Greg Cox, a mechanic with the N.C. Forest Service, was recently named 2013 NCDA&CS Employee of the Year. Cox is responsible for the maintenance and repair of more than 100 pieces of equipment across an eight-county district. This stock ranges from pickup trucks with slip-on firefighting units to heavy equipment such as bulldozers, forklifts and motor graders. He also supervises a mechanic, forest fire equipment operator and smoke chaser.
“Greg demonstrates a can-do attitude and a spirit of innovation that is admirable in employees,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “He is the go-to-guy for repair advice, not only in his district but across the state.” Cox’s innovation has resulted in a technique to repair hitches used on bulldozers to pull large plows. He has rebuilt about 20 hitches over the years, saving the Forest Service about $600 for each hitch. He has also developed and built two fire plows that allow more accurate control of plow depth. These plows work well in sandier soils and still have to capability to get through thick root mats in organic soils.
Cox is one of two mechanics in his district who are on call 24 hours a day for repairs needed on firefighting equipment. These calls are often after hours and require the work to be done outside in all kinds of weather conditions. In 2011, Cox had seven different dispatches outside the district on fires and was away from his family a total of 93 days. Many of these dispatches requested Cox by name because of his reputation for quality work.
Cox lives in Rockingham and has been with the N.C. Forest Service since August 1983. His district includes Anson, Moore, Chatham, Richmond, Lee, Scotland, Montgomery and Stanly counties.
The NCDA&CS Employee of the Year is chosen from the pool of 12 employees honored during the year as Employee of the Month.