Empire Winner Represents US in Cat Global Operator Challenge

Matt Ferris knows his way around a machine or four. Matt, who competed at Empire’s Operator Challenge competition at Eloy in September, won the Western Regional challenge in October and will represent the US as one of 9 participants in the Global Operator Challenge in Las Vegas at CONEXPO on March 14, 2023.

Matt, a senior civil superintendent for Kinkaid Civil Construction, was registered to participate in the local challenge by his boss and thought it would be fun to see if he still had the skills from his time as a daily operator. Matt, racing against the clock and his son/fellow challenger, Matt Ferris, Jr., was the final competitor on the last day of the 3-day event and successfully completed 4 challenges on a medium excavator, dozer, medium wheel loader and compact track loader to take the lead among 40 finishers.

Matt Ferris crossing his arms in front of a line of excavators

One month later, he competed against 18 other operators at the Western Regional Finals in Clayton, NC, at the Edward J Rapp Customer Demonstration and Learning Center. The full-day event included challenges on a backhoe loader, wheel loader and excavator and concluded with the awards ceremony.

Next week, Matt will represent the US alongside the Eastern Regional Finals winner from Holt Caterpillar in Texas, both vying for the ultimate title against 7 other operators from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Poland, and Sweden. The 9 finalists competed against more than 5,000 other operators to earn their spot at CONEXPO.

Originally from a small town in Michigan, Matt has been an Arizona resident for more than three decades and is proud to call San Tan Valley his home. Construction has been in Matt’s family for four generations, starting with his grandfather and continuing with his son/coworker.

Matt Ferris

“I’m amazed how far I’ve made it in this competition. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge so far, and it’s been great to meet so many people in the industry."


Derek Borum, VP Field Operations at Kinkaid, will be cheering Matt on at the Global event. “He’s one of the best operators I’ve ever seen. He deserves this.”

The winner of the Global Operator Challenge will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to any Caterpillar location worldwide.

Watch the live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

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