Huge fan of KOMTRAX
Through the course of 66 years and two generations, Koberstein Contracting, Inc., has expanded to serve its customer base in southwestern Indiana. As the firm has developed, so too has the involvement of the Koberstein family.
“My uncle started the business as a small trucking company in 1955,” recalled President Greg Koberstein. “Three of his brothers joined in the mid-70s, and the company added a backhoe and became a residential contractor. Today, we are well into our second generation, and we typically focus on commercial contracting.”
Koberstein Contracting handles underground utility installation, road construction and some building demolition in the Evansville, Ind., area. With a staff of 25 employees, the company targets commercial projects ranging from $50,000 to $5 million.
“In the grand scheme of things, we are still a small company, but we believe we are the right size for what we do,” noted Greg. “We moved into the commercial side approximately 15 years ago when residential slowed. It’s been a great move. It allowed us to grow the company and provided opportunities to go for bigger jobs.”
Greg says that the business has anywhere from five to 10 assignments in progress at any time and completes between 12 and 18 projects annually. Greg credits his experienced staff for the company’s ability to handle the work load.
“We have some highly qualified people who have been with us for a long time,” he said. “The Evansville market is pretty busy, so it’s great to have crews that we know can handle so many different things.”
While Koberstein Contracting’s calendar is typically full, no two jobs are the same. From week-long projects to multi-year endeavors, the company continually delivers for its customers.
“We’re a responsive, quality-driven civil contractor,” detailed Greg. “We operate in a low-bid environment, but we try to work with clients who recognize and value responsiveness, meeting deadlines and quality results. We have great relationships with our customers.”
In January, it began work on a commercial subdivision called The Promenade in Evansville. Koberstein Contracting installed all of the underground utilities, including storm and sanitary sewer lines, and constructed the road. The company moved 25,000 cubic yards of material and installed more than 5,000 lineal feet of utility line at the five-acre, $3 million site.
“This project showed how diversified we are,” noted Construction Manager Asher Alden. “We extended three existing roads to connect to the jobsite; installed water lines for the lots to be built, as well as for future lots; installed RCP storm sewer lines that varied in size from 12 to 60 inches; and built additional sanitary sewer lines to accommodate future construction.”
Koberstein Contracting served as the general contractor. It performed all of the work for the package and subbed out the brick, asphalt and concrete paving.
Since April 2016, Koberstein Contracting has been involved with the new Deaconess Gateway Hospital – a $100 million-plus development – handling the civil package for the facility.
“It was another project that required us to perform multiple services,” noted Asher. “We demoed the existing utilities that were underneath the new building and relocated them; installed fire protection; laid new water services lines, sanitary sewer and storm sewer; prepped the building pad to rough grade; and constructed the curbs, sidewalks and pavement.”
Komatsu, Brandeis earn trust
The relationship between Koberstein Contracting and Brandeis Machinery & Supply Company is new, but one built on performance and trust.
“Last year we began adding more Komatsu pieces to our fleet,” said Greg. “We had used Komatsu dozers and skid steers in the past, but that was the extent of it. When we needed a new excavator and wheel loader, we decided to demo some Komatsu machines. We were certainly impressed.”
The company purchased a PC290LC excavator and added a WA270 wheel loader soon after.
“The PC290 is great because it can handle our larger trench boxes, even when we dig really deep,” shared Asher. “The capacity of the machine is amazing. It’s the biggest excavator in our fleet, but it can do a lot of tasks. We dig, lay pipe, and move trench boxes with it. This excavator has been consistently busy since we got it.
“The WA270 has also been a great fit,” Asher continued. “The bucket capacity is excellent. It allows us to backfill more expeditiously. It’s one of the most popular machines we have. I think we’ll lean toward getting additional Komatsu loaders in the future because of the way the WA270 has performed.”
Koberstein Contracting has been impressed with the service it receives from Brandeis and Sales Rep Dustin Olander.
“The product is certainly important, but the distributor and service department that stand behind it are vital,” explained Greg. “Dustin and everyone at Brandeis have been responsive to our needs and have done a great deal to build this relationship. It’s a big reason why we have more Komatsu equipment in our fleet today than ever before.”
Services like Komatsu CARE, which provides complimentary maintenance on Tier 4 machines for the first 2,000 hours or three years of machine operation, and KOMTRAX, a telematics system, have also been big hits with Koberstein Contracting.
“I’m a huge fan of KOMTRAX,” noted Asher. “It’s been a valuable tool to see how efficiently we are using our machines. Komatsu CARE has also been great. When a machine needs service, Brandeis contacts us and performs the maintenance at a time that works for our schedule.
“Both KOMTRAX and Komatsu CARE have helped increase our production,” he added. “We run small crews, so downtime really hurts because we don’t have extra machines sitting around. If something isn’t working, it’s costing us money. Brandeis has been awesome at keeping us up and running.”
While Greg, his brother Tim and their cousin Kenny, represent the second generation of Koberstein ownership for the company, the next generation will come from outside of the family.
“We have a lot of great people who take pride in this company,” noted Greg. “I’m not ready to walk out the door tomorrow, but I’m coming up on the end of my career. We knew there wasn’t any family in line, so we made the decision to become employee-owned in January 2014. It’s a good opportunity for our current employees as well as the exiting shareholders.”
Greg is confident that employees like Asher and Project Estimator Phil Partenheimer are poised to lead the company into the future.
“The opportunities for growth exist in Evansville,” said Asher. “We’re always looking for ways to diversify and broaden the scope of our services. We have a solid group of employees who want to do a great job and be productive. They are our greatest assets, and they provide a solid foundation.
“The economy in this area has us optimistic,” he continued. “As long as we continue to have good field personnel and maintain strong relationships with subcontractors and customers, I think we’ll have success.”