Customers in Action

U.S. SiteWork

YEARS OF COMBINED EXPERIENCE HELPS YOUNG ELK RIVER, MINN., COMPANY GET OFF TO A FAST START

August 07, 2015

Komatsu's intelligent equipment

U.S. SiteWork

The list of projects U.S. SiteWork has completed includes several large, complex and comprehensive jobs throughout the Midwest. While that may not be unusual for a large, well-established contractor, it’s very impressive considering Elk River, Minn.,-based U.S. SiteWork is only a couple of years old.

“Just like any new company, we had to find that first job and prove ourselves,” said CEO/ Project Manager Bart Anderson. “Once we did, and the customer saw what we could offer, things started to fall into place. Our initial job involved a soil correction for a new tank-basin site in North Dakota, moving about 38,000 yards of dirt and hauling in 37,000 tons of sand. With some other work added on, it came to just over $1 million. A second project followed right after, and we’ve been fairly steady ever since, with a strong emphasis toward work in the energy sector.”

Despite being a relatively new company, U.S. SiteWork has decades of experience on staff, led by a management team that, in addition to Anderson, includes President/Project Manager Scott Kerzman and General Superintendent Rory Paggen.

“We all worked for other companies, and in some cases for more than 20 years, before we started U.S. SiteWork,” said Anderson. “Each of us brought our own strengths to the table, such as bidding certain types of projects, management or running jobs. Scott and I work on finding and bidding work, and Rory concentrates on overseeing projects. We knew going in that it seemed like a good mix, and we’ve learned during the past two years that it’s a great mix.”

“Why call anyone else?”

U.S. SiteWork covers several markets, including industrial, environmental, commercial, agricultural and energy. It specializes in earthwork, which includes common excavation as well as soil correction and stabilization; water main, storm and sanitary sewer utility installation; excavation, such as trenching and footings; demolition; deep foundations; and construction management.

“U.S. SiteWork is a full-service company with the experience and resources to take care of a wide range of customer needs, including value engineering,” said Kerzman. “We can break out our services, or provide a comprehensive turnkey site package that involves everything from clearing to curb and gutter and paving, which gives our customers one point of contact to get their projects done. Our goal is outstanding customer service. When we finish a project, we want our customers to think, ‘Why would I call anyone else to do my work when U.S. SiteWork knocked out our job problemfree, on time, on budget, fairly and honestly?’”

Customers for life

U.S. SiteWork

The company’s experience goes well beyond its management team. Much of its staff of about 50 people during the peak season have as many years in the construction industry as the owners, some of whom worked with them before going to work for U.S. SiteWork. Key personnel include Project Manager Dan Mularoni, Estimator/Project Manager Blake Smith, Project Coordinator/Office Manager Denise Christiansen, Safety Director Rolf Peterson, Project Manager/Estimator Nick Sterner, Controller Jennifer Dhein and Project Manager/Estimator Tyler Erickson.

“From laborers to foremen, we have an excellent group of people who work here, and they deserve a good deal of credit for our fast start,” said Anderson. “Their ability to take care of customers has generated a lot of repeat clients for us. Even though we’re the new kid on the block, there’s little we can’t do thanks to their efforts and dedication. We tend to take the view that when we work with new clients, they will be customers for life, and our guys also buy into that philosophy. Through time, that builds a solid book of business.”

Projects they’ve helped complete include demolition of an existing concrete water tower foundation; soil correction and site prep for a new 400,000-gallon tower with water-main installation in Missouri; and several other comprehensive jobs in Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Intelligent equipment

Unlike many businesses just starting out, U.S. SiteWork opted to buy new equipment from the start. It turned to Road Machinery & Supplies and Territory Manager Phil Major, who worked with them to purchase Komatsu D51PXi-22 and D61PXi-23 intelligent Machine Control (iMC) dozers, as well as a D65PX-17 with an add-on Topcon GPS grading system and a WA380-7 wheel loader.

“Not having a mechanic on staff meant we needed reliable equipment that we could count on for uptime, which meant new machinery was right for us,” said Paggen. “My experience included using Komatsu equipment, and I knew it was reliable, as well as productive and fuel efficient. What I didn’t know was how much those attributes are enhanced with the intelligent dozers. We’re proponents of GPS grading, and aftermarket systems are good, but the integrated technology in the Komatsus is simply head-and-shoulders better. The fact that we can use it from start to finish with automated blade control makes every operator better, and it lowers our per-yard costs and virtually eliminates staking. It reduces O&O expenses because we don’t have any masts or cables to install and remove or get damaged.”

U.S. SiteWork recently added a new Komatsu PC210LCi-10, the world’s first intelligent Machine Control hydraulic excavator, which can be used from rough-cut to finish grade with simple guidance to semi-automatically limit overexcavation and trace a target surface. Once it reaches the target elevation, no matter how hard an operator tries to move the joystick to lower the boom, the excavator won’t allow it.

“We used the PC210LCi-10 to dig foundations for a transformer station and large apartment complexes, and it worked perfectly,” said Paggen. “We definitely see the benefits of less time to reach final elevation and lower material costs associated with overexcavation. Normally, on trenches with fairly steep slopes, we would dig with an excavator, then use a skid steer to smooth them out. With the intelligent excavator, we load the file with the plan, and it accurately puts it to target without the need for another machine. The savings are obvious.”

Road Machinery & Supplies covers routine services on the iMC and other Tier 4 machines for the first 2,000 hours or three years through the Komatsu CARE program. U.S. SiteWork recently added a mechanic to service other equipment but continues to rely on RMS for parts and occasionally other mechanical help.

“Phil, RMS and Komatsu are fantastic to work with,” said Kerzman. “They detailed the benefits of all the machinery and ensured that we had the right pieces to meet our needs. Komatsu offers us attractive financing options. Even though we are a startup company, they showed they would take a chance and stand behind our business plan so that we could get equipment, and we appreciate that. We also appreciate that they stand behind their equipment with value-added programs such as Komatsu CARE. It lets us concentrate on our work with the peace of mind that the services will be done on-schedule and at times that minimize downtime.”

Smart growth

Anderson noted that U.S. SiteWork tripled in size after its first year and experienced substantial growth in its second. Expansion is likely to continue, however, at a more moderate pace going forward.

“We’ll grow as fast as we can find the right people to bid and run jobs,” said Kerzman. “I would say in the next five years our size may expand by 40 to 50 percent, but there are a lot of factors involved in whether that happens. Smart growth and getting bigger just to say we are, is not in the plans. We have a reputation for delivering quality projects right the first time, and we won’t sacrifice that.”