Dan Cristiani Excavating Company Inc. has developed into a multi-million-dollar family of businesses with more than 175 employees operating under the DCEC Holdings banner.
(Cristiani Excavating Company photo)
Once a small excavating company with a fleet consisting of a dump truck and small tractor back in 1971, the Dan Cristiani Excavating Company Inc. has developed into a multi-million-dollar family of businesses with more than 175 employees operating under the DCEC Holdings banner.
Building the business based on principles of being honest and sincere with both customers and employees, founder Dan Cristiani has established an outstanding reputation within Louisville, Ky., and surrounding community. The company provides excavation, directional drilling and utility services. Although he officially retired in 2020, Cristiani's management style of "we're all in this together" continues to define the company's total teamwork approach.
Impressive by any standards, the company's growth has been more the result of an adherence to the founder's focus on service rather than a desire to be bigger.
"We never set goals to grow, we just meet our customers' needs and do what we're asked to do," said Cristiani. "We never have really said that we are going to grow this year — it just happened."
Cristiani's approach has paid off and as a result, the company has grown 70 percent in the past five years. Now helmed by Chris Jackson and Dan's son, Danny Cristiani, the company recently marked two very significant achievements.
In 2021, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary while simultaneously reaching $50 million in business for its primary business entities, including Gotta Go Inc., an equipment and materials hauling business founded in 1997 and Gotta Go Dumpster Service, founded in 2007.
Dan Cristiani Excavating's business consists of one-third residential infrastructure; one-third industrial commercial work; and one-third municipal work.
The excavation aspect of the business encompasses earthmoving, land clearing, demolition and stormwater retention basin construction. Its utility construction work includes stormwater drainage systems, installation and repair of water lines, sanitary sewer lines and utility directional boring.
Gotta Go Inc. Trucking provides deliveries of rock from quarries and topsoil from job sites and transports sludge from sewage treatment facilities and equipment transport.
Gotta Go Dumpster Service offers a full line of dumpsters from 10 yds. to 40 yds. delivered in the Louisville or southern Indiana area.
Cristiani also was instrumental in developing the heavy equipment operator program at the Prosser School of Technology, the local vocational school serving public and private high school students of south-central Indiana. In 2003, Jackson, a graduate of the program found work at Dan Cristiani Excavating as a pipe laborer. Recognized for his hard work, Jackson was promoted to project manager/estimator. Through continued hard work and initiative, Jackson rose through the ranks and today, he is the majority owner and president of Dan Cristiani Excavating, Gotta Go Inc. and Gotta Go Dumpster Service.
One example of the projects the company undertakes is the site development work they conducted at the 6,000-acre River Ridge Commerce Center in the Louisville metro area adjacent to the Port of Indiana on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Ind. The challenges at River Ridge share similarities with much of the company's other work.
"This region has the hardest limestone there is," said Jackson. "All the good ground has already been developed so we've become accustomed to encountering limestone on almost every project. The River Ridge Commerce Center project involved major contour changes and throughout, the rock ranged from zero to four feet deep."
With work concentrated within a 50-mi. radius of Louisville, hydraulic hammers come in to play daily.
"Get the biggest hammer for the job that you can find," said Jackson. "We pull out the big hammers when we're into limestone and use smaller hammers for demolition work."
The company had purchased hydraulic breakers from several manufacturers and were satisfied with their performance but have been extremely impressed with one manufacturer.
When Cristiani purchased the assets of a local rental company five years ago, the equipment they acquired included a Gorilla hydraulic hammer. Putting the Gorilla hammer to work, the company quickly recognized its capabilities, robust construction and value. Jackson found that his background as a pipe laborer and crew chief provides keen insight and appreciation of quality equipment.
"Running equipment helps you know what you're buying," said Jackson. "Gorilla hammers offers excellent value, and their service and utilization are as good or better than higher priced hammers. Gorilla hammers hit hard."
For Dan Cristiani Excavating, the support they receive from an equipment supplier is as important as the equipment itself.
"What we like best about Gorilla Hammers and our local dealer, Boyd & Sons Machinery, is the service we receive," he said. "Boyd & Sons is a great partner, they're a major part of why we continue to purchase Gorilla hammers."
Jackson has a great deal of respect for Gorilla Hammers' Bobby Tedesco.
"I work with knowledgeable people and Bobby has an incredible amount of knowledge about hydraulic hammers," Jackson said. "He eats, sleeps and breathes hammers. He comes to our shop at least a few times a year to check in with us. If there's an issue, he confronts it head on and makes it right."
Since the company acquired its first Gorilla hammer, it has continued to build its inventory of the brand. Currently, the company's Gorilla Hammer lineup includes:
- gxs1800- 13,500-lb. hammer
- 2-gxs175- 12,000-lb. hammer
- 1-gxs165- 10,000-lb. hammer
- 1-gx135- 5,000-lb. hammer
For his part, Boyd & Son Machinery's Brent Rhinehart appreciates working with Dan Cristiani Excavating Company.
"They have a sterling reputation in this community, and it's well deserved," said Rhinehart. "In my dealings with them, they've always been extremely fair and straight-forward. Their word is their bond. I'm proud of the relationship Boyd & Sons Machinery has with their company and I look forward to outfitting their equipment fleet with top-quality Gorilla hammers well into the future." CEG
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