Customers in Action

L&L Excavating and US Contracting


February 06, 2017

Komatsu excavators are ‘extremely productive’

L&L Excavating and US Contracting

Brad Lyon grew up working for his father’s business, which supported the coal mining industry. A few years ago, he recognized a need for excavation companies to provide reclamation services to those mines. He talked to longtime friend Kenny Lovely, a business owner, about an idea to start something new to meet those needs. They teamed up to form L&L Excavating in 2013.

“At first, our focus was mine reclamation, but we quickly transitioned into general earthwork and land improvement for residential and commercial clients,” recalled Lyon. “Reclamation is still on our service list, but today we’re geared more toward mass excavation and grading that involves building ponds, house pads and roads.”

Early on, their company provided most services, with the exception of utility installations. That segment was added a couple of years ago when they talked with Keith Jenkins, who owned an undergroundutility- installation business. The three teamed up to create US Contracting, which installs water, sewer and storm lines as well as pump stations and other structures.

“I started my own business after working for other utility contractors for most of my career,” said Jenkins. “Brad and I worked together in the past, and all three of us knew each other because we grew up in the same area. Brad and Kenny called me about a job they were bidding that included utilities, and the three of us clicked. We decided to start a second company, and that’s how US Contracting was formed.”

From a small drain to half a mountain

Now, all three men have ownership in both L&L Excavating and US Contracting. The two Salyersville, Kentucky-based companies occasionally join forces, but for the most part, they work separately.

“Having two companies gives us the flexibility to perform a wide range of projects,” explained Lovely. “We’ve done everything from fixing a small drain to moving half a mountain. If we do a land-development job with utilities, we team up, but we don’t actively seek full site packages.”

“Our aim is to provide the best service in the business, no matter the project or the customer,” added Lyon. “Early on, we advertised L&L on a billboard, and that brought us a few clients. Once we gained their trust, they became repeat customers, and that’s where many of our jobs have come from in the past couple of years.”

The companies also complete numerous projects for developers with whom the three partners have built relationships throughout the years.

“These customers know they can trust us to meet their schedules and budgets,” stated Jenkins. “We’re based in eastern Kentucky, but we don’t have a defined territory. Our projects take us to Tennessee, the Virginias and Ohio.”

Employees play key roles

Combined, the two companies have nearly 40 employees. US Contracting runs five water and sewer crews, and L&L has three earthwork crews. Several of Jenkins’ former employees joined him in the new venture. Lyon and Lovely also hired several former co-workers. Key personnel of the two businesses include Doug Wireman, Kristy Cole and Demmie Marshall.

“All of our employees are integral parts of the success of the two businesses,” said Lyon. “They are dedicated, hard-working and genuinely care about providing quality results. They deserve a great deal of credit for the growth of both businesses.”

These employees have helped L&L Excavating and US Contracting complete numerous projects, including two, eight-mile water line installations and large abandoned mine reclamations.

“We don’t shy away from large and/or complex assignments,” reported Jenkins. “Whatever is called for we handle, including the varying terrain and depths required to put pipe in the ground in this area. We have rock trenchers and other specialty equipment to ensure that we can get the job done.”

Wide range of Komatsu excavator sizes

L&L Excavating and US Contracting

The equipment fleet L&L Excavating and US Contracting own is largely comprised of Komatsu machines purchased from Brandeis Machinery’s Stanville branch with the help of Sales Rep Alex Rains. Komatsu excavators, ranging in size from the compact PC50MR to a PC138, are their main production machines.

“Komatsu excavators are smooth, fast, productive and dependable,” said Jenkins. “Our favorites are the two PC138s. They allow us to get into tight spaces or near roadways, without worrying that a counterweight will hit an obstruction or hang out in a lane of traffic. For their size, they are extremely productive.”

The companies also use a Komatsu D31EX dozer and Takeuchi machinery, including skid steers. “That dozer is just the right size for building house pads and backfilling,” noted Lovely. “We also backfill with the skid steers as well as clean up and move pipe with forks.”

L&L Excavating and US Contracting take care of most services, with occasional help from Brandeis.

“Brandeis is great about having parts on hand when we need them, and if something is not in stock, we can get it the next day,” said Lyon. “We like that Brandeis completes services on our Tier 4 machines for the first 2,000 hours or three years through Komatsu CARE. That’s a good value. Among all the equipment dealers we have worked with, Alex and Brandeis certainly stand out. They are the most supportive and helpful, by far.”

Interested in all types of projects

The owners of L&L Excavating and US Contracting are committed to growth. Currently, they are working to pre-qualify the companies to perform highway jobs.

“That’s the next step in our evolution,” noted Jenkins. “We are moving through the process to become a general contractor, but we are willing to do highway work as a sub or a general. Either way, we believe that we have the skills, knowledge and experience to get those larger projects done.”

That belief doesn’t mean L&L Excavating and US Contracting will give up on performing smaller jobs.

“We’re adaptable and willing to serve anyone who has an excavation or utility need,” said Lovely. “Whatever the size, we’re interested.”