Contractor, Crew Call on Cat Compacts in Canton

Mon July 04, 2005 - Midwest Edition

The headquarters of Gaetano Contractors Inc., is usually buzzing like a beehive. It’s been this way since Louis Gaetano, a mason by trade, set up shop here 80 years ago.

Today, his grandsons –– Daniel, who is president of the company, and John, corporate secretary –– oversee a turnkey operation on projects focused within a 100-mi. radius of the Greater Canton, OH, area.

Gaetano Contractors Inc. offers a wide range of builder services. With 65 to 80 employees throughout the season, the company has crews working on large warehouse distribution centers, churches, schools and luxury homes from site prep to finish.

“The key word here is ’turnkey,’” Daniel explained. “We’re the most complete contractor in this area.”

“We do all the work ourselves to ensure quality and to meet the time frame of a project. We don’t have to wait on subcontractors and that helps us hold the line on our bids. We deliver on what we propose,” added John.

As Daniel pointed out, it’s a simple equation.

“When we do a job for somebody, it’s going to be quality because we want their next job, too.”

Skilled Crews, Quality Equipment

The Gaetano brothers will tell you that quality originates from the hands of their skilled crews. Likewise, the Gaetanos want to outfit their crews with quality tools and equipment, particularly the Caterpillar multi-terrain loader.

Daniel’s son Tony, an equipment operator, influenced the company’s compact equipment purchases. Tony attributes his choice to the way the machines handle.

“They’re also built so much stronger than our previous skid steer loaders,” he said.

Better Built

In addition to the rubber-tracked Cat multi-terrain loader, the Gaetanos recently purchased four new Cat skid steer loaders. They invested in the fleet of compact machines because of their reliability and versatility in nearly any application. They foresee putting 500 to 700 hours on each machine in a year.

“A skid steer loader is like a wheelbarrow … You just can’t do without it,” said John. “In our business you can never have enough of them. They’re fast, versatile, and just great in tight spaces.”

Before they traded for their first Cat machine, they conducted a side-by-side comparison with another comparable machine.

“We gave them a good demo,” Daniel explained. “It performed way ahead of the other machine and that’s more money right there every hour you are operating it.”

Tony said the operator ease of the machines extends beyond the cab. Servicing and regular maintenance, with ample rear access, is more convenient than other skid steers he’s operated.

“The service points are arranged in an easy, logical way.”

Smooth Control, Improved Load Retention

At the controls of the multi-terrain loader, Tony is in final preparation on a large expansion project at a local cheese plant. Deftly maneuvering the dual hydraulic joystick controls, he feathered the bucket into position for a precise final grade pass. Prior to the final grading, Tony used the machine to move mountains of fill into place across the site.

Whether in the multi-terrain loader or one of the skid steer loaders, Tony appreciates the ease and responsiveness of the dual hydraulic joystick controls –– as opposed to the foot pedal operation of their former machines.

“For a tall guy, foot controls are very awkward. These joystick controls are modeled after the excavators and backhoe loaders, so it’s easy to jump from one machine to the other,” Tony said. “When you think about it, joystick controls must make sense. After all, your feeling is in your hands. You don’t have the feeling in your feet that is required for precise control.”

The Gaetanos chose the multi-terrain loader for the versatility that rubber-tracked machines add to their fleet.

“Now we can go into fragile areas without tearing things up,” said John. “The tracks can work in a basement situation with wet, sandy silt, whereas wheels will get stuck.”

Tony has two more reasons for liking the rubber tracks.

“Tracks are great for grading. They keep the bucket level on the ground. It almost works like a dozer,” he said. “Also the smoother ride of rubber tracks really helps material retention such as when we’re moving fill around on a rough site.”

Daniel was on site the day the machine arrived.

“I’m a bricklayer by trade, and I’ve never run joystick controls before,” he said. “By the end of the day, I was really cooking. I took 20 minutes at lunch and never got off the rest of the day.”

In addition to general purpose buckets, the Gaetanos also constantly use sweepers, hammers, pallet forks and a side-discharge concrete chute.

(This article appears courtesy of Northbrook Public Relations for Caterpillar.)