Russell Dean Geary formed Geary Construction in 1947 in Coalville, UT. A marine who had just returned from World War II, Geary started out with a backhoe and a dump truck as a means to simply make a living for himself.
He quickly earned a reputation for his work and began to take on employees to expand the business. A man with a deep respect for anyone willing to put in a hard day’s work, Geary ran his business with a couple of goals in mind: to create job security for his employees and to expand his equipment fleet to make his first goal possible.
Approximately 60 years later, Geary Construction has built a base of clients and a rock solid reputation throughout Utah. Specializing in road and pipeline construction; land reclamation; soil stripping and tailings ponds for mines; private site development; and custom gravel crushing and production, the company is now operated under the watchful eye of Geary’s daughter, DeAnn Geary.
Since her father’s passing in 1991, she has grown the business beyond his imagination, and with the same employee-focused mantra that he held so dearly: create job security for employees and do so by expanding equipment and operations.
To that end, Geary has continuously expanded her company’s equipment fleet and diversified its capabilities. The custom gravel and production operation is the perfect example –– a segment of the business that she has grown because of the increased demand for sand and gravel products in the Salt Lake City area.
In recent years, governmental regulations and environmental responsibility also have precipitated the need to recycle discarded construction materials such as concrete and asphalt. With that in mind, Geary saw the opportunity to add versatility and cost savings to her equipment fleet by buying a mobile crusher –– Komatsu’s BR380JG-1 –– that benefited her crushing and recycling business in more ways than one.
Crushing Abilities Expanded With Mobile Crusher
DeAnn’s father started the gravel business but it wasn’t until after she had taken full control of the company that she realized the niche her company could help fill.
“My father told me that I’d have enough resources to last a lifetime,” said Geary. “But I sold more gravel in one month than he sold in one year.”
Geary Construction did a massive amount of work in the region prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and expanded its crushing operations to include three stationary crushing plants. Geary Construction provided all of the gravel for the Silver Creek Junction/Interstate 80 Interchange, and the Utah Olympic Park and Snow Basin. In 2000 alone, the company produced 700,000 tons of material –– tripling its 1999 sales.
The Olympic-related work further expanded the company’s horizons and made it a preferred contractor for public roads and private ski resort developments in the area. And since then, the demand for gravel products –– from standard sand products all the way up to 6- to 12-in. gabion rock –– hasn’t wavered.
Geary currently keeps two of her stationary crushing units at the company’s gravel pit and has moved another to a job site in Altamont, UT, where on-site crushing needs are extensive enough to warrant the relocation of an entire crushing plant.
But with only two crushing units at its home pit, Geary Construction began to feel squeezed with its production capabilities. On top of that, the company started taking in asphalt and concrete products off of job sites –– the recycling of which tied up the stationary crushing units that were needed to produce its rock and roadbase products. A product demo in fall 2004 led to the quick purchase of a mobile crusher and the answer to Geary’s problems.
“Bill Gobble and Doug Tripp from Komatsu Equipment Company [KEC] told me they were bringing in a BR380JG-1 mobile crusher and asked if I’d like to demo it in my pit,” recalled Geary. “Earlier in the year, I had gone to Komatsu Field Days in Las Vegas and it was really fun to see the crusher in action. I thought this was something I could really use. At the end of two days [of the demo], I told them I wasn’t going to allow them to take it out of my pit because I was buying it.
“This enables us to use the mobile unit for the asphalt and concrete crushing and then the larger plants can be used to crush the product I need to be selling,” she added. “We can now more efficiently take in these products and recycle and resell them. And it saves our natural resources, which are limited. If we can reuse this stuff, it is really cost effective for us –– and it is great for our environment and for our owners [customers].”
Mobile Crushers Save on Labor/Trucking Costs
In addition to its work at the pit, Geary also sees a benefit in the BR380JG-1’s size, which makes it easy to transport from job site to job site. On smaller jobs, where a full-size crushing plant isn’t needed but recycled, on site, crushed aggregates could be used, a mobile crusher helps eliminate the trucking costs associated with hauling out aggregate debris and hauling in new, usable material.
“Another reason we expanded to this mobile jaw crusher,” explained Geary, “is because there are so many jobs where we’re excavating and hit a pile of material that is great fill material. With this mobile crusher we can take it to the job site and make our own three-inch granular borrow.
“That eliminates the trucking expense associated with hauling out material that might be too big, making us more competitive on these jobs. Many of the locations that we work at, trucking time from the pit to the job site is getting to be one hour to an hour-and-one-half –– going up the mountain,” she added. “Going straight up a vertical incline with a full truck not only takes a long time to pull, but fuel costs, tire costs and labor costs have a negative effect. By mobilizing with a mobile crusher, we’re able to make a product that we can reuse as fill … this product is going to be a great resource for us to make a great product and reduce the cost for our owners.”
Geary said a larger mobile unit would be a benefit to production, but the size advantages of the BR380JG-1 are that it can easily be transported on a low-boy trailer without disassembly — a fact that saves on labor and/or rental costs for hiring an outside transport. With a transportation length of 41 ft., a height of 11 ft. and a width of 9 ft. 2 in., it is easily transportable from site to site without a problem. The machine also will allow Geary to tackle jobs that in the past were deemed “too small” for on-site crushing.
“A non-mobile unit takes two weeks to set up,” she said. “It’s not feasible to go in and crush 10,000 tons of material in that case. The time and money required to set up a full plant means we can’t feasibly do it unless we’re going to crush 100,000 tons. This little machine allows us to get to these little job sites –– which I have a lot of –– and pile up all the rock, and it may only be 5,000 tons, but we’ll have a usable rock product at the end rather than having to haul that trench swell out and having to haul good rock back in to bed the sewer line.”
Features/Benefits of BR380JG-1
While focusing on the BR380JG-1’s comparatively compact size as a benefit for hauling and mobility, it is equally important to point out that, with this machine, Geary has the largest-capacity mobile jaw crusher in its size class.
The BR380JG-1 is capable of crushing bank material, rock and debris to a 2-in. to a 6-in. end product. Bank material is crushed down to all sizes throughout that spectrum, while recycled asphalt and concrete is generally reduced to either 2-in. minus or 3-in. material. The machine has a range of 55 to 265 tons per hour. Due to the variety of materials being crushed, Geary estimates they are currently crushing 150 tons per hour and between 1,000 and 1,500 tons per day.
Material is loaded by an excavator into the BR380JG-1’s 8-ft. 2-in. by 12-ft. 2-in hopper where it is fed over a vibrating grizzly feeder that evenly separates the material as it heads into the jaw, which helps to prevent overload conditions. One feature that Geary is particularly pleased with is the (optional) magnetic separator outfitted on her BR380JG-1 –– an item that she sees as critical when recycling debris.
“One thing that we couldn’t do before,” explained Geary, “is have the magnet that pulls the rebar out. When we crushed cement, if we didn’t have that, we would be in trouble. We recently tore a bridge to pieces and took all the recyclable material off the bridge, and while they try their best to get the rebar out, there is always some left inside. We ran it right through and didn’t have a bit of trouble.”
Similarity to Komatsu’s Hydraulic Excavators
The hydraulic excavator that Geary Construction usually pairs with the BR380JG-1 is the PC200 –– a machine that the company has come to trust as the “flagship” of its excavator fleet. This is a strong benefit as the PC200 and the BR380JG-1 have the exact same engine, meaning that they share a high parts commonality. It also ensures greater parts availability from her dealership. The engine similarity played an important role in the selection of the BR380JG-1.
“I trusted this machine because its engine is the same as the PC200 and PC220 excavators,” said Geary. “I have had great success with those machines, and the parts and filter commonality comes into play with me because it is cost efficient.”
Another similarity is in the tracks. The BR380JG-1’s undercarriage is identical to that of a hydraulic excavator. Hydraulic steering and high travel speeds make the machine easy to relocate. The crusher can crawl right along with the excavator so that Geary Construction can bring the crusher to the stockpile or the bank instead of vice versa, saving on time and hassle. The finished product is then stockpiled or loaded out with a Komatsu WA500 wheel loader.
Equipment Benefits Equal Employee Stability
The benefits discussed in this article are simply a means to an end for Geary. Within months she’ll be able to pay off her new mobile crusher and turn a pure profit. She sees the BR380JG-1 as a way to grow the business and to do so in a way that makes her end product more cost effective for her customers. But even beyond that, by having a machine that expands her company’s capabilities, it means one thing: more work to keep her employees busy.
“And that is important to me as a person and as a business owner,” she said. “I am so proud of the work that we do. It’s the people here that make my life and my job worthwhile — and ultimately attribute to the success of this company.”
Geary Construction is based in Coalville, UT, and is licensed to work in Utah, Nevada and Wyoming.
For more information, visit www.KomatsuAmerica.com.