Janke Contractors Focuses on Unique Trail to Success

Thu October 01, 2009 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The $1.07 million project consists of a pre-fabricated steel truss bridge including concrete abutments, piers and retaining walls for the approaches.
The $1.07 million project consists of a pre-fabricated steel truss bridge including concrete abutments, piers and retaining walls for the approaches.

Janke General Contractors Inc. calls the small town of Athens in central Wisconsin home, but their work takes them throughout the state and beyond. In addition to general grading and construction work, Janke’s skilled design-build team has developed a specialty in constructing bike and pedestrian trails as well as boat ramps, docks and piers.

Steve Janke started his company in 2000 after breaking away from his job with another contractor and making the decision to strike out on his own.

“I was a young guy with big aspirations,” said Janke. “I knew there were good opportunities out there for professional contractors. I was confident that if I worked hard, assembled the right team and lived up to my promises I could be successful.”

Janke couldn’t have been more correct. Today, his thriving company has 25 employees and has earned a reputation as a top quality contractor among a wide range of private and governmental customers state-wide. Janke credits much of his success to choosing the right equipment and partnering with a dealer who could help him stay productive and meet his deadlines. His initial fleet of equipment included four Cat machines that he purchased from FABCO — a 320C excavator, 924G wheel loader, D5GXL dozer and a CS433C compactor.

“To do the best work, I knew I needed to hire good people and run the best equipment,” stated Janke. “I have a great group of employees and my decision to work with FABCO for my equipment needs has really paid off,” he added.

Over time Janke purchased five more Cat machines including a D3K dozer, 307C excavator, two 277C multi-terrain loaders and a 236 skid steer.

Janke has carved out a niche for his company with a focus on building bike and pedestrian trails. Projects completed by Janke include an impressive collection of high profile sites throughout the state including the Portage Canal Restoration project, the River Walk in Wisconsin Dells and many popular bike trails with extensive bridge and tunnel work — some with historical significance. Among the projects this year, Janke General Contractors is working on the construction of the Capital City Trail Overpass. The bicycle and pedestrian bridge is being built just outside the Madison city limits in Fitchburg. It crosses over Fish Hatchery Road, a busy 4-lane boulevard and will make continuing on from one section of the trail to the other a much easier and safer experience. The $1.07 million project consists of a pre-fabricated steel truss bridge including concrete abutments, piers and retaining walls for the approaches. The job is a perfect fit for Janke’s construction capabilities and metal fabrication expertise

According to Tony Niewolny, project superintendent on the job, work is on schedule and he expects the community to be using the overpass on their bike rides this fall.

“Owning Cat equipment and working with FABCO makes it easier for me to be successful,” said Janke. “I know my machines will be up and running and ready to take on just about anything I throw their way. And, when I have a unique application that calls for a special piece of equipment, I just call my FABCO representative and he takes care of me. I have an excellent relationship with FABCO and believe they have really been instrumental in helping me grow my business,” Janke concluded.

Janke also works with FABCO RENTS when extra machines are needed for a few weeks or he needs to put specialized equipment such as aerial lifts on the job.

The future should hold plenty of opportunity for Janke’s company. The growth of bike and pedestrian trails is on the rise nationwide and nowhere is that more evident than in Janke’s home state. Wisconsin has one of the largest recreation trail systems in the country with 42 named trails and is ranked as a top bicycling state in the nation. Only Washington topped the Badger State in a rating by the League of American Bicyclists.

(This story first appeared in Fall 2009 Jobsite Solutions publication and was reprinted with permission of FABCO CAT)

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