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Partnerships Integral to North Charleston Firm’s Success

Fri January 23, 2009 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Being able to recognize a good partnership can make all the difference in the world when starting out in a new industry. A good partnership, whether with the right people or the right equipment, can solidify the success of a business and help sustain it for years to come.

Jeremy Sanders and Clifford Fisher IV are pleased with the partnership they’ve developed over the past year. The two have worked together to help grow Carolina Clearing & Grading in North Charleston, S.C., which specializes in turnkey site work. They have been able to grow their business by focusing more on land clearing, becoming one of very few contractors in the area to offer complete site work, including grinding services.

Offering a complete site work package has enabled Carolina Clearing & Grading to take on larger projects such as an 80-acre (32 ha) industrial development in Palmetto Commerce Park, located in North Charleston. Sanders said they were hired by general contractor Pattillo Construction to perform clearing, grinding, erosion control, utility installation and fine grading — a complete site package estimated at $7 million.

Carolina Clearing & Grading stationed all three of its Vermeer grinders on the project in order to tackle the 10- to 15-year tree growth that covered much of the 80-acre (32 ha) job site. The company owns a Vermeer HG6000TX horizontal grinder and two Vermeer TG7000 tub grinders. Sanders said the tub grinders are especially helpful in grinding through the older tree growth commonly found in the North Charleston area. “We have a lot of large pine trees and hardwoods. With those tub grinders, you can pretty much throw those large stumps in there and not worry about it. They grind through them easily,” he said, “while the horizontal grinder takes longer wood material a little better.”

At the Palmetto Commerce Park project, Fisher said his crews used a 2.5-in. (6 cm) square screen on the HG6000TX and a 3-in. (8 cm) round screen on the two tub grinders. The size and quality of chips produced by the grinders is important because the resulting wood product is hauled off-site to the nearby Westvaco Corp. power cogeneration facility, where it is used as boiler fuel.

Ways to increase productivity become even more important when it’s a large project and when the resulting wood chips must meet special restrictions. Luckily, due to the quality of wood chips that the Vermeer grinders produce, Carolina Clearing & Grading crews only have to run the wood debris through the grinder once. Fisher said the duplex drum cutting system on the Vermeer grinders is a must in the grinding business because it provides optimal cutting performance and simplified maintenance.

Sanders’ and Fisher’s hard work paid off. The 80-acre industrial job site stayed on schedule and the grinding portion of the project took about three weeks to complete. In all, crews hauled off almost 3,500 tons (3,175 t) of resulting wood product. One thing Sanders and Fisher say they’ve learned is that not only must they make good decisions when it comes to partnering with clients for construction work and debris disposal, but also in aligning with equipment manufacturers and local dealers like Vermeer Mid Atlantic.

“We tried a couple of different brands and decided that Vermeer was the one we wanted,” Sanders said. “You have to try them out and see which one best suits you in terms of production, features and service. For us, the grinders have been outstanding.”

This article was reprinted from Vermeer OnSite magazine, Fall 2008 issue.

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