Rodney Murphy (L), Murphy’s Bobcat Inc., and Aaron Kiser, Power Equipment.
Rodney Murphy doesn't consider himself to be a specialist in his business, but people and businesses in and around the town of Maryville, Tenn., know he is the go-to guy when it comes to moving and selling dirt.
Through his small excavation contracting business, Murphy's Bobcat Inc., he and his crew have built a stellar reputation in the foothills and mountains of eastern Tennessee for their professionalism and amiability.
From his operation in Maryville, just south of Knoxville, Murphy does a lot of ground clearing and carving through land for new roads. Much of that is done for new-home developers.
In addition, he has a partnership in a large pit that yields a lot of red dirt, a commodity that is fairly hard to find in the rocky soil found in most of the area.
“We do a little bit of everything, to be honest,” Murphy said. “The clearing and road work we do often happens in the more mountainous areas, but most of it is right around Maryville.”
At his 44-acre pit operation, Murphy sells red compacting dirt to different customers in Maryville and nearby Alcoa.
A Machine With Brawn
When he needed a tough, reliable machine to execute the job of moving dirt out of the pit and putting it into trucks he turned to Knoxville-based Power Equipment Company for help.
Through the dealership, Murphy bought a Komatsu PC200LC-8 hydraulic excavator, which he described as displaying an impressive amount of brawn in its work.
“It really does have a lot of horsepower,” he said. “We not only load dirt with it, but also use it in our clearing and demolition work. I would say that it has a lot of power and the price was reasonable at Power Equipment.
Rugged Terrain No Problem
The Komatsu excavator will work on just about any of Murphy's several on-going projects.
His company has been working on a nearby mountainside for a local power company to improve the latter's access to its power lines from the Chilhowee Reservoir, which is fed by the Little Tennessee River. That work involves cutting new roads and repairing old ones in rugged terrain so Brookfield's crews can service the lines and towers. Murphy said many of the old access roads have needed repairs for years.
Brookfield is a renewable energy company that acquired the dam, on the Little Tennessee River, several years ago from Alcoa. The reservoir supplies electrical energy for Maryville and Blount County.
“Moving around on the mountainside was the main reason I bought the Komatsu, as well as for moving the loads of red dirt that people need,” he said. “My track hoe was getting so old I knew I needed to replace it.”
Integrity & Rapport Lead
Before he opened his company, Murphy worked in a factory for several years after high school, but worked on small clearing and grading projects for various people and businesses on the side.
“When the factory closed down, we were given a severance package and I took every dime and started this business,” Murphy said. “I bought a Bobcat skid steer and have worked in this job ever since. That's the reason the company name is Murphy's Bobcat.”
Even though the company has added a lot of other equipment from a variety of manufacturers over the years, Murphy decided not to change the name because the firm's success has established his brand in the Maryville area.
When hard economic times hit in 2008, Murphy said that it was the integrity of that company name, along with the rapport he had forged in the community, that kept the lights on at his business.
“I built really good relationships with vendors and customers, like Foothills Farmers Cooperative in Maryville. I buy my fuel, seed and fertilizer from them and I have been a customer of theirs for years and years,” he said. “When the bottom fell out, they worked with me to get through it.
“That shows that success in business is all about relationships and trusting people. It is more about trusting the other person and knowing that you are not going to give up on each other.”
Once that challenging period was over, Murphy's work began to steadily grow, so much so that now, he said, “we don't really have to go looking for business — people call us. We really are always busy.”
Furthermore, with the current crew he now has, which often works six days a week, he said he is considering whether to expand his operation.
Another of his successful business relationships is the one he has with Aaron Kiser and the other professionals at Power Equipment Co. Through that company, Murphy has bought several Komatsu machines. Kiser serves as the machine sales representative of the Knoxville branch.
“I will say this, Aaron has done a really great job working with us,” Murphy said. “I am a very loyal and dedicated person to those I work with and I have had a lot of interpersonal relationships with others, but I will listen to other dealers and at least see what they offer.
“I met Aaron and he said 'Hey, why don't you see what we have to offer.' I was looking for my first piece, a small Komatsu D39PX dozer. And to be honest, it was an excellent machine. It also has exceptional speed and I liked the way the front end sloped on it, giving the operator a better vision of the blade.”
In closing, Murphy added: “The success of Murphy's Bobcat has been a continuation of many things: loyal, hardworking employees and relationships built with customers and vendors, and loving family and friends.
“But above all, I credit the Lord. He has blessed me in more ways than I deserve.
As it says in the New Testament in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Murphy's Bobcat Inc. is located at 6570 Lee Thompson Lane in Maryville; phone number 865/856-3478. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Power Equipment serves customers with branch locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Nashville, and Memphis, Tenn., and Tupelo, Miss.