Customers in Action

Mickelo Construction


November 27, 2015

“Support from Modern has been outstanding”

Mickelo Construction

Monroe, Wash.,-based Mickelo Construction does excavation and site prep, much of it in downtown Seattle.

“After demolition, we typically remove the asphalt, then start excavating,” explained Mickelo President Mike Edelbrock. “We perform mass excavation, dig footings and do slab prep – basically, everything regarding earthwork for a new building once the old one has been removed.”

Knowing he had several jobs coming up where trucking out excavated material was going to be problematic, either due to hole depth or overhead power lines, Edelbrock studied the feasibility of using a conveyor system that would enable him to load trucks at the street level. He looked at several conveyor manufacturers before selecting Spomac (formerly Spokane Machinery), a Modern Machinery Company that specializes in crushing and screening products.

“We have a very positive history with Modern Machinery, and that is mainly why we chose Spomac,” said Edelbrock. “We own Komatsu excavators almost exclusively. Our Sales Rep Marc Bandy is great to work with. Modern provides outstanding service and stands behind its products. I was confident Spomac would do the same, and that’s definitely been the case.”

Spomac custom-built a conveyor for Mickelo that would accomplish exactly what Edelbrock wanted to do. The system consists of two 36-inch-wide conveyors – one that’s 100 feet long and the other 80 feet long – and a feeder with a 42-inch-wide belt to prevent clogging. At the end of the conveyor setup is a shipping container, open at both ends, to allow pedestrians to continue to use the sidewalk while conveyed material passes overhead and is deposited into trucks and trailers.

Special features of the conveyor Spomac designed for Mickelo include:

  • Stronger bracing to better hold the long spans;
  • Increased horsepower on conveyor motors;
  • A fluid-drive coupling that acts like a torque converter;
  • Lightweight material that makes it easier to pack up and load;
  • A special fold-up design for easier transport and quicker setup.

“We wanted the increased power so we could start and stop the conveyor while fully loaded, as well as load a truck and trailer in two-and-ahalf minutes,” said Edelbrock. “The fluid-drive coupling also helps lessen spillage by starting the belt a little slower before reaching max speed. Being relatively lightweight means we can load the unit using our own equipment (Komatsu PC490 excavators). The fold-up design means we can move it easily on city streets and save as much as three to four hours in setup time.

“The unit has worked great for us, and the support from Modern has been outstanding,” he added. “The system has worked even better than we expected in one regard: They told me I probably wouldn’t be able to load mud and wet material, but we’ve proven it will, indeed, handle them.”

Mickelo Construction

Fast and efficient

Mickelo’s current project is at 222 Fairview in the South Lake Union area of Seattle, just east of the Space Needle. The new building, which will sit on half a city block, will be apartments with underground parking and mixed-use on the lower floors. The General Contractor is Chinn Construction, for which Mickelo does a lot of work.

“All of our jobs are for repeat customers,” said Edelbrock. “For example, I think we’ve done everything for Kevin Chinn except two buildings, and those were because we had other commitments. We’re in demand because we do good work and complete jobs quickly. Our workforce deserves most of the credit. Also, I try to always be on-site to make sure projects are proceeding at a good pace. To maximize efficiency, everything needs to be done in the proper order and in a good rhythm. To ensure that happens, we plan ahead and try to communicate well with all parties. We don’t want anybody interrupting us, and we try not to interrupt anybody else.

“The Seattle economy seems very strong right now. Construction is booming, and we’re fairly well-set for the entire year. As long as we maintain our reputation as a company that does quality work quickly, I’m optimistic about what lies ahead for Mickelo Construction.”