company well-versed in its both its history
and the strides it has taken into the digital age, Stembridge is uniquely suited to lead something as critical as dreaming up a new look for the company’s heavy equipment and variety of other products. He also
led the team behind the last trade dress redesign, developed between
2005 and 2006.

“For one thing we’ve seen just a tremendous increase in the amount of technology that’s in a Cat product,” Stembridge says. “That’s driven some challenges to how we apply the brand to a product. In a lot of cases we have grilles and other features that may not have been there 10 years ago that make it harder to brand the machine and integrate that branding into the machine’s design.”

Another difference in the company driving the need for a change, Stembridge says, is the size of Cat’s product offering. He says the company likely has 30-40 percent more distinct products now than it did when “Power Edge” was released.

But there were also external factors in the redesign, Stembridge says. “We have seen a proliferation of competitors starting to use an imitation of the Power Edge design on their machines,” he says. “The more that happens the more it weakens the association of that trade dress to our brand.”

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TyBot: This Robot Autonomously Ties As Much Rebar As a Crew of Workers #

Equipment World #
Open on YouTube #

Komatsu WA900-8 Wheel Loader Does the Digging and Dumping For You #

Equipment World #
A deep dive into Komatsu’s new semi-autonomous loader features work #
Open on YouTube-> #

Trimble’s new SPS986 eliminates need for base station in GPS rover surveys #

Equipment World #
Open on YouTube-> #

Bobcat unveils iPhone/iPad remote control, bringing drone-like operation to skid steers, CTLs #

Equipment World #

Maybe the single biggest factor in the growth of drones from a
controversial and expensive hobby into a mundane example of consumer
electronics is the incredible rate at which these flying cameras became
easier to operate. 

Within just a couple years, we went from seeing countless examples on
YouTube of $1,000 Christmas drones being crashed or lost to bodies of
water, to new models that fold up in the palm of your hand with
smartphone apps that made piloting them as easy as playing a video game
or pressing a single on-screen button. Similarly, remote control heavy
equipment operation is not a new concept. 

Machines of all sizes have been remote operable, but they’ve mostly
required complicated, expensive controllers so enormous and heavy that
they require a neck strap. Until the introduction of Bobcat’s
MaxControl, that is.

Read more


Inside Smart Construction: Komatsu’s tech consultation service seeks to level playing field for the company and its customers #

Equipment World #

When Komatsu introduced Smart Construction here in the States two years
ago, it was actually the second launch of the service. 

The first occurred a year earlier in the company’s home country of
Japan, where the world’s No. 2 heavy equipment manufacturer began
offering a fully-automated site preparation service. The company runs
machines equipped with fully-integrated GPS/GNSS machine control in
full-auto with little assistance or interference by operators, using
site data provided by drones and 3D laser scanners. 

Since the launch, the service has grown quickly and has been used on
more than 5,500 Japanese jobsites. The Japanese service has added 1,500
jobsites in the past seven months alone, and recently launched a new
option called EverydayDrone for those customers who only require drone
surveys. But for the American service, the offering was slightly
different. In the States, the primary focus of the new initiative was
customer support. Namely, offering comprehensive support for intelligent
machine control (iMC), which in the U.S. are all run by operators in a
semi-auto configuration: hands on the controls but taking advantage of
the time savings and precise cuts machine control provides.

Though it appears that Komatsu has launched two completely different
businesses—an automated site prep service in Japan and an AppleCare-like
service for intelligent earthmovers here in the U.S., there is now more
commonality between the U.S. and Japanese versions than there may
appear.

Read more


Families unite for traditional Indian ceremony #

The Tuscaloosa News #

Brijesh Darji sat with his hands folded, staring straight into the white
cloth inches away from his face.  

Meanwhile, nearly 800 others stood, taking pictures and clamoring over
an entrance fit for a princess that was taking place behind him. Dipping
through the doorway came a woman whose attire sparkled shades of red and gold in the overhead light and camera flashes. 

As she laid in the small bed carried by her uncles, she smiled bright
and wide below the sheer veil with golden accents covering her long,
black hair. As she was carried to the altar, Darji remained focused on
the cloth, only looking away to share a quick smile with the girl’s
brother, who held the sheet until the right time.

After Snaha Patel was lowered to the altar, she sat, paying mind to the
ruffles and ends of her long, ornate dress. And as she brought her hands
together to smooth out any wrinkles, she looked up, the sheet dropped,
and the two locked eyes and laughed. After the stress of planning the
moment for almost a year, Darji and Patel were finally enjoying the
happiness of a traditional Hindu wedding. …

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$10 wins turtle’s freedom #

The Tuscaloosa News #

He had already lost $10. He wasn’t about to lose his finger too.

But as William Wilder reached down to retrieve most of his left index finger
from the clutches of a 70-pound alligator snapping turtle, the turtle
struck again. …

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Field of memories #

The Tuscaloosa News #

As the scattered gravel crunches beneath Jerry Lancaster’s feet on the
winding clay path, something happens. 

The trees that border each bend of the path, stretching half a mile or
more on either side to the Sipsey River, sink into the ground as grass
rises from beneath decades of dead leaves and pine straw. The path
disappears, as does Lancaster’s slow pace, as the years fall away and he
strides confidently up to home plate, the orange sun warm against his
cheek as it slowly sets behind first base. 

He recalls the chatter of the infield, the pop of the baseball as it
whips into the catcher’s mitt and the country air slightly tinged with
the smell of cow dung. But after awhile, the trees come back and the
grass disappears. And the 50 years since Lancaster and countless other
men gripped a bat in a now overgrown cow pasture pass in an instant.
‘But in my mind, I can see everything that went on down here,’ he
smiled. What happened there was baseball in its purest form. …

Read more


What it takes to be a roller derby girl #

The Tuscaloosa News #

“Rink.”

Whoever said it shouldn’t have, and it’s unlikely they’ll do it again in
the presence of Tammy Joe Hallman. 

Better known by her derby alias, Dixie Thrash, Hallman is the head coach
of the Birmingham roller derby squad The Tragic City Rollers. And in the
middle of conducting a practice built around the right ways to take a
hit, “rink” is one of the last words Hallman wanted to hear. “It’s not a
rink, it’s a track,” she yelled at the 15 or so women standing around
her at Skates 280.

“Rinks are where little girls twirl.“

There is no twirling in roller derby. …

Read more


No obstacle in sight #

The Tuscaloosa News #

Liam White’s skinny legs sprawl over the carpet as he reads one of his
favorite scary stories out loud. The legs are speckled with mosquito
bites and small bruises, evidence of a little boy who plays rough and
has seen the day retire before his imagination was ready to do the same.
He pulls the book in close as light flows into the room, highlighting
the movement of his fingers as they dance in irregular patterns across
the raised symbols. While those around him depend on the light, it’s
useless to him. Liam is blind. …

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Greatest generation

The Tuscaloosa News #

For a time, death was never far from Archie Meeks.

It moved in during Meeks’ service aboard the U.S.S. Colorado, when a Japanese attack fired 22 shell hits while the ship was floating near the island of Tinian. But perhaps death was closest when he set foot onto the tiny Japanese island of Iwo Jima and took part in one of the most violent battles in U.S. military history. Meeks, 85, earned two Purple Hearts and, before World War II was over, made stops at a total of nine Japanese-occupied islands in the South Pacific while taking part in seven invasions.

“The main memory I took away from it all was coming out alive,” said Meeks, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps. “And I still carry the anxiety from
it.“

Saturday, Meeks moved through the shadows of marble monuments
within the capital of a nation he risked his life to protect.

Read more


 
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