Stories on our past winners and finalists

New Hampshire’s Jeremy Hiltz Excavating named Equipment World’s 2014 Contractor of the Year

New Hampshire’s Jeremy Hiltz Excavating named Equipment World’s 2014...

In an awards banquet Saturday night at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Jeremy Hiltz Excavating was named Equipment World's Contractor of the Year for 2014. Hiltz Excavating in Ashland, New Hampshire, is an $8 to $10 million company that incorporated in 1996. They specialize in commercial site work, municipal and utility work and road building. The winner ... read more

HDD contractor Scott Kelly’s “Journey to Elite” pays off in Contractor of the Year win

HDD contractor Scott Kelly’s “Journey to Elite” pays off in Contractor of the...

"This is not the business for us.” That’s what Scott Kelly remembers thinking in 1995, the first time he saw horizontal directional drilling in action during a demonstration in Shrewsbury, Massachsetts. Kelly’s father James began researching HDD a year before, so the two were very interested in seeing the relatively new technology in action. Suffice it to ... read more

Steve Cosper, Granite Contracting, Contractor of the Year, 2012

Steve Cosper, Granite Contracting, Contractor of the Year, 2012

By Tom Jackson Steve Cosper got his love of construction as a teenager working summer jobs. But it was his keen appreciation for financial management and an aggressive use of digital technology that helped his company survive the recession. Dusting off bluetops for a highway contractor in the hot Alabama sun may not seem like the kind ... read more

How a flooded ice skating rink helped one contractor start his own business

How a flooded ice skating rink helped one contractor start his own business
Everyone has to deal with unexpected changes in their lives, and often in their careers. For Brian Winot, owner of Northeast Site Contractors in East Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania, the unplanned paths he’s taken has made his business what it is today—a successful commercial site development contracting firm with 30 employees. Although construction is all Winot has ever ... read more

Community involvement, business acumen drives Phillips Companies, one of our 2014 Contractor of the Year finalists

Community involvement, business acumen drives Phillips Companies, one of our 2014 Contractor of the Year finalists
“How about some basketball tonight?” It turns out that Brad Phillip’s question to me was less about cheering on the Wright State Raiders (who won 77 to 67 that night against Youngstown State) than it was about fulfilling a commitment to the Boy Scouts, who were using a box at the Wright State stadium for an ... read more

How a loyalty to your employees can result in big growth for your construction business

How a loyalty to your employees can result in big growth for your construction business
“I’ve stayed with Larman Construction so long because of this guy right here,” said Fred Barhydt, pointing a finger at company owner Vernnen Larman. Barhydt, a Larman employee for 30 years, was just one of the employees I met expressing this sentiment during my visit to the Garland, Texas-based Equipment World Contractor of the Year finalist. The ... read more

Concrete work the “sweet spot” for Wm. Winkler Co., 2014 Contractor of the Year finalist (VIDEO)

Concrete work the “sweet spot” for Wm. Winkler Co., 2014 Contractor of the Year finalist (VIDEO)
“We love to do anything that involves concrete,” says Brian Winkler, 47, president of Wm. Winkler Co., one of 12 finalists in the 2014 Contractor of the Year program. “It’s everywhere and it’s sustainable, It’s a very versatile material.” Concrete has been Wm. Winkler Co.’s material of choice since Brian’s grandfather started the firm in Spokane, ... read more

How contractor Richard Gordon found the right size for success at Baystate Engineering

How contractor Richard Gordon found the right size for success at Baystate Engineering
Richard Gordon grew up in the operator’s seat. He’s been operating equipment since he was a kid, running skid steers around in the yard, the machine a capable extension of his curious and active mind. As he grew up in South Windsor, Connecticut, he spent his summers working as a laborer and equipment operator before heading ... read more

West Virginia contractor inspires devotion through his own loyalty to others

West Virginia contractor inspires devotion through his own loyalty to others
In today’s fickle world, many are often willing to abandon what they know and like for the latest and greatest, especially when it comes to the job market. Construction is no different; many contractors will tell you half their labor will leave and work for someone else for a seemingly tiny pay increase. That’s one of ... read more

Diversity, flexibility lead North Carolina’s Mitch Cox Construction through recession

Diversity, flexibility lead North Carolina’s Mitch Cox Construction through recession
Editor’s Note: Mitch Cox was a finalist for 2012 Contractor of the Year. He started Mitch Cox Construction Inc. in 1980 in Johnson City, Tennessee. The company has 35 employees with annual volume of $8 million to $10 million. The company serves the MOB, renovation, office and retail construction markets. Mitch Cox, CEO and founder of the company ... read more

Charles D. Lowder Inc. wins Equipment World’s top safety award

Charles D. Lowder Inc. wins Equipment World’s top safety award
When a firm is well established, there can be an attitude of not fixing what isn’t broken while old ideas and ways of doing things hold firm. Which is why Gene Lowder, president of Charles D. Lowder Inc., celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, took a different approach with his safety program. The company’s efforts in ... read more

Nitteberg Construction Co., small South Dakota town share a bond

Nitteberg Construction Co., small South Dakota town share a bond
Each February, Gale Nitteberg, his wife and their grandchildren pack up and head south for about month to escape the harsh South Dakota winter for the warm beaches of Florida. He says years ago he and his wife thought about leaving South Dakota and maybe moving somewhere warmer, but it was never something they were serious ... read more

Entrepreneurial spirit serves North Carolina’s Page & Associates well in tough times

Entrepreneurial spirit serves North Carolina’s Page & Associates well in tough times
Editor’s Note: Jane Page was a finalist for 2012 Contractor of the Year. She and her former husband started Page & Associates in 1979 in Johnson City, Tennessee. The company has 25 employees with annual volume of $3 million to $5 million. The company serves the site development, general construction, utilities and curbing and sidewalks markets. The ... read more

Deep roots sustain Brown Brothers Construction

Deep roots sustain Brown Brothers Construction
It’s a testament to determination that Brown Brothers Construction has survived and thrived in the southern Utah town of Loa, population 600. This year, in addition to being one of Equipment World’s Contractor of the Year finalists, Albert, Michael and Ellis Brown are celebrating the 50th year of the business started by their grandfather in ... read more

Fourth-generation grading firm evolves with industry changes

Jesse Steger (right) with his son Paul.
  The story of Steger Construction, Dyersville, Iowa, is one of generations. The family business, one of our 2013 Contractor of the Year finalists, began in 1948 with Herb and Fay Steger, grandfather and uncle of present owner, Jesse Steger. And now Jesse's son, Paul, has joined the firm. As Paul — a University of Northern Iowa ... read more

Robert Brash, Roice Construction, found his career on a whim

Robert Brash, Roice Construction, found his career on a whim
Editor's Note: Robert Brash was a finalist for 2012 Contractor of the Year. He started Roice Construction in 2000 in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. He has 16 employees with annual volume of $3 million to $5 million. He serves the site prep, utility and stormwater markets. Bob Brash has always been a hands-on guy who likes to ... read more

New Jersey’s Glendale Excavating is a company run by brothers

New Jersey’s Glendale Excavating is a company run by brothers
Contractors and great stories are natural duos, proven once again during my time with Glendale Excavating in Vorhees, New Jersey. One of 12 finalists for our 2013 Contractor of the Year award, Glendale is run by three brothers — Thomas, Daniel and Greg Giangiulio — who swap stories with ease. First there’s the tale of Ernie ... read more

Third-generation paver creates his own roads to follow

Third-generation paver creates his own roads to follow
During January, the Equipment World editorial team spreads out across the country to interview the 12 finalists for our Contractor of the Year program. Since we've chosen them through a meticulous vetting process, you can imagine we'll come back with some pretty good stories from the class of 2013, all of which run in the ... read more

Todd Bennick, high-flying motorcycle champ, finds new career in heavy equipment

Todd Bennick, high-flying motorcycle champ, finds new career in heavy equipment
Todd Bennick looked around one day and decided that the wild and wooly life on the road was not the path God wanted him to follow.

Husband and wife team up at the core of Bennett Contracting

Husband and wife team up at the core of Bennett Contracting
“Out-of-the-box” duo goes through Florida’s housing slump, emerging with a new emphasis… and a new business venture.

Relationships key with Stief Counts, The Counts Company

Relationships key with Stief Counts, The Counts Company
  Stief Counts Chattanooga, TN   The Counts Company Year started: 1991 Number of employees: 4 Annual volume: $3 to $5 million Markets served: Renovations, new builds, metal buildings   Stief Counts knows the value of quality work. The son of a master cabinet maker, Counts grew up in his father’s workshop in Winchester, Tennessee. There, his father planted the seeds of a work ethic ... read more

Construction heritage runs deep with Jonathan Lane, JML Trucking & Excavating

Construction heritage runs deep with Jonathan Lane, JML Trucking & Excavating
By Mike Anderson     Jonathan Lane Errol, New Hampshire   JML Trucking & Excavating Year started: 2001 Number of employees: 35 Annual volume: $5 to $7 million Markets served: Site prep, road building, winter maintenance, forestry, underground utilities     Up in the North Woods of New Hampshire, a cool, crisp 25 degrees constitutes a nice winter’s day. Just imagine what it’s like at 4 o’clock in ... read more

Moving outside of his comfort zone helped Steve Beam bridge the gap in his business

Moving outside of his comfort zone helped Steve Beam bridge the gap in his business
An avid sportsman, Beam, 51, loves spending time outdoors – making construction an ideal profession. But when the recession hit and jeopardized the future of his company, he aimed for survival and crossed over into new markets.Patiently waiting for his target has landed Steve Beam big bucks with both of his passions: hunting and construction. Road ... read more

Charles Graham, Graham and Sons, uses construction to give back

Charles Graham, Graham and Sons, uses construction to give back
For Chuck Graham, owning a successful construction company means more than being able to provide for his family – it means giving back to his fellow man in a way many could never imagine. By Amy Materson Like many construction companies, Graham and Sons has always been a family affair. Started more than 45 years ago by ... read more

Tim Davis, Straight Line Construction, builds on construction foundation

Tim Davis, Straight Line Construction, builds on construction foundation
Tim Davis Jr. Pueblo West, Colorado   Straight Line Construction Year started: 1982 Number of employees: 95 Annual volume: $3 to $5 million Markets served: Commercial and residential installation of helical piers, micro piles, compaction grouting, mud jacking     Having a degree in engineering, Tim Davis Jr. welcomes technological challenges. As a contractor, he has the resources and capabilities to put his solutions into ... read more

Jon Fye, Fye Excavating, follows his passion for construction

Jon Fye, Fye Excavating, follows his passion for construction
By Lauren Heartsill Dowdle   Jon Fye Sperry, Iowa Fye Excavating Year started: 1995 Number of employees: 45 Annual volume: $6.3 million Markets served: Commercial site work, utilities, demolition, sewer, storm water, heavy equipment hauling and trucking Jon Fye left the security of a long-time job to follow his passion for construction. A go-getter spirit, family-focused lifestyle and entrepreneurial expertise gave Jon Fye the confidence ... read more