“Komatsu makes quality machines, and that’s why we use them”
When Grayson Carter started his dirt
work company in 1995, he was the only
employee, and he completed jobs with a 1987
Dresser TD15C dozer. He knew it would take
great dedication and effort to make Grayson
Carter & Son Contracting Inc. successful, and
his resilience was put the to test.
“For the first three years, it was like I was
starving to death,” he recalled. “It was tough,
and I didn’t sleep much. Most of the early jobs
consisted of digging ponds and farm work, and
the project list was pretty light.”
After only four years, Grayson was looking
at the impending possibility of closing the
business. His determination finally paid
off with a pair of contracts that helped the
company pull itself out of a financial crisis and
sparked healthy growth.
“We were about to go broke when I landed
a job at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville,
Alabama,” said Grayson. “We dug several
defilade holes for the base’s army tanks. Four
months later, they had us come back and
install some fiber-optic cables as well, and
we have been working there ever since. It
certainly gave us some momentum.”
That financial freedom allowed the
company to pursue other ventures.
The firm began installing underground
utilities and continued to handle projects
at Redstone Arsenal. In 2006, the company
expanded its services again and began
“We’ve been able to grow and diversify
our services, which has been great,” noted
Grayson. “We aren’t too focused in one area.
I would say we split our work pretty well.
Roughly 60 percent of it is commercial site
development, and the other 40 percent is
governmental, mainly for Redstone Arsenal.”
Today, the business has 38 employees.
Grayson attributes the company’s success to
its key employees. “We are very fortunate to
have a great group of people; we couldn’t do it
without them,” noted Grayson.
The firm focuses its efforts in a 75-mile
radius of its Athens, Alabama, headquarters.
Grayson Carter & Son recently completed the
site development for a pair of large projects,
Athens High School and the Hazel Green
Shopping Center. It is currently clearing a
30-acre area for a new skeet-shooting range at
“We’ve been fortunate to have a good
amount of repeat business thanks to our
great customers, and that’s been a strength
for us,” proclaimed Grayson. “We deliver
quality results, and we can handle all of the
site development, up to paving, in-house. Our
customers appreciate working with only one
person from start to finish.”
Going high tech
As the company’s name would imply,
Grayson is not the only Carter involved in the
business. His son, 30-year-old Halston, has been
a part of the team since the start. However, his
role is a little more significant today.
“From the beginning, Halston was quite
interested in this work,” recalled Grayson.
“He’d come with me and ride on the back of
the dozer and stay until he fell asleep on a quilt.
Today, he is the President of the company. He’s
gung-ho about this business.”
One area where Halston is really making his
mark in the company is with technology.
“All of this technology would have passed
us by if it weren’t for Halston,” said Grayson,
who now serves as Vice President of the firm.
“That is something that is very interesting to
his generation, and he’s really brought us up to
speed with it.”
The company joined the technological
revolution full-force when it began running a
Komatsu intelligent Machine Control D61PXi
dozer and installed a TOPCON system on its
Komatsu PC290 excavator. For the Carters, the
results were immediate.
“Our machine-control pieces have increased
our production greatly,” noted Halston. “They
help us save a lot on time and material. The
biggest advantage for us is that not everyone
has these tools. We have used them for less
than a year, but they have already paid for
themselves. We’re able to offer lower bids
because our typical cost for staking has
The company turned to Tractor & Equipment
Company, Inc. (TEC) and Sales Rep Dwight
Swaim when it wanted to add the D61PXi
and the TOPCON system to the PC290. To
maximize the efficiency and productivity of the
new machine and positioning system, Grayson
Carter & Son Contracting called on TEC
Technology Solutions Expert Buddy Averett.
“Buddy was great; he helped us understand
what this technology can deliver,” stated
Halston. “He did whatever we needed him to
do. He was always at the jobsite training guys.
That was huge for us.”
TEC and Komatsu
Grayson Carter & Son’s fleet has grown
along with the company. After beginning
with a single used dozer, the company now
owns approximately 45 pieces, and Komatsu
machines from TEC are a mainstay for the firm.
In addition to the D61PXi dozer and PC290,
the company has four Komatsu excavators –
three PC200s and a PC160.
“Komatsu makes quality machines, and
that’s why we use them,” explained Halston.
“On top of that, TEC provides great service,
which adds real value for us. We have different
brands in our fleet, but the majority are
KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s telematics system, is
also a beneficial service for the company.
“KOMTRAX is valuable because if a code
pops up on a machine, TEC is aware of it and
ready to fix it,” said Halston. “At times, they
even know when something is wrong before
we do, and they call us. TEC’s Tim Kohlenberg
(Decatur Service Manager) and Dwight are
excellent. They get everything diagnosed
and fixed as fast as they can. That keeps
The company’s fleet also includes a
Dresser 500E grader, Gradall 8500 excavator,
a Dynapac CA150D roller, and Fecon
attachments from TEC.
Efficiently into the future
Grayson’s hard work and resolve were
responsible for getting the company to where
it is today, and now he has handed the reins to
Halston. The younger Carter is planning for
future success, but not necessarily growth.
“I think we are at the right size,” shared
Halston. “My focus is on improving efficiency,
and I think we will be able to do that.”
He envisions technology playing an
important factor in that equation. “GPS and
machine-control technology are going to
become more important. I think we’ll have
more intelligent Machine Control pieces in the
near future, and eventually all of the machines
in our fleet will have some sort of auto-assist.
That will be great for us.
“The one thing that won’t change is our
commitment to hard work,” he continued.
“There is no substitute for that. We will
continue to deliver quality projects for