Customers in Action

Clary Hood Inc.


April 13, 2015

Komatsu equipment - high production and low costs

Clary Hood Inc.

Like many in his industry, Clary Hood grew up moving dirt. During high school, he set his schedule so he could be out at noon and work for his dad. When he graduated, he and his father formed a partnership called Hood Construction Company.

In 1980, the two split, and he founded Clary Hood Inc. During the past 35 years, it has grown from a small business doing earthwork jobs into one that now provides full site-development packages, from clearing and grubbing to landscaping, sodding and irrigation. The Spartanburg, S.C., firm has in-house civil engineers that work with customers to design-build, as well as value engineer, commercial, industrial, public and residential projects to get them done in the most cost-effective manner possible.

“Our mission statement is to respect and treasure the relationships we have with our clients and perform in a manner that is both profitable and professional,” said Hood, who is CEO. “We exemplify that by offering our clients turnkey projects done on time and on budget. We have a great deal of experience on our staff, so we know how to best sequence a project to maximize efficiency and production.”

Clary Hood Inc. employs about 140 people who complete projects throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. In addition to Hood, key individuals include President Andy Painter, Vice President Tom Addley, CFO Chris Phillips, Estimator/Project Manager Justin Pearson, Equipment Fleet Manager Todd Mitchell, and Office Manager Tammy McCraw.

Thrives on challenging projects

The company works on about 15 jobs a year and is currently working on one of its largest projects, a new equestrian resort in North Carolina. The threeto five-year project began about a year ago with tree clearing and erosion control. On this project, Clary Hood Inc. has moved more than 2 million yards of dirt, put in more than 30,000 feet of new utility lines and constructed several retaining walls, some as high as 55 feet.

“In one area, we had a 72-foot cut,” said Painter. “We’re handling all phases of the site work. Much of the work is done on a design-build basis, so we have to be flexible as we go. We’ve faced challenges, but that’s never deterred us. We thrive on these types of projects.”

Clary Hood Inc. recently completed another challenging project, which involved moving about 500,000 yards of dirt and installing 4,000 feet of 24- to 72-inch storm pipe in wet, unstable and rocky conditions for a new BMW plant in South Carolina. Clearing; subgrade and building-pad prep; and paving were also part of its scope of work.

“We constructed the roadway and ponds on each side that are connected by a 260-foot box culvert,” said Pearson. “Each section was about 10 feet long and weighed roughly 55,000 pounds. We were able to set it in one day, which is quite an accomplishment.”

Currently, Clary Hood Inc. is providing site work for a new industrial facility. It’s moving about 30,000 yards of dirt per day in order to have roughly 1.7 million total yards moved during a nearly four-month period. The 200-acre project site also calls for utility installation; a three-sided culvert; building-pad and roadway construction; erosion control; clearing; and more.

Clary Hood Inc. continues to work on a mid-sized job it started about three years ago at a manufacturing plant. Originally, it called for moving less than 500,000 yards of earth, but changes significantly increased the amount. Crews have also installed extensive amounts of utilities and constructed lined ponds as well.

“The fact that this customer wants us to stay on site and do more tells us that they appreciate our timely, quality service,” said Painter. “As a company, that’s what we aim for: repeat business based on taking care of the customer.”

Longtime Komatsu user

Clary Hood Inc.

Hood’s first piece of equipment was a used bulldozer he bought for $2,500. “I worked on it more than I worked with it,” he joked. “But, that’s what I had to do to survive. I’ve learned a lot through the years, and one thing that’s stuck with me is that good equipment is invaluable, which is a big reason why we use Komatsu today.”

Clary Hood Inc.’s fleet includes about 130 pieces of equipment, and about 90 percent of it is comprised of Komatsu excavators, dozers, articulated trucks and mechanical trucks, including new D61PXi-23 intelligent Machine Control dozers. The company also runs standard D61PX-23 and D51PX-22 models.

“We’ve used aftermarket GPS systems for many years because that technology makes getting to final grade easier, more accurate and reduces excess material costs,” said Painter. “Komatsu’s integrated GPS with automatic blade control makes dozing from rough-cut to finish grade more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. The operators love the new intelligent dozers, and we like the fact that there are no masts or cables to take down and put on, which is safer for our personnel and increases valuable production time. There is no chance of them getting damaged or stolen either, which is a cost savings as well.”

“The D61 and D51 dozers in general are the best ever made, as far as I’m concerned,” added Hood. “They have great balance, are smooth to operate and the visibility is unmatched with the slant-nose design. We do 95 percent of our own repairs, and Komatsu made the dozers easy to work on. They are far and away superior to any dozer I’ve ever run, and I’ve tried about all of them.”

Hood said he has come to expect Komatsu machines to stand out from the crowd. Clary Hood’s first Komatsu piece was a used PC200 excavator he bought in the 1980s. Today, he owns several Tier 4 machines, including PC210LC-10, PC360LC-10 and PC390LC-10 excavators; the dozers; and HM400-3 articulated haul trucks. He also has HD465-7 mechanical trucks, as well as older-model excavators.

“The way that first PC200 was built and performed convinced me that Komatsu makes the best excavators. That led to buying dozers and articulated and mechanical trucks. About 90 percent of our fleet is comprised of Komatsu, and every time we update to a new model, we find that it’s as productive and efficient, if not more so, than the previous one, while maintaining Komatsu’s reliability,” said Hood. “They’ve been bulletproof throughout the years.”

“Komatsu has also added value with technology, including KOMTRAX, and service-related programs such as Komatsu CARE,” Painter commented. “They’re great tools to track our fleet’s use and idle time, while ensuring scheduled maintenance is done on time. Linder tracks the Tier 4 machines and calls us when a service is due, then performs it on-site at a convenient time for us. The Komatsu CARE program is provided complimentary, which is icing on the cake.”

Clary Hood Inc. calls on Linder Industrial Machinery for additional service as needed and works with Sales Representative Andy Chapman to purchase Komatsu equipment as well as Hamm rollers. “We appreciate the service Komatsu, Linder and Andy provide,” said Painter. “They have always been excellent to work with. Andy finds us the equipment we need, and Linder backs it with good parts and service support. If we need anything, they respond quickly.”

Good people equal success

Hood feels the same about his staff. He credits them for Clary Hood Inc.’s success. “I believe in surrounding myself with good people, and this is the best group in the business,” said Hood. “Clary Hood Inc.’s reputation has been built as much on our employees’ hard work as it has on mine. They’re like family, and I enjoy coming to work every day and watching them manage the business. My philosophy has always been that if you love what you do, you should keep doing it, and I still love earthmoving. It’s why I have no intention of retiring anytime soon.”