Versatile, fuel-efficient and dependable Komatsu excavators
Since opening its doors in 1993, KAJACS
Contractors Inc. has made a name for itself in
the southern regional markets by completing
water and sewer jobs on time and up to
customers’ standards. During that time, it
found the most value with projects that feature
large-diameter distribution lines. In order to
land more of those contracts, the company
hit the road.
“We decided to pursue transmission and
distribution jobs with large-diameter pipe, and
there weren’t enough of them in our area to
keep us busy, so we expanded,” recalled CEO
Mike Persons. “We had to go where the work
was. It was a gamble, but it’s paying off.”
KAJACS’ primary markets have always been
Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Recently it expanded to Oklahoma and
Alabama with plans to move into the Dallas/
Fort Worth Metroplex and the northern markets
as well. Persons says the company will continue
to expand as long as the job makes sense.
Right jobs, right people
KAJACS performs a range of utility projects
for municipalities and other government
agencies. However, it also handles dirt work –
including grading, excavating and directional
boring – and highway assignments. The
diversification is important to KAJACS’ success.
“Right now, nearly 80 percent of our work is
utilities, but if it were reversed, I wouldn’t have
a problem with that,” he said. “We are set up to
take advantage of opportunities year-by-year.
You have to follow the opportunities.”
Knowing the location of the prime projects has
become a skill that KAJACS honed during the
last 24 years. The company developed a process
to help make the most informed decisions
possible before bidding on a job.
“We try to do as much homework as we can
before moving forward,” explained Persons.
“Instead of eyeballing a site or digging some
holes with large machinery, we use surveying
and technical equipment as well as software to
get a clear picture of what we would be dealing
with. It saves us a lot of time and money.”
For a company that specializes in large
assignments, information is an advantage.
KAJACS recently started a $5-million project in
White Oak Bayou near Little Rock, Arkansas,
where it is installing three miles of 36-inch
sewer interceptor at a depth of 18 feet. The
contract also requires the company to perform a
600-foot, 36-inch bore underneath Interstate 40.
Without sufficient information going into the bid
process, Persons believed the project would not
be a success.
In addition to selecting the right jobs,
employing top-notch people has also been an
integral part of KAJACS’ accomplishments. The
company has 70 employees and experiences very
little turnover, something that Persons attributes
to the company’s cross-training program.
“We know that good workers are very hard
to find, so we develop them,” said Persons. “Of
the 13 supervisors on staff, all but two started
working in a ditch for us. We have several
employees who have been with us for 20 years.
People appreciate knowing that advancement
Persons credits his management team for the
company’s success both in completing projects
and building a staff. The team includes Chief
Financial Officer Sheila Calvert, CPA; Vice
President Rodger Williams II, PE; as well as
Project Managers/Estimators Rick Prosser, PE,
and Ethan Hoggard. Persons’ son, Aron, is
the President and operates the company’s
Little Rock office.
Komatsu and Roland
When KAJACS needs an excavator to complete
a project, it turns to one of its 17 Komatsus from
Roland Machinery Company and Sales Rep Dan
Christensen. KAJACS’ excavator fleet ranges in
size from a PC78 to a PC400.
“Komatsu excavators have repeatedly proven
themselves to us,” shared Persons. “They have
the handling and power to perform a variety
of jobs. On top of that, they are extremely fuelefficient
and dependable. They can take the
punishment we give them.”
The fleet range allows KAJACS to
match its excavators to applications and
“Once we win a job, we start building an
equipment list,” said Persons. “We take several
factors into consideration – size of the pipe, depth,
location – and it’s always a Komatsu excavator.”
Persons and his team are also fans of Roland
Machinery and the services it provides, including
Komatsu’s telematics system, KOMTRAX.
“Everyone at Roland does an excellent job for us,”
proclaimed Persons. “Dan is always just a phone
call away if there is an issue. If we need anything, he
takes care of it right away.
“KOMTRAX is also very helpful for us,” he added.
“Now that we’re farther away for work, being able
to bring up a machine on KOMTRAX without any
extra equipment or software saves us significant
time and money. Our mechanics use it to work with
operators and fix the problem quickly.”
The Road Ahead
While expansion is the newest trend at KAJACS,
Persons says he expects the company’s core values
“We will remain committed to teamwork, integrity
and safety,” promised Persons. “They got us to this
point, and without those values, growth wouldn’t be
possible. The sizes and locations of our projects may
change, but our values won’t.”