Customers in Action

Womack & Sons Construction Group

NEW NAME FOR THIS LOUISIANA FIRM REFLECTS FAMILY INVOLVEMENT AND EXPANDED SERVICE OFFERINGS

November 10, 2015

The first intelligent Machine Control excavator to be put into service in Louisiana

Womack & Sons

In 1983, Glen Womack started a company that laid residential water lines in rural areas of central Louisiana. The company, GD Womack Trenching, consisted of Glen, a pickup truck and a walk-behind trencher.

“When I started, I was a one-man-band, and I remained that way for a number of years,” Glen recalled. “In the late 1980s, I got a job as a sub installing water main lines, so I hired my first two employees. I think it tells you something about our company that both of those guys, Tony Boothe and Robert Chaudoin, are still with us today.”

Over the years, GD Womack Trenching grew, and although utility-style work continued to be a mainstay, the company added other services such as site work, concrete and building construction. In the mid-’90s, Womack started bonding his own work as a general contractor. In 2001, his son James joined the business and brought with him a production mentality that remains a hallmark of the family business. In 2008, Glen’s other son, Chase, also came onboard after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in construction management.

“With both James and Chase now involved and contributing significantly to the operation, and with us doing much more than just trenching, we decided it was time for a change,” said Glen. “In 2011, James and Chase became part owners of the company, which we renamed Womack & Sons Construction Group. We did that to reflect their involvement and better describe who we are and the wide range of services we can provide.”

Utility work remains a significant part of Womack & Sons’ workload, but in addition to underground pipe, its expertise now includes treatment facilities. The company also does all types of irrigation for the farming industry, from land leveling to underground piping to pivots; directional drilling to place pipe under roads, streams or structures; trucking and hauling with a fleet of trailer and tri-axle dump trucks; and building construction that consists of site work and above-ground facilities. Recently, it has done a number of recreation complexes with athletic fields, tennis courts and running tracks for parks and area schools.

Harrisonburg-based Womack & Sons works throughout the state of Louisiana. With that wide range of capabilities, it is able to handle almost any job using its own crews exclusively.

“We sub out the paving, but otherwise, we’re very self-sufficient,” said Glen. “Most of our work is low-bid, but the agencies we work for try to make sure we know about their jobs and encourage us to bid them. We have an excellent relationship with any owner we work for because we try to become a partner in their project. We want to work with them to ensure a positive end result where everybody comes out a winner. We’re easy to work with and results-oriented, managing our projects in a way that emphasizes production so the job moves along quickly and smoothly.”

Family affair

Womack & Sons

Success can be measured in many ways. The fact that Womack & Sons has grown from a one-man operation to one that does millions of dollars of work annually and employs more than 80 people is certainly one measure. Hundreds of successful projects completed is another. But for Glen, his family’s involvement in the business is his greatest success.

“Having James and Chase as part owners – that means everything to me, and it was the dream all along. As a family, we’d sit at the supper table and talk about it while they were growing up. This summer, my daughter Paige, who recently graduated from college, also came to work for us to handle marketing and other duties. Everybody lives within five miles of here. It’s truly wonderful for me and my wife, Judy, who was also instrumental in what we’ve achieved. She was a part owner in GD Womack Trenching and has been a great partner through it all. Behind every man is a good woman, and that’s certainly the case for me.”

James manages much of the dirt work, water mains and irrigation. Chase does a lot of the concrete, building construction and road work, as well as some office duties. Glen oversees all aspects of the business.

“Dad instilled a strong work ethic in all of us,” said James. “We’re willing to work long hours and push hard to get the necessary production to get our jobs done right and get them done fast.” Chase added, “We understand that time is money, even in the public-bid world. Our goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible because that’s what the customer wants and needs, and it’s how we make our money.”

The family atmosphere at Womack & Sons extends well beyond bloodlines.

“We view our employees as an extension of our family,” said Chase. “We respect them. When they need time off, we give them time off. When they hurt, we hurt. We don’t want to be like a big corporation and treat people like they’re a number. We like to keep things personal.”

“That’s why a lot of our employees came here and have stayed here; because they share our values,” added Glen. “We structure our lives – personal and work – in the following manner: God/church, family and work. In that order. There are many people with us now because they have that same outlook. They were looking for a place where they mattered, and all of our employees matter to us.”

Louisiana’s first intelligent excavator

Womack & Sons

Womack & Sons’ heavy equipment fleet consists largely of Komatsu machines from H&E Equipment Services in Alexandria. It includes nine hydraulic excavators, ranging from a PC35 to a PC360. The company also has two Komatsu dozers, a D61 and D39. The two newest pieces are intelligent Machine Control (iMC) models with integrated GPS – a D61PXi-23 dozer and a PC210LCi-10 excavator. The PC210LCi is the first iMC excavator to be put into service in Louisiana.

“We just got the PC210LCi late this summer, but we can already see the benefit of having it,” said James. “It speeds up production and that’s what we’re all about. We’ve used it for ditching, and it worked great. We’ve also started laying gravity sewer with it, and that’s a good application as well because it ensures you don’t overexcavate. In the past, we would often end up needing more stone bedding because we went too deep. With the iMC excavator, the elevation is set and it won’t allow you to go too deep. It’s much more precise and we’re confident it will save us money.”

“As for the D61PXi dozer, we’ve had it most of the year and it’s proven its worth to us,” said Chase. “At first, we were a little hesitant because it was our first experience with GPS grading, but H&E assured us they would teach us everything we needed to know and that’s been the case. One thing we could see right away is that it had the potential to save us a lot of money by eliminating much of the extra time and labor required for shooting grade and staking. Now that we’ve had it for a while, we can confirm those savings. With the D61PXi, the operator knows exactly where to cut and where to fill. It’s so much more efficient.”

In addition to the quality of the Komatsu equipment, the Womacks say the support they get from H&E is crucial to them.

“We needed a machine for a day. H&E didn’t have what we needed in Alexandria, so they went all the way to Baton Rouge to get one and bring it up for us,” said James. “Other dealers would probably do that for a month’s rental, maybe a week – but one day? Not likely. We know H&E didn’t make any money on it. They did it because we were in a bind and they were willing to help us out.”

“H&E has a good supply of machines, good technicians and our Sales Rep, Jeff Bonial, goes out of his way to make sure we get what we need,” added Glen. “They’re the whole package and we consider them part of our team. They go the extra mile for us and we appreciate it.”

Young and growing

Womack & Sons is still a relatively new entity, and Glen Womack says the company is definitely still growing.

“Without a doubt – compared to a lot of companies – we’re young in terms of our workforce. Most of our workers are 40 or younger. And with James and Chase, we’re also young in terms of ownership. Our employees are hungry and they want to do more and create more opportunities for themselves, so that’s what we’ll try to do. “For me personally, this company is already beyond anything that I ever expected and I consider myself blessed,” he added.

“Getting bigger is not that important to me at this point in my life, but I want my children and my employees to be able to reach their dreams. My goal is to help us grow in an orderly and sustainable fashion.”