Gainesville’s O’Steen Brothers Set ’Sites’ on Quality

Wed November 26, 2003 - Southeast Edition

O’Steen Brothers Construction takes a lot of pride in doing the best quality work possible. The company is one of the primary residential and commercial site work contractors in the Gainesville, FL, area. As a result, O’Steen has loyal clients that the company has been working with for 30 years.

“Whether it is roads, apartment complexes, student housing, or hospitals — we do complete site work,” explained Brad O’Steen, president. “We clear the land and do all the underground utilities, curbings, sidewalk, and lime rock. The only thing we don’t do is the paving. That we sub out.”

In addition to site work, O’Steen also has a 500-acre (202.3 ha) pit/landfill, which has proven to be a big asset. It allows the company to have all its sand and fill materials readily on hand as well as a place to dispose of clay and other debris.

“We have a lot of [Florida Department of Transportation] contractors buy from us,” said O’Steen. “Our materials meet all the criteria for backfilling state and county road projects.”

Quality control is the key to the O’Steen success story. Supervisors have been with the company for years. They respect the high standards the company holds and impart those standards to their crews, who, in turn, take great pride in their work. And by choosing to stay within a 30-mile radius of Gainesville, the company’s short communications line makes it easy to check on equipment and personnel and to quickly respond to any needs customers might have.

“We’re not interested in expanding geographically. You’ve got to stay competitive,” said O’Steen. “As long as your numbers are in line, customers will pay a little bit more for good service and reliability. It’s worked out real well for us.”

Brothers Brad and Dexter started their company in 1972 as teenagers. They had just two pieces of equipment —an old rubber-tired backhoe and a six-yard dump truck.

Brad, the eldest brother, was the only one with a driver’s license, so he drove the truck and left Dexter to run the backhoe. When they needed help, they’d hire friends from school.

Today, Brad is president and Dexter is vice-president. Older brother Ron is an estimator; wives Lisa and Sarah work in the office; and Brad’s son, Bradley, is an equipment operator. The company has more than 115 employees and nearly as many pieces of iron, including six Hitachi excavators — an EX160, three EX200s, an EX230 and an EX370.

The first Hitachi O’Steen bought was put to the test while digging in very wet conditions at the Gainesville Raceway. Pleased with its fuel efficiency, long life and dependability, the company has continued to buy Hitachi.

“Hitachi is a very, very good machine,” said Charles Cheston, job-site superintendent. “They are very durable, very smooth and very fuel efficient. They are fast — a good workhorse. We are real happy with our choice in excavators.”

O’Steen Brothers is serviced by Highland Tractor Company, Ocala, FL.

(This article appears courtesy of “Breakout Magazine.”)