“The Komatsu was so much smoother, and everything worked so well together”
Jim Scarbrough’s South Fulton, Georgia,
general store was a popular location for loggers
in the mid- to late-1980s. The attraction was
natural, because Jim was a retired logging
veteran, and his brothers and friends who
remained in the industry would stop by for
conversation and supplies. The store also served
as an impromptu daycare for Jim’s grandson,
Frank, who came to idolize its patrons.
“I saw people who accomplished things,”
recalled Frank. “They came in smelly and dirty,
but they made an honest living and were happy
and content. They left an impression. I knew
that’s what I wanted to be.”
As Frank grew up, he set his sights on
becoming a business owner. However, exactly
what type of company it would be was up in
the air. When working toward an engineering
degree at Mercer University, the need for money
and some sage advice from his grandmother
helped define his vision.
“Honestly, I wanted spending money, and I
couldn’t find a job,” he admitted. “I was talking
to my grandmother, and she told me to go out
on my own and start cutting grass for people. I
grew up on a farm, knew how to run equipment
and I liked hard work, so it made sense.”
That conversation sparked the birth of
F.S. Scarbrough, LLC. His client list began to
grow, and he would do jobs in the afternoons and
weekends. In 1998, six months after starting the
business, Frank hired his first full-time employee.
Shortly after that, he dropped out of college and
pushed full-steam ahead.
“We started out simple – just a guy, a truck
and a push mower,” he said. “Growth just
kept happening. We went from mowing to
landscaping, then from residential to commercial
work. Eventually, we added grading, and that
took us to a whole other level.”
Today, Frank is President of F.S. Scarbrough,
which employs 47 people and handles as many
as 10 projects at a time. It specializes in turnkey
site-development work throughout Georgia and
the Southeast. Typically, the company performs
clearing and grading services; water, sewer and
storm utilities installation; and it also handles curb
and sidewalk construction.
“We can take a project from inception and do
everything in-house to get it ready to go vertical,”
explained Frank. “We are designed for anything
up to 60 acres. We get several jobs that are too big
for smaller companies as well as ones that are too
small for larger outfits to worry about. We have
carved out a niche on projects with 250,000 yards
Keeping it in-house
One of the company’s largest contracts to
date is a sanctuary-expansion for Blackshear
Place Baptist Church in Oakwood, Georgia.
F.S. Scarbrough will install 18,000 feet of pipe,
ranging in size from six to 60 inches and move
60,000 yards of dirt on what Frank describes as
a “wholesale renovation.”
“The church is making this its main campus
and integrating many of the existing buildings,”
Frank said. “We demolished the old parking
lots and older buildings that were on the site.
Now, we’re doing a cut-and-fill operation
with major storm work. We’ll re-route some
municipal and private utilities on site to include
water, gravity-fed sewer and force main. After
that, we’ll grade and put in the curb. We are
pretty much doing everything in-house, besides
asphalt and electrical.”
The five-month project, scheduled for
completion in November, is an example of what
makes F.S. Scarbrough successful.
“There are multiple moving parts on this job –
it was an existing site, so we had to maintain
the utilities even while the site was under
construction,” explained Frank. “It required a
great deal of coordination with the church to
make it happen. Because we are able to do a
majority of the work in-house, that helped keep
everyone on the same page. This is one of our
largest, most complex jobs, and I’m very happy
with how it’s progressing.”
intelligent Machine Control excellence
F.S. Scarbrough moves a lot of dirt annually,
so any piece of machinery that allows it to do
that quickly is valuable. Machines that move large
quantities of dirt in a highly efficient manner and
automatically maintain grade are important to
F.S. Scarbrough – that’s why it turns to Komatsu
intelligent Machine Control dozers on projects like
the Blackshear Place Baptist Church.
Two years ago, Frank was in the market for a
new dozer and wanted to improve his use of GPS
technology, so he turned to Tractor & Equipment
Company, Inc. (TEC) and Sales Rep Mack Brice to
demo a D51PXi dozer with integrated intelligent
Machine Control technology against other
competitive brands with aftermarket systems. The
results were unanimous.
“We put our best operator in a dozer with
aftermarket GPS on it, and I ran the D51PXi next
to him,” remembered Frank. “It wasn’t even
close. I easily outworked him, and I rarely run a
dozer. The Komatsu was so much smoother, and
everything worked so well together.
“Since we’ve had the D51PXi in our fleet, we
are much more competitive,” he added. “We can
deliver projects faster, while still maintaining
grade. Because of that, we have been able to
accelerate our schedules. At Blackshear Place, those
dozers make a noticeable difference.”
F.S. Scarbrough continues to add technology to
its fleet, including a D61PXi dozer, as well as GPS
aftermarket systems on its PC360LC excavators.
The company plans to strengthen its commitment
to GPS technology moving forward.
“Part of our strategic plan is to use GPS
on every job,” said Frank. “We’re equipping
machines with GPS and looking at what we can
do to improve our capabilities in those areas.
The integrated excavators are something that
we’re taking a close look at as well. The benefits
of the intelligent Machine Control equipment
give us a great advantage, and we want to
extend that to every area of the business.”
The intelligent Machine Control units
join a group of other Komatsu machines at
F.S. Scarbrough, including five Komatsu
excavators ranging from a PC88USLC to a
PC490LC and a pair of HM400 articulated
trucks. Through the years, TEC has been there
to help Frank build and maintain his fleet.
“TEC has been great to work with,”
proclaimed Frank. “Every time we call, Mack
takes care of what we need. The Komatsu
equipment and technology are amazing, so with
a dealer like TEC, we are able to get the full value
out of it. They do a great job.”
Great people make business
Frank envisions more growth for the company,
especially in public works.
“We’ve been lucky to have success in the civil
side of the industry, and now I think there is an
opportunity for us to move into the public side
as well,” he said. “It has to make sense, though.
We don’t want to be chasing an extra dollar here
or there. It will be measured growth, and we’re
going to be committed to it.”
When the company does grow, customers can
expect to see a familiar ingredient in its success –
“The people who work here are great, and they
are dedicated to this place,” Frank stated. “We
certainly try to hire those who fit into our culture.
Without a great group of employees, this company
wouldn’t be where it is. We have several who have
been here 12 to 15 years and have grown with us.
That’s something that I’m proud of.”
Two of those longtime employees, Vice
President Eddie Brewer and Project Manager
William Oxford, have been integral to the success
of the company.
“I didn’t grow up in construction, but Eddie
did, and he’s taught me a lot,” said Frank. “If I
get an idea about a job, I’ll run it through Eddie.
He tells me if I’m on the right track or not.
William handles all of our operations; he keeps us
Another key employee is Frank’s wife,
Amanda, who is the firm’s Chief Financial Officer.
“She’s probably the most crucial part to
everything we do,” shared Frank. “She keeps the
office and books straight. She’s awesome with
numbers. When the recession hit and times were
hard, she was the one who found a way to make
it work with the money we had. I don’t think we
would have gotten through that time without her.”
Frank says that as long as F.S. Scarbrough
has dedicated and quality employees, it will be
successful. “Everyone here is in this together. We
have our own jobs, but we’re all invested in this
place, and that’s what makes us successful.”