Learn More About The Staff & Trainers Behind Liberty Crane and Rigging Consultants, LLC

Howard Kaplan, Owner

Liberty CRC’s owner, Howard Kaplan is a decorated veteran that served in the U.S. Navy Seabees for over 13 years. Howard served in the first Gulf War in 1991 and in the operation Restore Hope in Somalia, Africa in 1992 / 1993. Howard had the privilege to serve with what he considers to be the finest men and women in the crane and rigging field in ACB-1 in San Diego as the Crane Crew Supervisor. Upon his Honorable Discharge, Howard worked at one of the oldest and most respected training companies in the country. After being promoted to Gulf Coast Manager, Howard left Louisiana and moved to Arizona where he worked as the safety and training director for two of the largest crane rental companies in the southwest.

After working for other small business owners, in 2010 Howard decided to join them and started Liberty Crane and Rigging Consultants LLC with the aspiration to create a training company that would have the tools and ability to help change the crane and rigging industry into the safest industry possible. We think he has done just that.

Meet Our Staff & Trainers

Darla Kaplan, Office Manager

In my position as Office Manager, I wear many hats. I’m also the Open Enrollment Coordinator for all NCCCO certification classes, handle accounting, HR and a variety of other office related tasks.

Coming into the Crane and Rigging field was a big learning experience for me. After working for 12 years as a Customer Service Representative for Johnson Plastics, an Engraving Plastics Distributor here in the valley, the company was sold to another vendor and was no longer the place for me. The opportunity to work for Liberty Crane and Rigging came at just the right the time in October of 2016. Prior to that, I was a Manager with Office Depot for 10 years working as a Customer Service Manager, Copy and Print Center Manager, Receiving Manager and overseeing the Cash Office responsibilities in California, Florida, and Louisiana.

I have an AAS degree in Business and Accounting, but most of my knowledge and experience has come from just doing the job.

I enjoy working with our customers to ensure they are well taken care of.

Patrick Smith, Senior Trainer

I have been in the training and safety field for 30 years. I started training in AHA First Aid/CPR in 1987 for a Boy Scout Explorer Post. In 1991 I received my National Registry Basic Emergency Medical Technician License. In 1994 I enlisted in the US Army as 91B Combat Medical Specialist, Training (First Aid/CPR refresher, Combat Lifesaver) was part of my assigned duties. I completed my service in 1998 and worked for 11 months in the fire safety field with Grinnell Fire Protection as a fire extinguisher technician, sprinkler inspector and assisted with alarm installation/inspection. From November 1998 until March 2017 I work in the construction safety field. I have worked in most all aspects of construction to include: High tech, High rise, Construction Management, General Contractor, and Sub Contractors: Piping, Mechanical, Architectural, Electrical. I worked in the subcontracting specialties of Deep Foundation Piles, Heavy Demolition, and Roofing. I have worked as a Safety Representative, Project Safety Manager, Regional Safety Manager, and Corporate Safety Manager, in many areas and regions of the United States. Since March of 2017 I have been employed with Liberty Crane & Rigging as an instructor and fall protection/prevention technical expert. I work with our clients to identify their fall protection needs, as well as recommend the appropriate fall protection system that will best meet the needs of the client.

Bill Hicks, Trainer/Inspector

With over 20 years in the crane and rigging industry Bill brings a widely varied skill set and depth of experience to our company. He has managed projects with annual gross revenues over $5 million. Bill was a safety professional teaching classes and providing on-site safety services for one of the largest and most respected crane and rigging companies in the Southwest. As a field hand he has worked for many years as a crane operator, crane oiler, rigger, and heavy haul truck driver.

Prior to that, Bill was employed as an over the road truck driver for several years. He has been training people in almost every job he has held. He trained people as a firearms instructor for the Arizona Dept. of Corrections, trained people to develop their own independent businesses, and trained people to make pizza for Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, and a Mom & Pop pizza shop.

Bill is an OSHA Outreach Instructor, OSHA authorized forklift operator & inspector, OSHA authorized aerial lift operator & inspector, and previously was an NCCCO examiner. He is currently an NCCCO certified operator of Fixed Cab, Swing Cab, Lattice Boom, Articulated Boom, Service Truck, and Boom Truck Cranes.