“Our Komatsu equipment is awesome”
As a fifth-generation well driller in the late
1980s, Brad Malley built a sterling reputation
through his central Michigan company, Brad
Malley Well Drilling. As a result, customers
routinely asked him to perform other services,
so he started Malley Construction, Inc. in 1991 to
handle smaller dirt jobs. Soon after, he jumped
into the residential housing market and began
building his construction company.
“The decision to expand was due to a few
factors, but mainly because our customers
wanted us to handle those projects,” said Brad.
“We had a lot of people asking us to bid jobs,
but we couldn’t because we didn’t have the
manpower. So, we decided to grow. That move
put us on the path to where we are today.”
After a decade of success in residential
construction, Malley again took a chance and
began doing commercial work, mainly parking
lots, pad construction and utility installation.
Today, that area accounts for nearly 70 percent
of the company’s construction business.
“We’ve been lucky,” said Brad. “We diversified
to meet our customers’ needs in a way that
worked for us. I also think that increasing in
size and scope has kept me excited and fresh
by providing new challenges. I enjoy dirt work;
it was something I’ve always wanted to do.
Plus, I still own the well-drilling business, a
modular-home construction company and we
have approximately 25 trucks that haul for us.
Fortunately, each area thrived as we’ve expanded,
and that’s great.”
Malley says hard work and good employees
have fueled the company’s success. “We wouldn’t
have had the opportunity to build the business
unless we delivered solid results at each level and
had customers who wanted us to branch out.
There isn’t a secret to our success, just a good,
solid work ethic and delivering a high-quality
product for our customers. We want to make sure
everything’s right for them.”
The firm made its name in the commercial side
by specializing in site-construction projects in the
6,000- to 50,000-square-feet range. The company
takes pride in its ability to transform a jobsite from
a grass field and prepare it for vertical construction
without the need to sub out work.
“We can do everything in-house to get a site
ready for a structure to be built,” noted Brad.
“Our customers appreciate that because they
know who is taking care of their jobs – it’s always
us. We like it because it gives us complete control,
and we aren’t waiting for or depending on others
to do a good job. From excavation to utility
construction, we handle it.”
Malley Construction also recently found
a niche in the $1 million to $2 million
road-construction contracts within a 60-mile
radius of its Mt. Pleasant office.
On the company’s latest project, a
3.5 mile stretch of Business Highway 127
in Alma, the firm is performing one of its
largest undertakings. It milled and hauled
10,000 tons of the existing highway; removed
the shoulders and laid new ones; installed
15 cross culverts underneath the road; and
graded the entire stretch, which included
adding a “super elevation” to a large curve in
the roadway, to ready it for paving.
“We have done more road construction
recently, but mainly on city and municipal
streets,” noted Brad. “This was our largest
highway project, and we’re happy with it. We
hope to do more of these in the future.”
Technology “pays for itself”
As Malley Construction has expanded, so
too has its investment in GPS technology.
It began using aftermarket, grade-control
systems on its dozers for excavation projects
with great results in time and material savings.
Last year, it purchased a Komatsu intelligent
Machine Control D51PXi dozer from CEC
and Area Manager Craig Williams, and those
savings increased again.
“Today, you need some sort of GPS
technology or you can’t compete,” admitted
Brad. “We had good returns with the GPS
systems, and I was a little hesitant to pull the
trigger on the D51PXi, but wow, am I glad I
did. The results have been amazing. We’re at
least twice as fast with our D51PXi compared
to our D39 with an aftermarket system on it.
We save time, we’re always on-grade and we
use our crews in better ways because we don’t
need someone checking grade all the time.”
While Malley needed some convincing to get
his first D51PXi in 2016, he didn’t need a push
to purchase his second this year.
“They pay for themselves quickly,” he
stated. “They have been totally worth it.”
While any owner can appreciate time and
material savings, the people sitting inside the
dozers have also fallen for the D51PXi.
“Everything works together so well on the
D51PXi, it’s amazing,” said Foreman Reggie
Smith. “I was blown away by the speed at
which I can finish grade. It actually runs better
at max speed. It carries better, the grade is
smooth and you finish faster.”
In addition to solid performance results, the
technology was an easy sell to the operators
because of how simple it was to learn and
implement. Brad’s son, Jake, has assumed the
lead on the technology side of the company,
and says it took only one demonstration to win
over the crew.
“The guys know I am not an operator by any
means,” joked Jake. “At first, they didn’t really
trust the technology until I jumped in, put it in
third gear and cut a grade for 400 feet in one
pass. From then on, they’ve really taken to it.”
Komatsu and CEC
In addition to the intelligent Machine Control
dozers, Malley Construction also turns to CEC
and Williams for other Komatsu equipment.
The company has six Komatsu excavators – a
PC138USLC, PC170LC, PC228USLC, PC308LC,
PC360LC and a PC490LC – as well as several
Komatsu WA320 and WA380 wheel loaders.
“Our Komatsu equipment is awesome,”
shared Brad. “The wheel loaders are great and
steady, and the excavators are very powerful.
We really love the PC138 and PC228 for their
tight tail swing. We can get into small spaces,
and we don’t worry about running the back
end into anything.”
In addition to providing solid equipment,
Brad also appreciates services like
Komatsu CARE, through which CEC provides
complimentary scheduled maintenance for the
first three years or 2,000 hours of operation on
Tier 4 machines.
“With a fleet of nearly 60 machines, having
CEC come out and take care of scheduled
maintenance on our newer pieces has really
lightened the load on our mechanics,” said Brad.
“It’s the little things that CEC does that keep
me loyal. We have a great relationship with
Craig that goes back to the 90s. Whenever I need
anything, he’s my first call. It’s a relationship
that I trust and value.”
More growth ahead
Diversification has made Malley Construction
prosperous, and Brad is anticipating that more
of it will yield the same results in the future.
“It’s my theory that if you aren’t growing,
you’re dying,” he said. “We are going to
continue to increase our size to a certain extent,
and there is a lot of opportunity for us to do
that. We’ve put ourselves in a strong position to
succeed, especially with the road projects we’ve
completed. I think both the state and federal
governments are eager to pass an infrastructure
budget that will create a lot of work. If that
happens, we’d look to expand again to get
some of those contracts. No matter what, we
will continue to work hard and deliver for our
customers. If we do that, we’ll be successful.”