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Starting With Just One Excavator, David Tinker Excavation 'Explodes' With Growth

Thu September 09, 2021 - Northeast Edition #19
CEG


(L-R): Chris Reseska, branch manager of Monroe Tractor; and Andrew and David Tinker, both of David Tinker Excavating.
(L-R): Chris Reseska, branch manager of Monroe Tractor; and Andrew and David Tinker, both of David Tinker Excavating.
(L-R): Chris Reseska, branch manager of Monroe Tractor; and Andrew and David Tinker, both of David Tinker Excavating. David Tinker Excavating’s Case CX245D SR 60,000-lb. excavator at work digging for new water line utilities on Tower Road in Brookfield, Conn. New water line being installed for Aquarion Water Company. David Tinker Excavating’s Case CX145D SR 34,000-lb. excavator doing water line work on Tower Road in Brookfield, Conn.

A man and a machine. That's how a lot of companies start out, and it was the same for David Tinker Excavating.

After a brief stint in higher education, Tinker left the books behind, purchased a mini-excavator and went to work. For the first three years, it was just he and his excavator, but he gradually added machines and employees, and in 1996, he became an LLC.

In the early days, Tinker primarily tackled landscape work and subcontracting for site developers, but then he made a connection with a small water company in Connecticut called Rural Water Company and started doing some of their installation and replacement work. Approximately 11 years ago, Rural Water Company was sold to Aquarion Water Company.

"At that point, Aquarion Water Company quickly realized the value in our knowledge of the systems that they had just acquired from Rural Water Company and they decided to more fully utilize our expertise," Tinker said. "That's when our business exploded. We made the strategic decision to get out of the site work business and into the full-time utility business concentrating all of our attention on water and sewer. We quickly grew from four employees to today's level of 30 employees, including office staff."

Today, David Tinker Excavating services the entire state of Connecticut, installing water mains and services for Aquarion Water, as well as building treatment and pump stations for them.

"We do general contracting work building those treatment stations because they involve different trades [subcontractors] working for us in the process. We do emergency calls; we have crews that are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our fleet of equipment has grown to about 40 vehicles with our latest acquisitions putting us in the hydro excavating business."

A recent project found David Tinker Excavating on Tower Road in Brookfield, Conn., where it was laying approximately 5,800 ft. of water main and doing residential service hookups for upwards of 40 homes, including meter installations.

"The water mains that were here are very old and ran through back property lines and were not covered by any easements, so Aquarion is now running new water mains down the road in front of the houses, which is the conventional way of doing it. We are then running new services into the homes. Or, in other words, feeding the houses from the front that used to be fed from the back.

"It is a fairly intricate type of job. Where ordinarily we are just replacing existing water main, here we are running new lines through new excavation. We are actually hired because we are the preferred contractor for this type of situation. We have a good reputation for dealing with customers and maintaining good customer relationships."

Besides having the ability to keep the utility company's customers satisfied under stressful situations there is a lot that is expected from David Tinker Excavating, and it all starts with a dependable fleet of equipment that start and run reliably every day.

"You have to have support from vendors that you can absolutely rely on. That's why we rely on vendors like Monroe Tractor and their team." Monroe Tractor's South Windsor location is run by Branch Manager Chris Reseska and service is overseen by Service Manager Tim Doehr.

"We know that at any time a light comes on in one of the machines, and we don't know why, a tech is immediately sent out to resolve the issue. We've had that kind of relationship for many years. Chris sold me my very first excavator and he has always been there for us. Something you always have to keep in mind, you are working in extreme conditions and equipment breaks regardless of how careful you are. You have to have support you can rely on.

"Since Monroe Tractor has become the Case dealer in Connecticut, with their tremendous support we are gaining more and more confidence in the Case product and Case has been a substantial part of our excavator fleet. Recently we demoed other brands of equipment. Our operators, one of which is my son, told us that hands down they would prefer the Case machines over the other brands. The Case machines were smoother, had stronger hydraulics, they were not jittery in any way. Pound for pound comparing similar size models, they were a more powerful machine.

"The oldest Case machine in our fleet is eight years old and we have never had a significant breakdown. It's very important when you know that you have dependability, smooth operation, great air conditioning, all of the creature comforts, and cameras that surpass anything else that we have seen. The monitor gives a very vivid display and there are no blind spots."

There have been times that Monroe Tractor's service has really come through for Tinker and it reinforces their value as a partner, he said.

"We rented a 245 sized excavator to do a job in Stamford [Connecticut] on a sea wall. The entire job was two feet below sea level. As the job progressed, we realized we needed a hammer on the excavator. I had the right hammer for the excavator, but the couplers to mount the hammer to the excavator were not right. Monroe Tractor is in South Windsor [Connecticut] and we were working in Stamford. That's a significant distance, at least a two-hour drive.

"I know it sounds like no big deal to find the right adapter to plumb our hammer to the excavator, but there are literally dozens of different threads and combinations of couplers that would potentially get the job done. Within a matter of hours, Monroe Tractor was on the job site with the right connectors and had us up and running. Shortly after we had a second issue with an emission sensor. Monroe Tractor had us up and running by 7 o'clock the next morning."

David Tinker Excavating is a family business with a second-generation future. Tinker's son, Andrew, is 22 years old and is now running his own crew. He is one of the company's top bleed repair guys. According to Tinker, "Andrew went to college for a few months in Rhode Island and called me up and said ‘Dad I don't want to learn how to build houses, I want to learn how to install water mains.'"

Tinker's step-daughter, Abby, works in the office and is in charge of customer relations and his wife, Courtney, is the head of the human resources department."

Recently, Tinker Excavating expanded into the aggregate business, taking a lot of the asphalt and concrete waste that is excavated when it is digging up water mains and crushing and screening that waste into a useable aggregate. It currently is using the aggregate it is producing on its own projects, with a goal of starting to sell the product to outside contractors and municipalities in 2022. Monroe Tractor is Connecticut's only Case dealer. It might be new to Connecticut, but not to the industry. Monroe is excited to bring Connecticut the same service it has been providing in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a Case dealer for 70 years, Monroe prides itself on bringing its customers the best equipment, rental, parts and service. Its highly skilled service manager, Tim Doehr, leads a team of manufacture trained technicians that have top of the line field service vehicles outfitted with in-shop capabilities. Monroe offers product support for all makes and model equipment and is dedicated to keeping you doing your job.

With 14 locations across New York State, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, Monroe Tractor offers a full line of Case construction equipment, as well as demolition attachments.

For more information on David Tinker Excavating, visit www.davidtinkerexcavating.com.

For more information on Monroe Tractor, visit www.monroetractor.com. CEG




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