“Versatility of the WA320 is impressive’”
When it comes to describing the scope of work that K&K Excavating, Inc. handles, Co-owner Keith Naas keeps his answer simple.
“We do anything,” he smiled. “If it involves dirt, we do it; whatever the customer wants.”
Starting September 19, 1978, when Keith and childhood friend and now brother-in-law, Kevin Kiesel, teamed up, K&K Excavating, Inc. has done just that. The four decades that followed have included a little bit of everything from utility installation, to trucking to mass excavation. It’s the ability to offer a wide variety of services that keeps the company moving forward.
“We’ve done rock, hauling, clearing, subbed under bigger companies, ran our own site – it depends on what is required of us,” said Keith. “We’ve handled a car dealership, highway work and a subdivision within the last few years. We just pick what we want to do and get it done.”
When the duo decided to make it official and go into the business together, the pieces fell into place fairly quickly.
“We started with yard work, crawl spaces and retention ponds,” recalled Kevin. “We just kept growing and adding services. In our second year, we had some oil field jobs, and that’s what really got us going.”
“Rarely saying ‘no’ has served us well throughout our careers,” he added. “Customers call us because they know that nothing scares us. That helped us grow and earn a good reputation. We don’t do anything special, we just put in a lot of effort. Lots of hours and little sleep.”
As with most companies with a long history, family is an integral component of the business as Keith and Kevin’s wives – sisters Kathy and Rita, respectively – are involved, as are Keith’s sons, Stephen and Brian, and daughter Jamie; plus Kevin’s son Daniel and daughter Kristy.
“We’re proud of being a family company,” said Stephen. “We have a good reputation, and we’re able to do something we really love.”
K&K Excavating boasts a robust skill set, and it has settled into a groove in and around the Evansville, Ind., area.
“Right now we’re doing a lot of commercial work – performing site prep, utility installation and laying stone, in addition to subdivisions with the same focus,” said Kevin.
On the Green River Road subdivision project in Evansville last fall, K&K crews tackled site preparation and utility installation for the first 30-acre phase of a 160-lot, 120-acre development.
“We moved close to 40,000 yards of dirt during site prep,” estimated Stephen Naas. “We also installed nearly a mile of 8-inch sewer and water lines. This was a good project; it was a little bigger than a typical job for us.”
K&K Excavation also handled other tasks at the development such as roads and retention ponds. “Basically, if it involves hurtin’ dirt, we’re in it,” joked Daniel Kiesel. “We also did the soil stabilization and excavated the dirt for a four-acre lake on this job.”
In addition to excavating, the firm has 14 trucks for hauling dirt and heavy equipment for customers in 20 states from Missouri to New York.
“We have trucks on the road nearly every day,” said Keith.
Keith estimates that K&K Excavations’ equipment fleet includes more than 100 items. Recently, Komatsu equipment from Brandeis Machinery & Supply Company and Sales Rep Dustin Olander has made its way into that fleet.
In 2015, K&K Excavating purchased a Komatsu PC170LC excavator and then added a WA320 wheel loader.
“We’ve been impressed with the Komatsu equipment,” said Keith. “It holds up very well, and everyone at Brandeis has been really great. We work with a lot of equipment companies, and it seems to be getting harder to find people who are willing to help customers out when their equipment has an issue. Brandeis, on the other hand, addresses it right away.”
Both Komatsu machines have become must-haves on K&K’s jobsites.
“We tried several excavators when we were in the market, and the Komatsu PC170 stood out,” explained Stephen. “It continues to deliver and is a good size that fits well on a site. We are able to do a lot of things with the PC170 because it’s so versatile; plus it’s very reliable. That excavator is here working for us every day.”
The WA320’s reviews follow a similar refrain.
“It makes my job so much easier,” noted Stephen. “Just like with the PC170, the versatility of the WA320 is impressive. I can carry more material with the bucket and forks compared to other loaders. I can unload manholes and pipes and throw them around like they are nothing.”
K&K’s family connection extends to its distributor as well because Kevin’s son Joe is a Constructioneering Specialist at Brandeis. However, Komatsu machines earn their way due to more than a familial tie.
“Joe was key in getting us the information and opening our eyes to Komatsu,” recalled Stephen. “Having his experience is important, although the equipment sells itself.”
In addition to the Komatsu wheel loader and excavator, K&K also purchased a Takeuchi TL12 track loader from Brandeis in 2018.
40 more years
As Keith and Kevin reflect on their company, it’s easy for them to envision what K&K Excavating will look like in the future. With the second generation fully entrenched in the company’s day-to-day activities and the third on its way, sweeping changes to the successful formula are unlikely.
“Our kids are already involved, and that’s a pretty good deal,” said Keith. “We’ve put in a lot of work to get where we are, and I think they see that and will do a great job, too.”
“Being a successful family company is something that is very important to us,” shared Daniel. “I look forward to hitting it hard every day just like my dad and uncle have to keep this rolling for a couple more generations.”