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Sawyer Tackles Muddy Terrain in Edenton, N.C.

Fri October 26, 2007 - Southeast Edition
Maura Bohart

An important part of any job is knowing which equipment to use on which terrain.

William Sawyer Jr. of Sawyer’s Land Developing in Belhaven, N.C., knew the right equipment for his job was lightweight machines that could handle mud.

“When it’s wet, it’s really wet,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer’s company was hired to clear the trees, stumps and build roads on a 400-acre (161.9 ha) site in Edenton, N.C., to prepare it for a housing development. Things have gone quite smoothly — except for the rain.

“What happens is, when it’s wet, it pumps. There’s too much moisture in the soil and it never sets up and gets hard,” Sawyer explained. “That makes it hard to move the equipment over the ground.”

But the company had a secret weapon. It rented two JCB 714, 14-ton (12.7 t) articulating trucks; two JCB 722, 22-ton (20 t) articulating trucks; and a JCB JS-220, 48,000-lb. (21,772 kg) class excavator from Interstate Equipment Company in Cary, N.C.

“In wet applications these trucks do an extremely good job, because of the flotation,” explained Vic Gilbert, general manager of Interstate Equipment Company of Cary, N.C. “They’re lightweight and they have large tires on them.”

The large, air-filled tires “float” the heavy trucks over the mud. It doesn’t eliminate the problem of sinking completely, but it makes it much easier to work in wet conditions.

“We felt these trucks would do less damage to the ground,” Sawyer said. “They’re lighter trucks and their weight is distributed.”

Gilbert located the trucks for Sawyer.

“Interstate is very good. Their prices are reasonable and they’re good at getting parts,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer’s Land Developing has been working with Interstate Equipment for approximately 35 years.

“We started working with William Sr. in 1973,” said Gilbert.

With the help of the JCBs, Sawyer’s Land Developing was able to move more than 100,000 cu. yd. (76,445 cu m) of dirt.

“The rain slowed down the project, but we were able to work through it a lot of times.”

Sawyer is an experienced contractor. His company was started by his father, William Sawyer Sr., and William Jr. grew up in the business.

Besides knowing which equipment to ask for, Sawyer had another piece of advice about these kinds of jobs.

“[You have to] make sure the company you’re doing the job for understands the limitations of the site. Waterfront Group understood the limitations of the site and they are a strong, reputable company.”

Financing also is important, because Sawyer’s favorite part of the work is “seeing the job completed.”

“If you work with a contractor that doesn’t have enough money to bankroll the site, it’s probably not going to get finished and that reflects on the project owner as well as on me, the contractor.”

Currently, Sawyer’s Land Developing is digging ponds for the housing site. It will complete the land-clearing project late in 2008.

About Sawyer’s Land Developing

William Sawyer Sr. started Sawyer’s Land Developing of Belhaven, N.C., in the 1960s. It primarily did clearing and drainage for farmland.

William Sr. is still involved in the business, working in the office or in the shop nearly every day.

With approximately 45 years experience, the company currently performs clearing, drainage and grading for a variety of projects including residential and commercial developments.

William Jr. believes his company’s success comes from its ability to focus on a job from start to finish.

“We’ve got enough people and equipment that we can concentrate on the job for them,” he said. “We can do the job right.”

For more information, call 252/943-2155.

About Interstate Equipment Company

Interstate Equipment Company has been in business for more than 60 years and provides sales, service and parts through out North and South Carolina for JCB, Rosco, Talbert trailers, Kawasaki loaders, Terex rear dumps, Cedarapids Crushing and Esco equipment as well as Gorman-Rupp Pumps.

For more information call 919/467-1801. CEG

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