Back in June 2006, there was much hoopla at Iowa’s John Deere Dubuque Works. Not only were they building their 10,000th J-Series Dozer on that day, but also there was a big Gold Key Event for the 10,000th J-Series Dozer customer — Larry Hitzfield of Hitzfield Excavating of Roanoke, Ind.
Deere Iron, Old and New
“I’ve sold more Deere iron than I bought,” Hitzfield said. “Our company has been raving about the quality of these machines to anyone who would listen since 1961. And I believe this J-Series is the best they’ve ever built.”
The previous H-Series dozer took four years to reach the 10,000th-sold milestone — the J did it in less than two.
“In 1961, I saw a picture in a magazine of a man on a bulldozer and decided that heavy equipment is a good way to make a living,” Hitzfield explained as he was watching assembly workers install the tracks to his new machine. “So I scraped up enough cash to buy a used John Deere 440 crawler, and within a year, I made enough money to buy a brand-new JD 2010 crawler.”
Hitzfield also was the first Hoosier to see the promise of America’s first hydraulic excavator — the JD 690.
“We ran that machine for years, and it earned this company a lot of money,” he said. “I think I still have some photos of it.”
Hitzfield currently owns 26 pieces of John Deere equipment — loaders, backhoes, crawlers and excavators. Even as he picked up the 10,000 J crawler, Hitzfield was looking forward to getting back home because a new John Deere 350D LC excavator was being delivered later in the week.
10,000th at Work
Hitzfield Excavating is serviced by Holt Equipment in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“My favorite is our old 570B motorgrader — no matter how cold, that thing would fire right up without ether,” Dave, Hitzfield’s son who is taking over the reigns of Hitzfield Excavating, said. “This new 700J dozer dad picked up in Dubuque is a real joy to operate. No one can touch Deere crawlers since they introduced the hydrostatic transmissions with the H-Series. They’re smooth, quiet and comfortable and can move around a site like nobody’s business.”
He explained that he thought John Deere hit the pinnacle with the H-Series, but also said the J-Series was its best.
“We already have 218 hours on it, and I can tell already it will be the most reliable machine in our fleet,” Dave said.
For more information, visit www.deere.com.
(“Mr. 10,000,” originally appeared in Feb. 2007’s The Construction Review, February 2007.)