Supervisor Dave Nault of Neville Excavating has been with the company for 25 years.
In the movie, "Miracle," 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Coach Herb Brooks said to his team prior to the big game against the powerful Soviet team, "Great moments are born from great opportunity." Sometimes, though, it can difficult to know when those opportunities arise.
When John Neville found himself laid off from the construction company he had worked for, like many people who have gone through it, he was left wondering what to do next. He decided to create a great opportunity that was in part born from his upbringing.
“My father taught me the basics of construction and taught me how to be a good, honest, hard-working person," Neville said. "He told me that when I took on a job to be there on time or early and do what’s necessary to please the customer."
So in 1983, he founded John E. Neville Excavating in Goffstown, N.H., and the company has grown to prominence in the Granite State. Now, almost 30 years later, Neville hopes to bequeath the work ethic and integrity his father had instilled in him so many years ago.
"Our son, Jake, has been working for us since he was 16 years old and he wants to take over the business," he said. "Jake has a natural talent for running equipment and getting a job done. He has inherited the same good, honest, hard-working traits that I learned from my father."
Neville’s wife, Denise, also was instrumental at the start of the business. She continued working for an insurance company so that the young couple could have health insurance and a steady income until the business grew and became more secure. By 1988, the business had grown enough for Denise to quit her job, stay at home with the children, and do the bookkeeping and office work full time. She still works in the office today.
Neville started out by doing one-man jobs, such as test holes, septic systems, driveways, well lines, pulling tree stumps, among others. During his first years of business, Neville bought several pieces of used equipment including a GMC six-wheel dump truck, a dozer, a Kenworth W900 10-wheel dump truck and a Komatsu PC200 excavator. Within the first two years, he began to hire employees.
"We still have those two employees, Dave and Ed, who have been with us for 28 years. Dave came to work for us as a laborer, then drove trucks, became an excellent dozer operator and is now our supervisor on the bigger jobs," said Neville. "He does all the layout and grades with our Total Station. Dave is passing his layout and site work knowledge on to Jake. They work very well together."
Today, Neville Excavating averages 18 to 20 employees and has increased the collection of equipment into more than 15 pieces of Komatsu equipment, six different-sized excavators, three dozers, two loaders, rock trucks and a grader. He also runs six Kenworth dump trucks and two Case backhoes.
This arsenal of equipment allows for a variety of jobs Neville can accomplish. Neville Excavating jobs range anywhere from $5,000 up to $2.5 million. It doesn’t matter whether they are big or small.
"We do new road installations, mostly for housing developments and commercial buildings," said Neville. "Work includes erosion control, clearing, grubbing, cuts and fills, drainage systems, detention ponds, underground utilities, fire cisterns — guardrails, paving and curb work is subbed out. We have recently completed two roads for two housing developments here in Goffstown. Our reputation and good working relationship with the Goffstown public works department and town engineer were factors in being awarded this work."
The company has done several road reclamation projects for the town of Goffstown, as well. The work included drainage systems, swales, ditching, clearing, reclaiming asphalt, putting a road fabric down, finish grading and paving.
John E. Neville Excavating also performs commercial and residential work. These jobs include stumping, grading, driveways, septic systems, retaining walls, detention ponds, water lines and drainage systems among others.
With all this work to be done, challenges abound. Neville’s team is working on a project in Goffstown that requires the construction of a Redi-Rock retaining wall that is 25 ft. (7.6 m) high by 300 ft. (91.4 m) long. The wall is necessary and is the first task to be accomplished so that a road can be built for nearby apartment buildings.
"The road is at an eight percent grade. This site is a challenge because there is only one way in and one way out," Neville said. "The site is all sand and was started in January. We were able to work on the site all winter due to minimal frost in the ground."
The company also is very active in the community. Neville Excavating donates its services to quite a few community organizations, including Goffstown Little League, Goffstown Lions Club, the Main Street Program Pumpkin Regata and Upreach Therapeutic Riding Center.
"For the past three years, I have brought a piece of equipment to a two-day event called ’New Hampshire Construction Career Days’ in Hopkinton," he said. "The event is a career ’field day’ for high school students to get an idea of the construction field. Contractors set up displays for general contracting, engineering, estimating, landscaping, surveying, welding, electrical, various equipment such as backhoes, small excavators, trucks, dozers are brought in. Approximately 500 high school students attend each of the two days. It’s a great event. I really enjoy participating in it."
John E. Neville Excavating is located at 8 Whipplewill Road, New Boston, N.H. For more information, call 603/497-4427.