Komatsu technology lowers ownership and operating costs
More than 50 years ago, William Ryan extended the family construction operation to the Florida market, continuing the Ryan legacy dating back to 1884 with roots in Wisconsin. That was fortunate timing as the business was well-positioned to take advantage of Florida’s booming golf industry in the 1970s.
Under the leadership of President Fidel Garcia, Deerfield Beach-based Ryangolf Corporation originally built golf fairways and greens in the limestone of southern Florida, but as large tracts of land became less available, the company expanded its operations north along the Gulf Coast between Tampa and Marco Island. The firm has constructed a large number of high-profile courses throughout the years, including many associated with top designers such as Tom Fazio and Rees Jones and professional golfers Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
Today, Ryangolf creates one to two new courses annually, and renovates four to five between April and August.
“Course usage peaks during the winter, so we focus our attention elsewhere during that time,” explained Vice President of Operations Jason Coffman. “Large-scale, fast-track residential sites are our primary focus.”
Ryangolf has evolved into a full-service earthwork and civil contractor. The firm takes pride in its efficiency and scale of production.
Coffman added that the blend of golf course work and residential construction gives Ryangolf Corporation a unique selling point.
“Many developers are adding a golf course amenity for the residents in their larger neighborhoods,” noted Coffman. “We’re able to handle projects from start to finish because we are responsible for complete site development, including clearing, mass excavation, infrastructure installation, road construction and fine grading, along with complete golf construction. Our clients appreciate having a single point of contact and that we control the schedule.”
Staff is the backbone
Coffman credits the more than 100 staff members at Ryangolf Corporation for its accomplishments. West Florida Operations Manager James “Tiny” Whitfield and Superintendent Chris Whidden, as well as other key supervisory personnel have been crucial to the success of the business.
“Employees are the backbone of any company, and we believe that ours are the best in the business,” Coffman emphasized. “We have a track record of people staying with us long term. A big reason why is that they are empowered to make decisions, and, more often than not, they make the right ones, benefiting both us and our customers.”
Whidden added, “Our staff members have the experience and knowledge that let us approach any project with efficiency and maximum production in mind. That keeps our per-yard costs down, which increases our competitiveness in the market. It also ensures that our customers are getting the best bang for their buck. They know we will deliver on time and on budget.”
D51PXi dozers are a ‘no-brainer’
Ryangolf’s history with Komatsu equipment dates back about 20 years, when the firm tested an early version of a GPS system for Komatsu dozers. Coffman decided the timing wasn’t right for Ryangolf Corporation to purchase the system, but he kept tabs on advancements in the technology. When looking to acquire two dozers for a recent residential project, Coffman consulted Linder Sales Rep Randy Dominguez. Their conversation led to Ryangolf’s lease of four Komatsu intelligent Machine Control D51PXi dozers.
“Randy was informative throughout the process, and he provided us with numerous opportunities to try out the machinery before making a final decision,” said Coffman. “We wanted dozers with good power and stability, and the D51PXi dozers exceeded our expectations from those standpoints. More importantly, they have improved our operators’ efficiency and eliminated the expense of staking or the need for a surveyor.”
Ryangolf Corporation is currently developing a 900-acre residential site within Lakewood Ranch, Fla., moving more than one million cubic yards of earth to make way for nearly 800 new residences. Part of the project involved constructing 12 lakes. Everything to date has been accomplished without the use of stakes.
“All the operators have to do is load the file into the machine and get after it,” Whitfield shared. “The intelligent Machine Control does the work, ensuring maximum blade load with every pass. The operator just has to steer and make sure that the material is placed in the proper location. It eliminates any guesswork involved with staking. Everything has been spot-on.”
The original two D51PXi machines performed so well that Ryangolf Corporation added two more. “It was a no-brainer,” Coffman stated. “Any reservations I still had were gone as soon as I saw the accuracy of the iMC dozers.”
Coffman tracks measurable data on his Komatsu equipment through the KOMTRAX telematics system, looking for information such as fuel burn and idle time. He keeps tabs through an app on his cell phone, using the knowledge to address potential issues.
“KOMTRAX and iMC technology are lowering our ownership and operating costs,” said Coffman. “So is Komatsu CARE. The regular maintenance provided by Linder has limited the machines’ downtime. Their technicians have gone out of the way to make sure any issues are resolved quickly. Providing excellent service is one of the many ways that Linder has helped our business grow.”
Expanding size and footprint
Ryangolf will continue to follow the new developments being built further north and inland in Florida. The firm also hopes to supplement its core residential business with an eye toward the large-scale earthmoving contracts associated with South Florida flood control coming up in the area.
“We believe our rich history has helped us become one of the top earthmoving companies throughout the state, and we want to build on that success,” said Coffman. “We think that focusing on larger projects will help us continue to grow and expand the size of our company as well as its footprint. We’re optimistic about the future.”