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Putnam County, Fla., Invests in Three New Machines

Thu February 02, 2017 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The operator tests the Kaiser S2.
The operator tests the Kaiser S2.
The operator tests the Kaiser S2. An operator in training tries out the Kaiser S2. (L-R) are Mike Knowles, sales representative of GS Equipment; H.P. “Press” Tompkins, public works director of Putnam County; Lanny Hollifield, vice president of Kaiser sales and service of GS Equipment; Roger Cobb, operator trainer of GS Equipment; and Matthew Thompson, operator of Putnam County. Putnam County’s Gradall XL 4100. Todd Adams (L), public works supervisor of Putnam County, receives instruction on the county’s Sakai SW354 asphalt roller from Mike Knowles, sales representative of GS Equipment. (L-R) are the Putnam County team, Great Southern Equipment Company team and support team members.

When H.P. “Press” Tompkins, the public works director of Putnam County, Fla., was tasked with purchasing new equipment to improve land and roadways in his area, he knew exactly where to invest the county's money. Tompkins began working for the county nine months ago, but came to the job with 12 years of experience working for a neighboring county. Ultimately, his experience with the equipment used during his previous tenure, inspired the purchases for Putnam County.

Putnam County's commissioners recently authorized the purchase of three new machines for the county. The first machine, purchased from Great Southern Equipment Company (GS Equipment), a new and used equipment dealer serving locations throughout Florida, was a Kaiser S2, a walking excavator on wheels. It's affectionately known as a “spider”.

“Putnam County is about 850 square miles and most of it is rural,” said Tompkins. “There is a lot of off-road work that needs to be done, and the county did not have the type of equipment that was capable of doing what the Kaiser S2 does. The neighboring county where I came from had a spider, and I was familiar with it over there. We had to borrow the other county's spider several times to do some emergency work. Due to the tremendous support I've received from the county, I was able to work out a deal to purchase the Kaiser S2.”

Now that the county is equipped with the Kaiser S2, crews have begun clearing areas that were previously beyond reach with conventional equipment, including 50 to 100 outfall ditches as well as several retention ponds. In addition to the Kaiser S2, Tompkins also purchased a new Gradall XL 4100, which he calls the “backbone” of the county's work crews.

“The Gradall XL 4100 will be used for roadside ditch cleaning and roadside swale installation as well as shoulder restoration,” said Tompkins. “The Gradall is our workhorse. We have three right now, but we needed a new machine. Fortunately, we were able to work out a deal with Mike Knowles, sales representative of GS Equipment. Mike and a Gradall representative came out to train our crews on the new machine. I think it's going to be a good relationship.”

Tompkins also said he was pleased with the service he received from GS Equipment when he purchased the third piece of equipment — a Sakai SW354 asphalt roller.

“We do a lot of our own asphalt patching on small pot holes,” said Tompkins. “We also put in cross drains in our roads; however, we never had a true asphalt roller. We were compacting asphalt with motor grader tires. I talked the county commissioners into getting a small asphalt roller, and Mike had one available. It was in our budget, and it was exactly what we were looking for. Mike was able to put everything together in order to meet our needs and our budget.”

“It improves the morale of our department to see new equipment come in. We had to make due for so long, and I told the commissioners, 'if you want us to do the job and to provide the service to the residents, we need the equipment to do it.' I was able to get that message across. It means a lot to the crew to have the right equipment.” — CEG

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