Firm Finds ’New’ Used Iron to Quickly Expand Fleet

Thu February 10, 2005 - Northeast Edition

In 1983, Scott Kimmel left his job as an insurance marketing representative to start a small coal packaging company in Wiconisco, PA, about 30 mi. north of Harrisburg, PA.

“When I started Kimmel Coal Packaging, it was just me and two other guys,” Kimmel recalled. “I manufactured my own bagging machine and set up a scale system. The premise behind the company was that we’d package the coal in 50-pound bags and sell it to individuals for home heating.”

Over the years, the company evolved. “We started selling to the steel industry, first in our 50-pound bags, then one-ton super sacks, and now it’s delivered to the mills by bulk in tankers. I’d say 98 percent of our product now goes to the steel industry, and the homeowner market that used to be my entire business, is now a very small percentage of what we do.”

Kimmel didn’t just happen into the coal business. His family owned the Lyken-based processing firm, Meadowbrook Coal.

“I worked there summers and weekends since I was 12 years old,” said Kimmel. “It was a good basis for starting my own company.”

A couple of years ago, Kimmel’s dad, Leslie, had an accident that left him unable to run Meadowbrook. At the time, he was in the process of purchasing Michael Coal, a stripping operation. Scott Kimmel completed that deal, and approximately a year ago also purchased Meadowbrook from his parents.

“Today, we’ve integrated the three companies, Meadowbrook, Michael Coal and Kimmel’s Coal Processing,” said Kimmel. “We mine our raw material, we process it and we sell it. We use our own production as much as possible. Although we do have some dependable outside suppliers, we’re basically in control of our own destiny and that’s the way we like it.”

Equipment Needed

With the addition of Michael Coal and Meadowbrook, Kimmel had to get quite a bit of equipment in a fairly short period of time.

“Kimmel Coal Packaging is not equipment intensive, but coal mining and processing are,” Kimmel noted. “Michael Coal also got a contract to work at a nearby power plant, which added to our equipment needs.”

Kimmel has turned largely to Midlantic Machinery and Wilkes-Barre Territory Manager Gary Reish for Komatsu ReMarketing Distributor Qualified used equipment.

“Like everybody, if money were no object, I would have loved to buy all brand-new equipment. But of course, money is an object. So instead of buying new, we looked for the highest quality and best value in used machines. Midlantic and Komatsu filled the bill.”

Both Michael Coal and Meadowbrook Coal utilize numerous Komatsu Distributor Qualified used machines including a D375 dozer, a PC650 hydraulic excavator, HD465 haul trucks and several WA500 wheel loaders.

“I’m very fussy about what I buy,” Kimmel explained. “Basically, I want it to be like new without the new price tag. Komatsu Distributor Qualified machines were just what we were looking for. It’s quality equipment at a price we can afford.”

“Scott has built his business by being a reliable supplier for his customers,” said Meadowbrook equipment maintenance manager Kirk Klinger.

“In order to be that, we need productive equipment and uptime is critical. The power plant, for example, is a 24/7 operation. We can’t have equipment down and do what our customers expect of us. With Komatsu Distributor Qualified used equipment, we get the productivity and uptime we need.”

“The fact that the machines are inspected and warrantied is a big factor for us,” added Kimmel. “That brings peace of mind you can’t get with most used equipment purchases. If a problem comes up, we know the distributor is not going to run away from it. We’ve had a couple of minor issues, which is not unusual, and each time, Midlantic has been there to make it right.”

In addition to the Distributor Qualified machines, Kimmel also has recently purchased two new Komatsu wheel loaders, a WA450-5 and WA500-5.

Growth Continues

The Kimmel family of companies has grown considerably since Scott started his small coalpackaging business 21 years ago. Today, between 65 and 70 people work at Meadowbrook, Michael Coal and Kimmel Coal Packaging.

“We have excellent people throughout the organizations, which is, of course, one of the big reasons we’ve been so successful,” acknowledged Kimmel.

In addition to Klinger, key personnel include Michael Coal foremen Bill Blaze and Terry Reiner; Meadowbrook plant superintendent John Wallace; and Tim Miller, who runs the packaging plant.

“We’re definitely still growing,” Kimmel noted. “Business is good and we’re currently in the process of expanding the packaging/supply side of our business into South Carolina, Kentucky and Alabama, where we have long-term contracts with some steel mills.

“We pride ourselves on providing the best service in the industry in terms of quality, availability and delivery of product. As long as we continue to do that better than anyone else, I think we’ll be as successful as we want to be.”

(This story was reprinted from “Midlantic Machinery’s News.”)