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Tue May 20, 2014 - Northeast Edition
As a young man, Joe D’Auria learned some fundamentals about landscaping and operating some equipment doing various jobs working for George Kopac, who owned the local driving range, Route 9W Golf.
In 1984, D’Auria, who had been working for a local car dealership, was ready to make a change. With financial help — and support — from his father, Joe D’Auria Sr., he purchased a Case 530CK tractor loader backhoe and a 1974 Dodge dump truck from his neighbor and JD Backhoe Services Inc. was born.
D’Auria started out with a few local landscaping jobs and gradually worked his way into some foundation and utility line repair work in the Sparkill, N.Y., area. Over the next decade or so his company went through a series of steps, which allowed him to tackle more substantial jobs. His cousin, Ed Cook, a local general contractor, who owns a company called Mason Now, was able to get D’Auria involved in a number of his larger projects, which gave JD Backhoe Service some badly needed momentum.
“In 1987, I was able to make my first new equipment purchase, a tractor loader backhoe. I remember feeling like this was quite a turning point for my little company,” D’Auria said.
Today, most of JD Backhoe Service’s work is focused around the Rockland County, N.Y., area where he is involved in foundation, sewer repair, drainage installation and custom home construction.
“In 2000, I purchased a new Volvo EC140 excavator from Westchester Tractor and later on purchased a Volvo EC55,” D’Auria said. “Our business continued to grow and so did our need to add to our excavator fleet. Westchester Tractor no longer represented Volvo. Up to this point, we had been very satisfied with the machines, but in particular with the support and service that we received from Westchester Tractor. Our sales representative, George Risley, was very confident that we would be equally as pleased with Kobelco excavators for future purchases.
“In 2007, we purchased a Kobelco SK85. We’ve put 2,300 hours on that machine and have been very satisfied with both Kobelco and our continued service from Westchester Tractor,” he continued. “The Kobelco gave us the tool we needed for working in tight places; it offered great operator comfort; and still runs as smooth today as the day we purchased it. We were satisfied enough that when it came time for us to make an additional excavator purchase we bought a Kobelco SK160, zero tail-swing, 30,000-pound excavator with a back blade. We’ve not had the machine very long, but we are already very satisfied. The cab design gives unbelievable visibility; zero tail swing gives us a big advantage in tight spaces; the back blade is great for cleanup; and we’re getting great fuel consumption.
D’Auria said that parts support for Kobelco has been wonderful from Westchester Tractor. “Common parts are always in stock and anything else I receive the next day, quite often delivered to the job site by our sales rep, George Risley,” he said.
“There have been times that we have tried to save money by doing business outside of Westchester, like the time I spent $4,000 buying aftermarket rubber tracks. The savings were not what they appeared to be. The tracks stretched; as a result our machine did not operate properly. In spite of the fact that we did not purchase the tracks from Westchester Tractor, the service department worked with us to get the problem straightened out; lesson learned.”
D’Auria’s son, Joe D’Auria III, is now regularly working with his father as an equipment operator, and D’Auria calls his wife Sheila “the backbone and the general manager of the company.” She handles all accounts receivables and payables and manages payroll.
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