For Al Hashem, the work was in his blood. His grandfather had done it, followed by his uncle and then his father. What became a way of life for them became a way of life for him, and, a decade or so ago, for his son.
Hashem, owner/operator of ADH Contracting Inc. on Route 28 in Middleboro, Mass., is part of four generations of a family that move the earth in order for others to build upon it.
“I am third-generation excavation. My grandfather started in the 1930s, my uncle started in the early 1960s. They were just a small operation. They did construction,” said Hashem. “My uncle took over for my grandfather, and then I got in the business, then my son, Tim Hashem, got in the business. He was the fourth generation.”
All of the men in the family named their businesses after themselves. Al’s grandfather’s first business was called Arthur W. Casey Contracting. Al’s uncle’s business is David R. Casey Contracting, which is still around today.
“I started out with an old 4500 Ford backhoe, a six-wheeler dump truck and a tag trailer,” said Hashem. “I worked out of my backyard for a couple of years. I started out small.”
The Fourth of July weekend in 1987 gave Hashem his own kind of independence. When he went to help some contractors working on a job, he didn’t know it would begin a career as owner/operator of his own business, now in its 24th year.
“I went into it with my uncle, worked with him for a couple of years. My uncle and I were going in two separate directions, so I branched out on my own in 1987. I decided to go back to being a mechanic, backhoe operator, dump truck operator, with my trailer, doing side work on weekends,” he added.
“I went to work in July with my backhoe, just to help this outfit doing the Stoughton, Mass., train station — putting in the new parking lot, drainage, curbing along the tracks and platforms, and handicapped accessible ramps — and I ended up being the owner/operator, on a rental basis. I went to work, and I never stopped.
“Six months later, I ended up buying my second machine. It was an old International 175 shovel dozer. Then, I worked on rental, doing the site work at the water tower in Kingston, Mass.”
Starting from his own backyard in Middleboro, Hashem rented different buildings to house his business in the area. He incorporated ADH Contracting in 1999. He then built his own new building on Route 28 in Middleboro in 2004. It houses a solid fleet of heavy equipment, including four Caterpillar excavators (315 to a 330), three Caterpillar bulldozers (D4 to D8), Reed Screen All (90), two loaders (950 and 980), two dump trailers, and three 10-wheelers, among others.
Beyond its continued subcontracting work, ADH continues to rent machines and operators for big and small jobs.
Now Fourth Generation
All this began with one backhoe at the Stoughton Train Station.
“I was doing a lot of rental work [contractors rent him and the backhoe]. Big general contractor called me and said, ’I need a backhoe on the job.’ They kept calling.”
From that first train station job, Hashem started doing site work around various water towers, water treatment plants, water lines, and building foundations all over the South Shore of Massachusetts and Cape Cod, as far north as Westboro. Among ADH’s projects have been the excavation and site work for the large water towers in Dartmouth, Sandwich and Harwich, Mass.
Soon, another Hashem was ready to join the operation, the fourth generation to do so.
“I was all by myself for the first five to eight years, and then, Timmy, my son, got out of [high] school. He was looking for something to do. I was doing a bigger project in Rockland, Mass., site work for these condominiums, 96 units. Timmy came to work for me as a laborer, slowly learning to run the equipment. He stayed with me for four or five years.”
In 1999, Tim Hashem, like all the other excavators in the bloodline, wanted to venture out on his own.
“He wanted to branch out and go in his own direction. He took on one of the excavators with the payment, and branched out, forming T & T Excavating, also out of Middleboro. He specializes in Title Five [septic] installation and repairs,” said the proud father, who also is now Tim’s next-door neighbor.
Many Projects to Dig
With Tim by his side, Hashem worked for some three years on Willow Pond Condominiums in Rockland, Mass., followed by all the site work for the clubhouse, parking area, the green and tee areas, all the cart paths and drainage at the luxurious Atlantic Country Club in Plymouth, Mass.
ADH was then hired to do similar work at LeBaron Golf Course in Lakeville, Mass., (the club house and the parking area), in addition to putting three 20,000-gal. tunnel tanks into the ground, part of a huge concrete, septic system.
“There was an enormous trench shoring system that we rented from North East Shoring LLC of Millis, Mass., a great company to do business with. Dave Pateuk, the owner, has many years of experience in the excavation business himself. As a result, he is good at solving trench-shoring issues that the contractor may not know how to deal with. They helped us out tremendously. The photographs are really impressive. We are down inside the trench box, with that double-stacked box, a high-arch box system, and, in the photographs, we look like ants down there.
“Since this project, we have done two or three or more tunnel tanks on different jobs,” added Hashem.
It wasn’t easy; it was a challenge to be solved.
“On LeBaron Golf Course, we had the property line on one side, the course on the other, and we only had a 30-foot strip of land. We had to dig the hole, 16 feet deep, a very narrow area to work. The tanks were 40-feet-long by 11-feet wide, so we had to dig the hole, put the trench box in the hole, then back fill the outside of the trench box to get the crane close enough to start setting the tank. The pieces were so heavy we couldn’t get a big enough crane in there.
“We used a 100-ton crane to set these structures,” he added. “It came in on flat beds, two units per truck, five units. Each unit was 11 by 11 square, 8 feet long, a square box with no ends on it. And that was just the middle section,” he recalled.
From there, it was site work, roads, condo projects, site projects like Advanced Auto Parts, Rockland Trust in Abington, Mass., Bright Horizons Day Care in Foxboro, large house lots in Abington, the Fort Devens Water Treatment Pump Station (the removal of huge underground tanks), and others.
“The Town of Holbrook used our work as an example of how they wanted the roads done in their town [for a subdivision of roads at Beachtree Estates],” said Hashem.
Offers Many Services
ADH Contracting Inc. offers a wide range of excavation services, including installing roads (a complete package from cutting trees to asphalt), site work and site projects, such as water treatment plants, installing septic systems, excavation for all house lots, spreading loam, and, in the wintertime, snow plowing.
“I’ve had a steady snow plow contract since the day I’ve been in business,” Hashem said.
The company has grown beyond his own family.
“Right now, I have a crew of six to eight. When things get busy, up to 10 people. Most of my guys have been with me, six, eight, 10 years,” said Hashem. “It’s more like a family-operated business. I let the guys run their own jobs and make their own decisions to make them feel part of the team. I help them by overseeing the job.”
What makes his company stand out and last? Honesty.
“We basically stay in business because of our reputation. We’re not overpriced. We’re not underpriced. We adjust to the times. We’re an honest contractor. We just try to get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. And we don’t add a lot of extras. When we’re finished, you will not see many extras at the end of the job,” he said.
“My guys are loyal and hard working and they feel part of the team. Everybody gets along and nobody bickers. They are hand-picked guys and they are very dedicated.”
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