Judds Brothers Construction

THERE’S NOT MUCH THIS LONGTIME LINCOLN, NEB., CONTRACTING FIRM CAN’T DO

Jan 23, 2012

Versatile, reliable Komatsu equipment

Since its founding almost 50 years ago, Judds Brothers Construction has grown to become one of the leading full-service construction firms in eastern Nebraska. Based in Lincoln, Judds Brothers offers a wide range of services, including construction management, general contracting, concrete work, steel erection and railroad construction. In recent years, its focus has trended more toward site work and utility construction. Large-diameter pipe installation is a specialty. The company also builds overflow structures, pump stations and treatment plants.

“The fact that we offer such a wide range of services means we’re able to bid many types of jobs,” said President Kevin Steele. “Recently, a large percentage of our work has been site, excavation and utilities, but we still do railroad work, concrete and steel erection, too. Our versatility as a company is a big plus because it allows us to react to markets and go where the work is.”

“As a company, there’s not much we can’t do,” confirmed CEO John Judds. “We’ll look at any job, but we tend to do larger, more complicated projects that require a high level of expertise. That’s where we believe we really shine.”

Judds Brothers currently employs about 50 to 55 people. The company works primarily in central and eastern Nebraska, but also travels throughout the Midwest for jobs.

“We’re large enough to do most of the big jobs that are out there,” said Judds. “The key to our success is our people. We have many employees who’ve been with us for decades. They bring a tremendous amount of experience and expertise to our jobs. Our employees are our most valued resource and we believe their skill, conscientious attitude and dedication help set us apart from many other companies.”

In addition to John Judds and Steele, the management team at Judds Brothers includes John’s father Ray, who founded the company and, at age 83, remains Owner and Chairman of the Board. Ray is still involved in the business daily. Other key personnel include CFO Jordan Dowdy, who handles accounting and financial activities, and Secretary/Project Manager Jesse Walz, who oversees much of the field work.

Big jobs

Judds Brothers has had a hand in many large and significant projects through the years. Among them, numerous multimillion-dollar jobs for the City of Lincoln Water System and the Metropolitan Utilities District (Omaha); a $6.5 million contract to dismantle 150 Minuteman missile launch facilities at Whiteman Air Force Base near Kansas City, Mo.; and significant railroad improvement projects in Lincoln and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Recent or current large jobs include a mass excavation at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Neb.; a bridge over Antelope Creek on South Street in Lincoln; and the initial site-prep package for the new Haymarket Arena in Lincoln.

“They’re all very different jobs which represent the wide variety of work we’re able to do,” said John Judds. “The Kearney hospital job requires excavation and a tremendous amount of shoring. The bridge job includes demolition and utility relocation as well as building the bridge itself. And the Haymarket Arena involved site work with a large amount of soil remediation.”

The Haymarket is an area near downtown Lincoln that was selected by the city and the University of Nebraska as the site for a new multipurpose arena, which will house Husker basketball as well as other events.

“The Haymarket area was previously owned by the railroad,” explained Project Manager Jesse Walz. “It was run-down, and the soil was contaminated by petroleum. We excavated and hauled away all the old material that was not suitable to build on. Then we brought in new fill material and recompacted it. In total, it was about 200,000 yards of material. We also had to relocate utilities, including a 15-inch trunk sewer that was about 16 feet deep.

“It was a tough job in that we had to meet time lines, yet the railroad was holding us up. They had a great deal of flood damage to deal with this year, in addition to this project,” he added. “In the end, we were still able to get it done and turned over to the builder a day before it was due.”

“We love to be involved in large, community-wide projects like the Haymarket Arena,” said Judds. “Lincoln is our hometown. Much of our staff consists of University of Nebraska-Lincoln construction management grads. As a company and as individuals, we’ve been here a long time and we have a lot of civic pride. In years to come, it will be fun for us to look back on this job.”

Reliable, longlasting Komatsu equipment

To help Judds Brothers complete jobs like the Haymarket Arena in a timely, efficient manner, the company turns to RoadBuilders Machinery and Supply in Lincoln for hydraulic excavators and wheel loaders.

“We’ve used Komatsu equipment for many years,” said Judds. “We have a WA320 wheel loader that’s been a really good machine. With all our utility work, excavators are often lead machines for us, and we use Komatsu excavators almost exclusively.”

The company currently has four Komatsu excavators ranging from a PC220LC-7 up to a PC600LC-8.

“We’ve found Komatsu excavators to be very solid machines,” said Judds. “A big advantage is, they don’t nickel and dime us to death. They’re reliable. They work every day with very little downtime. They also hold their value so we get a good trade-in when it’s time to upgrade.

“We recently traded in an older-model PC400 for a new PC400LC-8 and I almost hated to do it,” he added. “The old one had 16,000 hours on it so it was definitely time for a change, but it still ran great. That machine was a rock star. Our first PC600 also had high hours on it when we replaced it. We were already fans of Komatsu excavators but the longevity and reliability we got out of those two machines are good examples of why we like Komatsu so much.”

Judds Brothers also appreciates the support they get from RoadBuilders Machinery and Supply.

“Our first dealing with RoadBuilders was in Kansas City, when we used Komatsu excavators with attachments to help on our job dismantling the missile silos,” Judds recalled. “Based on our experience with them, we were pleased when they became the Komatsu dealer in Nebraska about a decade ago. Our Sales Rep Dru Davidson and everybody in the Lincoln and Omaha offices go out of their way to provide the equipment and support we need to be successful.”

Optimistic about what’s ahead

Like most construction companies, Judds Brothers has been affected by the slow economy, but both Steele and Judds are optimistic about the future.

“We expect the economy to continue to get better during the next few years and as it does, we think we’re in position to grow right along with it,” said Judds. “There are also some big jobs in the area right now that we hope to participate in. For example, Omaha is being required to separate its sanitary sewer from storm water drainage. It’s called CSO! (Clean Solutions for Omaha!) and that type of work is right up our alley, so we’re hopeful we’ll win one of those bids soon. We have the people and the equipment to be very competitive in that market.”

“At Judds Brothers, we try to be consistent,” noted Steele. “We don’t chase everything and try to get too big too fast. We just want to be known as one of the good guys, one of the quality contractors that you turn to when you want the job done right.”

“That philosophy has served us well and earned us many repeat customers,” added Judds. “As long as we continue to give our customers quality, on-time work at a fair price, we believe we’ll be able to continue to earn their good will, and continue to earn their business in the years to come.”