Customers in Action

Great Southern Engineering


June 30, 2015

“We chose Komatsu because, at least here in Alabama, it’s regarded as the best”


In this day and age, we all recognize the need to protect the environment, but accidents happen. When they do, such as when chemicals spill or gas tanks leak, it’s important to contain and mitigate the problem as soon as possible to avoid serious and long-term environmental damage.

For more than 20 years, Trinity, Ala.,-based Great Southern Engineering (GSE), one of the southeastern United States’ leading environmental engineering consulting and remediation companies, has been on the front lines of environmental issues from compliance to pollution prevention to cleanup.

“We offer a wide-range of environmental planning and reporting services, as do many other engineering firms,” said Vice President Bruce Cole. “What separates GSE from many ‘competitors’ is that we also own equipment and do our own field work. We have drill rigs, excavators and a lowboy. We have our own operators and field technicians. We’re a ‘turnkey’ environmental firm. We have the technical staff to engineer solutions, and we also have the equipment and field personnel to complete the jobs. We’re a one-stop-shop for answers to a wide variety of environmental problems.”

In 1991, Kaye Cole, a chemical engineer, started GSE. Today, she is President and Majority Owner. Her husband Bruce, an environmental scientist, is Minority Owner. The company employs about 25 people. Roughly half are engineers or geologists, and half are construction–related professionals.

Komatsu excavators are “the best”


“In a chemical spill or gas tank leak, the biggest issue is soil contamination that leads all the way to seepage into the groundwater,” said Bruce. “Therefore, at GSE, our first job is to remove the source of the problem – the contaminated soil.”

To help the company do that productively and cost-effectively, GSE recently purchased a Komatsu PC210LC-10 hydraulic excavator to go with a Komatsu PC35 compact excavator it already owned.

“We mainly use the excavators to dig up contaminated soil, but it’s not the only reason we have them,” said Cole. “We also install a lot of remediation equipment, which requires general construction techniques, such as digging trenches and building foundations, so we use our excavators for that as well.

“We chose Komatsu because, at least here in Alabama, it’s regarded as the best. I grew up here. If you drive by any construction site that has an excavator, chances are it’s a Komatsu. It’s a brand I knew I could trust. Tractor & Equipment Company’s reputation also played a part in our decision. I bought it from Donnie Burgreen at the Decatur branch. I’ve known Donnie nearly my whole life. I knew TEC and its people would be good to work with and will stand behind its product, and that’s certainly been the case.”

Still growing

GSE is primarily a government contractor, doing jobs for NASA, the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard, among other branches. The company also works for large commercial firms such as British Petroleum.

“We’ve been around for more than two decades, but we’re definitely still growing,” said Bruce. “While most of our construction/ remediation group works here in the southeast, we have consulting, engineering and industrial projects literally from coast-to-coast, and beyond. For example, last year we worked in Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. I’d say most of our work is for repeat customers who trust us to do the job right and do it fast, based on our performance history with them.”