“Komatsu was our brand of choice”
The history of J-2 Contracting goes back nearly
23 years, but the last decade-plus is when it made
its mark. During that time, Chris Leone bought
the company from his father and brother – both
named John, hence J-2 – who were looking to sell.
“In 2004, it was a basically an earthwork and
utilities company,” said Leone, who is President
of the Greeley, Colorado, business. “I was in
computer manufacturing and wanted to get out
of that, so the timing was perfect. I had worked
in construction during the summers while in
high school and college, so there was some
background there. Dad stayed on for more than
a year to help me thoroughly learn the ropes.
I think the first year we did approximately
$2 million in volume. This year, we hope to reach
Not long after Leone purchased the
business, he brought Chance Brown on board.
Brown is now Vice President and a co-owner
of J-2 Contracting, which today has two
components: earthwork and quarry. Between the
two areas, the company employs about 40 people.
Operations Manager Mike Sturdy oversees the
quarry, and Project Manager Ryan McConnell is
another key member of the J-2 team.
Quarry operations include two aspects. One is
the quarry itself, located just outside of Greeley.
The company makes five products, including
coarse concrete aggregate, Class 6 and Class 7
road base, Number 8 stone and concrete sand.
“Materials from the quarry are used in our
own projects, and we sell to outside customers,”
said Sturdy. “We opened up the quarry nearly six
months ago, and it’s proven to be a good move.
We’re already supplying some fairly large jobs,
including the County Road 49 project, which is
22 miles long and needs roughly 180,000 tons of
rock and 217,000 tons of sand.”
Well-established mobile crushing
The second aspect of the quarry operation
is mobile crushing, which has been ongoing
since 2004 and mainly involves recycling
concrete and asphalt for customers in
Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico.
J-2 Contracting began with one impact crusher
that was used for recycling concrete at the
company’s yard in Greeley.
“That work transitioned into assignments
for larger ready-mix companies, crushing their
washout, and then to projects for highway
contractors where it’s more economical to
recycle concrete and asphalt to reuse as base
material under new roads,” explained Brown.
“Close to 95 percent of our crushing is now for
outside customers with our mobile spreads.
The remainder of the crushing is for our own
jobs, such as the high school in Kersey where we
tore out the parking lot, crushed it and left the
material for the school district to use.”
J-2 Contracting currently runs four mobile
crushing spreads. Three of them stay primarily
in Colorado, while one runs nine months out of
the year in Kansas. It mostly works in landfills
and then spends the rest of the year in the
Turnkey excavation work
J-2 Contracting’s excavation side operates
mainly in the governmental markets throughout
Colorado’s Front Range. Leone and Brown
estimate that 80 percent of the company’s jobs
consist of hard-bid public-works projects where J-2
serves as the general contractor.
“We complete all the earthwork and utilities and
then subcontract paving, restoration, surveying
and other ancillary items,” Leone pointed out.
“That generally holds true on the commercial
earthwork contracts as well for select general
contractors we choose to work with, often on
a negotiated basis. We give them a turnkey
Ongoing projects include a new storm-sewer
outfall for the city of Greeley where the company
is serving as the general contractor. Crews are
installing box culverts with large inlet galleries
on each side to alleviate flooding, a continuing
concern for Greeley in the past 30 to 40 years.
“There is roughly 800 feet of culvert and a
couple hundred feet of large diameter pipe later
in the assignment,” said Brown. “We are setting
some 60-inch pipe in Brush, Colorado, along with
Komatsu, KPI-JCI, Power Motive ensure productivity
J-2 Contracting’s mobile operations are involved
with several projects, including one that calls for
crushing nearly 90,000 tons of old runway removed
from the Denver International Airport. To handle
large sections of rubble, J-2 set up a special spread
that included a KPI-JCI Fast Track 2650 jaw used as
a primary crusher to reduce the pieces to six inches.
The resulting material goes into a 4250 impact
crusher that condenses it to three-quarter-inch base
for reuse at the airport. A Kolberg stacker moves the
material from the 4250 to a stockpile.
KPI-JCI equipment is part of other J-2 spreads,
including one at the quarry where it uses a
K300/6203 crushing and screening plant to crush
aggregate, some of which goes into an 1830 PH
“In less than a year we have added quite a lot
of crushing equipment with the help of Power
Motive and our Sales Rep Jeremy Griebel,”
explained Sturdy. “KPI-JCI gives us excellent
uptime and production. We especially like the
4250 impactors because they are beefier and
have higher horsepower than the competition.
We purchased our first impactor three years ago
for a mobile spread and have added more since,
along with other pieces for both mobile and
J-2 removes overburden and mines aggregates
at the quarry with a Komatsu PC490LC-10
excavator. It then loads the materials into two
HM400 articulated haul trucks that move them to
on-site stockpiles. To push piles and smooth haul
roads, J-2 Contracting dozes with a D65WX-17
equipped with a six-way blade.
“Komatsu excavators have been in our fleet
for almost a decade,” said Leone. “When we
purchased our first, a PC400, we had a mix of
brands. The PC400 performed well, and we
decided that Komatsu was our brand of choice.
Today, we have PC490s, as well as PC360,
PC390 and PC138 models. Komatsu equipment
is reliable, productive and fuel-efficient, and
that’s why we acquired additional pieces.
All of our Komatsu machines perform very
well, and I know that because I track them
with KOMTRAX, especially the quarry
machines, to check production rates and other
“A big reason we have KPI-JCI and Komatsu
equipment is Power Motive and Jeremy,”
Brown added. “They were extremely helpful
in ensuring that we fully understood what
equipment we needed in order to achieve the
greatest efficiency and highest productivity in
our quarry operation. That was no surprise,
because they have taken exceptional care of
us through the years on both the excavation
and crushing sides. An example is the
Komatsu CARE program that covers the
scheduled maintenance for the first 2,000 hours
or three years. Power Motive’s techs do the
work, so we can focus on production. It’s a
great value. In addition to Jeremy, we give a lot
of credit to our Product Support Rep Roudy
Redenbaugh, who makes sure that we have
parts on hand when needed.”
Focus on strengths
Leone and Brown say the pit likely will be
completed within the next 10 years, and they
hope to move on to a new one. They expect that
mobile crushing and earthwork operations will
“We know resources will be exhausted, so
we’re looking for a new quarry location now,”
said Leone. “It’s doubtful that anything else will
change, other than maybe a small amount of
growth. There is a level we’re comfortable with,
and we’re close to that now.”
“We have expanded quite a bit in the past few
months with the quarry addition, and it’s time
to slow down, reassess and focus on continuing
to provide good value to our customers, which
we believe is our greatest strength,” added
Brown. “If we get too big, we can’t do that, and
we won’t let that happen.”