Vermeer Plants Hit by Tornado

Growing Contractor Gets Bigger, Adds Daewoo Muscle

Thu July 07, 2005 - Midwest Edition
Darryl Seland



About seven years ago, Jody Crane, superintendent of Partners Construction Service LLC in Pleasant Hill, IA, saw exactly what he was looking for in a piece of heavy equipment.

“It was a used [Daewoo] DH 220 LC in about ’98 or ’99 that had really been put through the mill but it looked like no one had done anything but get in and turn the key,” he said. “Anything that took that kind of abuse and was still able to work, and that easy to work with, was a good trait to look for in newer equipment.”

This sentiment led Crane and his boss, Steve Gotta, president of Partners Construction, to get in touch with RTL Equipment in Grimes, IA, when they began looking to buy some more equipment.

They tried and tested the Daewoos and liked the performance and serviceability. “We were looking for reliable and affordable equipment,” said Crane.

As a small, growing contractor, Gotta is very conscious of uptime. “It is very important to keep our uptime and equipment availability where it needs to be,” he said. “My goal is an 85 percent utilization rate.”

And RTL Equipment has aided the contractor in that quest.

“RTL was instrumental in getting us online and helping us with any service issues we might have,” said Gotta. “They have even stripped parts off of new machines to keep us going. It’s phenomenal.”

From a business owner’s side of things, Gotta said Daewoo also helps him control costs.

“I looked at cost of operations and the fuel consumption on the Daewoos is 20 to 30 percent less,” he said. “At a time when fuel is $2 to $3 a gallon it is something we want to look at.”

Controlling costs has helped the company stay self-sufficient and grow substantially over the past five years. “We try to keep everything in house and sub very little,” he said.

According to Gotta, the Daewoos are user friendly for both operators and technicians. “With most machines, computers have integrated everything,” he said. “With [Daewoo] it’s simple. You look at the control module and you have certain settings that the machine makes for you instead of having to program everything.”

As a full residential and site prep contractor, Partners is currently using its Daewoos, including 255 and 225 excavators on an 80-unit subdivision in Knoxville, IA, where it is responsible for everything from the ground up. Both excavators feature a plate compactor attachment on a quick-attach boom,

The company uses the Daewoo equipment across all five of its divisions, including residential, underground, trucking and commercial. “So far [they have] performed as expected and surpassed those expectations in swing speed, hydraulic speed and its breakout power is phenomenal,” Crane said.

Gotta grew up in the construction industry and worked as an over the road truck driver until March 2001 when he started the business. He described himself as a one-man show in the beginning, performing mainly site prep work. However,