Greg and Dawn Tatro, owners of G. W. Tatro Construction, were named Equipment World’s 2016 Contractor of the Year at ceremonies in Las Vegas this weekend.
The Tatros, who perform both civil and mountain ski infrastructure work out of Jeffersonville, Vermont, received some of the highest client recommendations that Equipment World editors had heard in 16 ... read more
"I knew from high school I wanted to be a contractor,” says Jeff Pettiecord. So he started doing small remodeling jobs shortly after graduating, and eventually started his company in 1984.
But it was the early 1980s and times were tough. “I literally chased fire trucks,” Jeff recalls. He’d call on the owners of the fire-damaged buildings, ... read more
Before taking his first construction job, the only knowledge Larry Merle had of the industry was “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel,” a classic children’s book his mother shared with him as a child. The story of Mike and his shovel Mary Anne became his favorite, and his mom read it to him every single ... read more
For James Tollestrup, running the family business has included mastering the ability to transition the company from one phase to another. The third-generation contractor has taken Lethbridge, Alberta-based Tollestrup Construction to new levels of growth while maintaining the identity of his grandfather’s company.
A changing identity
Founded in 1940, the company has avoided experiencing growing pains that ... read more
You could say that as Don Facciobene climbed to a height of around 200 feet in the air just to change a light bulb, he had reached the lowest point in his career.
After starting his construction company in 1987 in his hometown of Palm Bay, Florida, work began drying up in 1990. By 1993, Facciobene’s ... read more
Landon Floyd grew up in construction. His father ran a small excavation and pipeline company in Southern California but moved to Utah when Landon was a boy because it seemed a better place to raise a family.
Although his dad handed the reins over about 10 years ago, Landon grew up working for the company. “I ... read more
When you ask Brad Phillips when he first became interested in construction, his answer is straightforward: “I can’t remember when I haven’t been.”
And when you look at Brad’s background, his answer makes perfect sense. Brad is part of the third generation that runs Phillips Companies, Beavercreek, Ohio. The company, which was started by his grandfather ... read more
When talking with successful contractors, you often hear them credit the people that work for them. There’s a reason for that. Most people in this business understand that their success is directly tied to how well their employees do their job. Happy employees tend to be the best employees and the business owners that make ... read more
After Vern Larman returned to the Dallas area from a two-year stint as a missionary in Bolivia, he found he had a passion and expertise for excavation. During his five years working for a pool excavation contractor he learned to master the excavator to become the company’s most profitable crew member. As his experience grew, ... read more
"We love to do anything that involves concrete,” says Brian Winkler, 47, president of Wm. Winkler Company.
In fact, concrete has been Wm. Winkler Company’s material of choice since Brian’s grandfather started the firm in Spokane, Washington, in 1919. His grandfather did curb and gutter work, and Brian’s father, the oldest of 11 children, joined two ... read more
There are two red chairs in Doug Thomas’ office. Sitting in one when Thomas closes the door is not where you want to be.
That means it’s time for a serious talk and, fortunately, it doesn’t happen too often. Such talks are reserved for the most blatant of safety violators at Thomas Construction, located in Grove ... read more
Although Jeremy Hiltz started his own company in 1996, his roots in construction go much deeper. When he was just five years old he would get up early, creep downstairs, grab his lunch pail and wait for his dad by the door, hoping to get a ride to the jobsite.
“I was pretty low maintenance,” Hiltz ... read more
Each February, Gale Nitteberg, his wife Sandy and their grandchildren pack up and head south for about a month to escape the harsh South Dakota winter for the warm beaches of Florida.
He says years ago he and his wife talked about leaving South Dakota and maybe moving somewhere warmer, but it was never something they ... read more
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
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
“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
“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
“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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 looked around one day and decided that the wild and wooly life on the road was not the path God wanted him to follow.
“Out-of-the-box” duo goes through Florida’s housing slump, emerging with a new emphasis… and a new business venture.
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
By Mike Anderson
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
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
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 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
By Lauren Heartsill Dowdle
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
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
Bryan Force had it all set up. His dad David saw to it that he would have a good job at the local power plant as soon as he graduated from high school. And having worked there for decades, his dad knew all the ropes. Bryan had taken all the tests, met all the requirements ... read more
Larry Davis grew up alongside his dad building homes. He continued the family tradition long after his father retired in the mid '70s, building up a successful business with custom homes and developments and branched out into light commercial construction as well.
Not content to be a simple homebuilding operation, Larry has continued to diversify, creating ... read more