Constructor - May/June 2017 - 41
Despite the dominance of technology in modern
excavation, the business remains very dependent on
human labor and intelligence, and the labor shortage
has had a strong impact on excavation contractors.
With roots in a very different era of
construction, how have these companies survived and thrived? Their success seems to hinge on two things:
staying current with the technology and
Veit's single dirt-hauling truck began
carrying produce, too, and then scrap.
Soon the company was doing earthwork,
roadbuilding, land clearing and demolition - and constantly offering services
"adjacent" to their existing work. "If it was
slightly related to what we were doing,"
says Boelke, "we would add that service."
Veit's director of sales and marketing,
Chuck Geisler, agrees that diversification
has been an important factor in making
their company stand out. "We offer a single
point of contact. Because we have demolition, foundation, earthwork, utilities, and
a handful of other service offerings, we
can tap a lot of different minds to come up
with creative solutions. 'That'll work; this
will save you time and money.'"
DiGeronimo tells a similar story.
"Being innovative and diverse has helped
us grow. We can do pretty much anything
that has to do with the site. Start with
clearing and stripping topsoil, putting in
utilities and on. We do our own recycling.
We're the second or third largest concrete
recycler in the country. We bought the former Chrysler stamping plant in Twinsburg,
Ohio, performed the asbestos abatement,
demolished it, scarped the steel, crushed
the concrete, performed the site work, and
created an industrial park. The more services you offer and the more value you
add to the project, the more special you
are, I guess."
Boelke believes that Veit's growth
method is part of a larger pattern that
defines the company. "We are service oriented. That's what gives us the advantage.
We train ourselves to be forward thinking and innovative. We keep ourselves
technologically advanced. In earthwork
and excavating, we rely more now on GPS
grade control equipment, computerized
systems that make us more efficient and
let us work on tight schedules."
Both Boelke and DiGeronimo agree that
GPS systems have transformed excavation. "They are really the forefront of the
technological advancement in our industry," states Boelke. "It seems to go hand
in hand with computerization. We get our
drawings electronically in a CAD file; we
shoot it out into cyberspace and it shoots it
down to the machine and loads it." Boelke
adds, "Ninety-eight percent of our fleet is
Caterpillar, and we're extremely loyal."
Paul Bertolino's company, Charter
Contracting, an AGC of Massachusettsmember, recently completed an awardwinning project remediating and capping
a Superfund landfill site. He points out that
GPS systems speed up the work. "It allows
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