A cut above BRIAN DWIGHT: I own Dwight Crane [worldwide entertainment crane company with offices in Ajax and Los Angeles]. I bought my first crane when I was 19 years old—I sold everything I owned which wasn’t much. I came up with $5,000 and borrowed $10,000 to buy the crane and that was the beginning. TT: Did you start your career as a hoisting engineer - mobile crane operator, or were you doing something else prior to entering the trades? BD: I got my ticket right after I bought the crane and I started working in light construction. I was an arts student but not at any fancy college—I went to trade school, Sir Robert L. Borden in Scarborough. They were giving away the crane operator licence 43 years ago when I got it and there wasn’t anyone to account for what the trades really do, until now. TT: How important is the work of the Ontario College of Trades? BD: I absolutely think what the College does is so necessary. I’ve had a licence for many years and I’ve definitely seen a shortage because the industry has grown so much, there’s got to be more properly trained and certified crane operators. Many of the shoots we travel to don’t require a licence to operate a crane and every time, we see horrific accidents. Bad things can happen to untrained people.
TT: How did you end up in the position you are today—as the owner of Dwight Crane Ltd; a very successful crane, aerial and LRX lighting equipment and construction business? BD: I got my start in film when a production company called wanting to move a small statue on a set in Toronto. They’d called every crane company in the city and no one could do it but they said I was kinda weird, that maybe I could do it. It’s good to be different—recognizing your strengths, and your weaknesses. Now we’re close to 500 cranes working on 100-200 TV shows, films and commercials at a time, around the world. TT: How has the trade and the equipment that you’ve used evolved in the past 40 years? BD: Oh man, it’s changed the world. From lights on stands to fully robotic systems that keep operators out of harm’s way. That was always my fear—putting people in aerial lift equipment for film lighting—that someday, someone might be killed. After enduring that worry for a few years, we started improvising on the lighting side, modifying a film light to make it robotic so that operators wouldn’t have to go up in the air. We decided to build our own robotic lighting systems here in Canada. It’s all about knowing what you’re good at and building around it. And ask—if you don’t know how to do something; ask, ask, ask, ask, ask.
P H OTO G R A P H Y B Y K R I S C A E TA N O
Trades Today: Can you tell me a bit about yourself, where you’re from, and how you first started working as a hoisting engineer - mobile crane operator 1?
Trades Today Fall 2017 Volume 4, Edition 3