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Faith, Principles Rule WE DIG for 25 Years

“God is the main reason we are where we are and who we are. Every project is committed to God through prayer beforehand,” said Paul Wilcox, company president.

Tue February 24, 2015 - Northeast Edition
Jay Adams

On the Wilcox family business Facebook page, a black and white photograph features the company’s fleet of heavy iron equipment. Enhancing the beauty of the shot are streaming rays of brilliant sunlight that pierce through the openings of the equipment.

It is an awe inspiring shot as is the family’s quarter century success story, which the owners contribute to their strong values and faith.

Father and son, Byron and Paul Wilcox, owners of Wilcox Excavation and Development, or WE DIG for short, run their business and their lives through Biblical principles and the will of God.

“God is the main reason we are where we are and who we are. Every project is committed to God through prayer beforehand,” said Paul Wilcox, company president.

25th Anniversary

According to Paul Wilcox, the firm started out as a family-owned general contracting company back in 1976. Wilcox and his father Byron branched off from the general contracting portion and formed Wilcox Excavation and Development (WE DIG) in 1990.

“We are currently celebrating our 25th year in service,” said Wilcox. “We are in the second and third generation. The techniques and business operations have been passed on and expounded upon from generation to generation.”

WE DIG offers a large variety of excavation services such as:

• Full site excavation

• Start-to-finish ground clearing

• Rock splitting, blasting and crushing

• Foundations

• Utilities and drainage

• Demolition

• Septic systems

• Retaining walls and more

“We specialize in residential demolitions and small scale commercial demos. We are earth-friendly and our haulers recycle up to 90 percent of the debris. Our techniques and cleanliness allow for a great demolition reputation,” said Wilcox.

“We pride ourselves on installing a high quality septic system for every client. Our trained staff regularly attends educational seminars to stay up to date.

“From a long family line of rock wall specialists we have created some very impressive and effective retaining walls,” said Wilcox.

WE DIG services all of Rhode Island from two locations in South Kingstown and West Kingstown, R.I.

For more than 25 years, WE DIG has grown from a two-man backhoe operation to a multi-member company able to service multiple jobs at once.

Ancient Tests, Ancient Principles

“WE DIG has always been a full service company specializing in all excavating areas. We have kept up with the latest advancements in machinery and technology to give our customers the very best possible,” said Wilcox.

The father son team has tackled many projects over the years including splitting and moving boulders, building homes and digging foundations. The team has even discovered artifacts on a job site.

“A couple years ago we ran a ¾-mile underground electrical service buried in concrete to a property by the Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge [a 7,350-ft. (2,240 m) span that connects the island of Newport to the island of Jamestown] only to find out the client was not able to build their $5 million dream home due to the discovery of Indian artifacts,” said Wilcox.

“Another project we recently performed in Little Compton required the demolition of a 2500-square foot house that sat directly upon a 12-foot tall outcrop of ledge. The challenge was the limited site access and true excavator precision making sure the ’endangered moss’ growing on the ledge was never disturbed. The stories just keep going on…”

The family — rooted in deep faith — keeps their lives and jobs as simple as possible. The father and son said they would advise anyone in the industry to be prudent and not to set expectations that exceed their grasp.

“Our advice would be: Create a plan, set obtainable financial goals, be honest and train your staff to be polite, efficient and safe,” said Wilcox.

The Wilcox clan gives to their church in unexpected ways.

“Members of our team devote Saturday mornings to maintaining their church. WE DIG has donated machine time, labor and materials to our local churches, building a better Rhode Island and God’s kingdom,” said Wilcox.

Word vs. Word

While the word of God is paramount, word of mouth plays a huge role.

“There is not anything more effective than someone’s personal recommendation. It speaks louder than any marketing could,” Wilcox said.

To that end, the Wilcox family plans to hold a 25-year celebration with their past clients and past and present contractors.

“We really enjoy the sense of accomplishment after completing a job. And the fact we are able to run large pieces of machinery on a daily basis is exciting,” said Wilcox. “We push the importance of safety every day and start our day with prayer each morning. The most dangerous thing is when you stop thinking about being safe and take on an incautious attitude.”

WE DIG is currently working on several projects, including finishing up two dozen residential full site works. Approximately 90 percent of these lots and sites are waterfront properties that range from 3,000 to 9,000 sq. ft. (278.7 to 836.1 sq m) homes.

“We work alongside a handful of A-plus contractors who have a high level of workmanship within the state of Rhode Island,” said Paul. Yet working along ocean cliffs presents a myriad array of challenges for any contractors, especially through brutal New England winters.

Wilcox said working with the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), the state agency that allows permitting for all ocean side building only through strict guidelines can be difficult.

“We recently completed a 600-foot long by 10-foot-plus-tall sea wall around a residential property that had to be built blind by the excavator operator,” said Wilcox. “It was a success but our crew standing in the freezing ocean with waders would rather not comment.”

And to that, we can all say, “Amen.”

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