Best interviews and profiles of 2022
By Jenny LescohierDecember 15, 2022
There’s nothing like a first-hand account to really tell a story. And that’s what we have in this list, the best interviews and profiles from the past 12 months.
Ranging from details on long-awaited machine introductions to stories from contractors about what it took to build their businesses, this list has it all. Take a look at these reports, which are ranked from lowest to highest in terms of reader engagement.
7. Case Minotaur is a compact dozer with a loader’s tools - In this video interview, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365’s Larry Stewart digs into the details with Case’s Brady Lewis about what makes Minotaur a rock and stump pulling bulldozer - much more than a compact track loader with a dozer-blade attachment.
Topics discussed include how 5,500 pounds of tipping load and 140 inches of hinge-pin height on the nimble compact-track-loader’s footing match the loading performance of any compact, and some mid-sized, loaders.
Wth an integrated C-frame dozer that pins directly to the machine frame, Case squeezed a 114-hp dozer into a compact track loader’s footprint. The joysticks are the same controls used in Case dozers, with the same functionality. Heavy-duty pins on hydraulic cylinders allow the operator, from the machine’s cab, to drop that C-frame with a simple maneuver. Throw a switch in the cab, and the control system is remapped to ISO loader functionality. You can quick-attach to a 1.25-cubic-yard bucket, or any other skid steer attachments.
6. Doosan dozers: A deep dive - Doosan Infracore North America announced in late 2021 it would add dozers to its equipment offerings which had to that point centered on two job site staples, excavators and wheel loaders.
To find out what the company had planned for the new line, we talked with Aaron Kleingartner, former product and dealer marketing manager, who explained Doosan would offer two dozer models - the DD100 and the DD130. Both models will be available by CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023.
The two models fit into the 140 hp and less product size class, which accounts for about 45% of the dozer market.
5. Jimmy Starbuck talks staff acknowledgement and company culture - At age 19, Jimmy Starbuck went into business for himself with nothing but a used two-ton excavator. Sixteen years later he leads Starbuck Excavation and Starbuck Plant Hire, managing 150 employees and contract workers, along with a fleet of excavators, dozers, graders, and a fleet of 100 trucks, both company-owned, and contracted.
Having a vertically integrated truck fleet is a differentiating factor for the Melbourne, Australia-based contractor that specializes in moving large volumes of dirt on site and off site for large abatement projects.
Along the way, Starbuck has learned a few things about growing a business. “Companies aren’t built on one person,” he says. “They’re built with everyone pulling together.”
Finding and keeping the right people is key, but Starbuck believes employee acknowledgment helps build the company culture, which then makes it easier to recruit, retain workers, and achieve success.
4. Wacker Neuson America CEO explains new alliance with Deere - It was announced on June 14 that Wacker Neuson would begin manufacturing mini and
compact excavators for John Deere in North America, with the first machines arriving in the market by 2024. The move came just months after Deere’s divestiture from its decades-long joint venture with Hitachi for excavator production.
Under the new cooperative alliance, Wacker Neuson will manufacture under 5-tonne excavators for both Wacker Neuson and John Deere at is factories in Menomonee Falls, WI and Linz, Austria. In turn, the 5- to 9-tonne machines will be built by Deere using designs acquired from Wacker Neuson.
To dig deeper into what this new alliance means for the two companies, and for the people who own and use their equipment, we spoke with Gert Reichetseder, president and CEO of Wacker Neuson America Corporation.
3. How a small Connecticut paving company built a strong brand and reputation - American Pavement Specialists remains a family owned and operated company. Based in Danbury, CT, it was founded in 1993 by Bill Stanley Jr. and his wife Colleen.
The company services the entire state of Connecticut and Westchester County, NY. Known for its quality, service and speed, American Pavement Specialists does commercial and industrial paving, milling, reclamation and fine grading.
Bill grew up in the paving business. His father owned a small driveway company. Bill began working full-time for time for his father when he was 15 years old. At 28, Bill and his wife established American Pavement Specialists.
“Unlike many similar companies, we do not sign a contract one day, drop off equipment another day and then come back another day to work the job,” explains Bill. “When we show up to the job, we have all the necessary tools, material and equipment and a full crew. We go to work and do the entire job.”
2. Salvaging the industry with Ryan Priestly of Priestly Demolition Inc. - While Priestly Demolition is in the business of tearing things down, the crew’s first job on site is hunting for treasure. Salvage and sustainability has always been a cornerstone of the business for Vic Priestly, the company’s founder.
Today, the King City, Ontario-based company has grown into one of the largest demolition contractors in Canada, under the leadership of Vic’s son Ryan Priestly. The company has a staff of about 300 people and a fleet that includes around 100 excavators.
Notably, the company is the focus of the History Channel Canada’s original-series Salvage Kings, and they’re bring the spectator sport of demolition to the masses on national television.
1. Standing its ground: Hitachi stakes its claim on American markets - The split between Hitachi Construction Equipment and John Deere has been a hot topic since the companies announced their plan last August to end the joint venture that dates back to 2000. Questions in North America have centered primarily on what the change will mean to the brands equipment buyers and dealers have come to know.
The joint venture officially ended on March 1, and what is now known as Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas (HCMA) held its first press briefing in May to not only clarify the brand’s direction in the U.S., but also to introduce three new excavators, including the 163-hp, 50,265-lb. ZX210LC-6 HP.
To shed some light on where HCMA sees itself positioned in the market, we talked to Simon Wilson, vice president of sales for HCMA, who tells the story of the Hitachi brand in North America and where they think it will go from here.