“We like Komatsu equipment because it’s reliable, holds its value and is easy to maintain”
Joe Cataldo always loved being outside
when he was growing up, and his family’s
farm gave him ample opportunity to do that.
However, when it came time to pick a career,
the farming industry didn’t appeal to him,
so he decided to go into landscaping.
“I knew I wanted to do something I
enjoyed,” said Cataldo. “I loved being
outdoors and being around plants, so I
began mowing lawns and planting shrubs.”
Cataldo started his company in 1974.
Today, he is president of M.J. Cataldo, Inc.
After five years of focusing on landscaping
projects, the company began to grow
and eventually took on site-development
That growth has continued, especially during
the last five years. Today, M.J. Cataldo, Inc. has
as many as 10 projects going at a time. Jobs
range from serving as general contractor on a
multi-million dollar project to planting a tree
in a customer’s back yard. The majority of
Cataldo’s work is within a 50-mile radius of
his home base in Littleton, Massachusetts.
“As a company, we really try to focus
on what we do well and pay attention to
the details,” said Cataldo. “We work very
hard; we’re honest, fair, and we answer our
phones. I think our customers appreciate
First ones in, last ones out
M.J. Cataldo, Inc. has developed a broad
customer base by working for general
contractors, performing public work and
doing private landscaping. The company
won a bid for a multi-field athletic complex
for Newman Elementary School in
Needham, Massachusetts, in the summer of
2015 and served as the general contractor.
The project called for the construction of a
soccer field, two softball fields, a walking
trail and an irrigation system.
“We did all the site-development work
plus landscaping,” he said. “We subbed out
the fencing, irrigation and paving. The work
was also located next to a nature boardwalk
project that we were working on, which was
“As a site developer, we are usually the
first ones on a project, and as a landscaper,
we are usually the last ones to leave,” he
added. “As general contractor, I can make
sure we control how the project is done from
start to finish.”
“Partners” with C.N. Wood
As Cataldo grew his company, he turned
to C.N. Wood’s Woburn, Massachusetts,
branch. It is a relationship that goes beyond
“I consider C.N. Wood a partner,” said
Cataldo. “They are the reason we are where we
are today, and I can’t say enough about them.
They don’t pressure me and they are honest.”
A key element of that partnership is the
Komatsu equipment and service that C.N. Wood
provides. Currently, Cataldo has 11 Komatsu
excavators, ranging from a PC27 to a PC290, in
addition to a D51EX dozer and two Komatsu
“We like Komatsu equipment because
it’s reliable, holds its value and is easy to
maintain,” said Cataldo. “We have a PC138
tight-tail-swing excavator that we love; it’s
probably the most versatile machine we own.
We had to rent a competitive brand one time.
While it was the same size, it just wasn’t as
The company also demo’d a Komatsu
D61PXi intelligent Machine Control dozer on a
recent project. Cataldo was impressed by the
dozer and said it would definitely improve
C.N. Wood and Sales Rep Brian Doherty
have been instrumental in Cataldo’s
“C.N. Wood allows us to do a purchase
rental for a long period of time, so we can
build equity in to a piece of equipment,”
said Cataldo. “We talk about the payment
schedule, and they understand that our
situation depends on the weather and
work we have on the books. They’ve been
wonderful to work with.”
Cataldo also takes advantage of
the extra services available through
Komatsu and C.N. Wood, specifically the
KOMTRAX machine-monitoring system
and Komatsu CARE, which includes
complimentary service for the first three
years or 2,000 hours.
“Komatsu CARE is great for us,” said
Cataldo. “Sometimes when you’re a
contractor dealing with daily issues, machine
maintenance falls to the bottom of the pile.
Having C.N. Wood watch that stuff for us and
tell us when things need to be done has worked
out very, very well.”
Just as the recession forced Cataldo to look at
the services he provides, it also helped shape
the way he has continued to build his fleet. C.N.
Wood remained a strong part of the process.
“They have helped us build in a cautious
and pragmatic way,” said Cataldo. “I like to
own equipment. Brian and I can sit down and
talk about my fleet honestly – when to turn
in machines, when to buy and when to rent. I
appreciate that Brian works with us. He’s on
Building for the future
At 61 years old, Cataldo says he’s having
too much fun to slow down, and he credits
the success of the company to a core group of
employees who have been with him for years.
“We have such a great group of people
who work here, and I like to say we built the
business around them,” said Cataldo. “From
our accountant to our laborers, everyone plays
a big part in making us who we are.”
While that group of employees has laid the
groundwork for success, a homegrown group
of employees – which Cataldo has dubbed as
his “twenty-somethings” – is primed to lead the
company into the future. That group includes
Cataldo’s son Michael.
“Michael is Vice President. He handles the
schedules and puts his hands on all the projects
we have going on,” he said. “He’s been with me
ever since he was a kid, this is what he’s always
wanted to do.
“We also have a group of younger employees
that has the ability to operate,” he added.
“They’re not cowboys, they pay attention. For
us to have a young, talented group is great. I try
to keep them grounded and not let their heads
get too big, but they really are rising stars.”
For someone who started the business as an
excuse to be outside, the journey has exceeded
“When I started out mowing lawns, I
thought if I could make $10,000 a year, I would
be a pretty lucky guy. Fortunately, I make a
little more than that, and I still get up everyday
and look forward to going to work. I’m having
fun and I get to work with my son and other
great people. I plan on working until they
carry me out.”