Westchester Tractor Helps Silver Lake Get Into ’High Gear’

Wed March 24, 2004 - Northeast Edition

“Neither snow nor sleet nor gloom of night stop these men from their appointed rounds” is a revised version of the words by Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. that aptly describe the dedication of John Amodeo and his crew.

Whenever there is a forecast of snow, John Amodeo, president of Silver Lake Contracting, of East White Plains, NY, prepares the company to get into “high gear” for its most stressful time of year.

During the winter, Silver Lake’s primary task is to clear all the snow and ice from roadways and parking lots, for this office complex and a few others and to keep these areas cleaner and safer than the streets that the employees had to drive on to get to work.

“When we know there is a storm coming, the stress level really picks up around here. We are glued to the radar. Even before the snow or ice begins, our crews get busy laying down a coat of salt,” said Amodeo.

“Once the snow comes, we use power angling plows to move the snow out of the large parking lots with long runs and the smaller equipment goes to work in the tighter parking lots. And, of course, we clear the sidewalks with the compact tractors and the steps are cleared by hand,” he explained.

“When the snow is over, our job is nowhere near complete. We still have to remove the snow piles [and] to be ready for the next storm. Every morning through the entire winter, we have a crew checking the parking lots at 5 a.m. to make sure no ice spots have developed overnight. To do this, we must have equipment that is completely reliable and that’s what I have always been able to depend on from my Sales Representative George Risley, of Westchester Tractor,” Amodeo said.

Amodeo is a huge believer in using power angling plow trucks with side wing plows to move snow in large parking lots. “I have studied every method of moving snow quickly and efficiently in large parking lots, and I have never been convinced that anything other than the power angling plow trucks with side wing plows are the most effective tool.”

He does not use chains on his snow removal vehicles because of the damage that broken chains can inflict on machines and he has found that rubber-tired Kawasaki loaders that he purchased from Westchester Tractor suit his needs perfectly. Two of the Kawasaki loaders have 15-ft. plows and one Kawasaki loader pushes a 20-ft. plow.

Amodeo started out removing snow for an office complex in 1968. In 1972, he incorporated Silver Lake Contracting when it was a little more diversified. In addition to commercial maintenance work, Amodeo’s company performed a considerable amount of residential maintenance and landscaping work. Today, Silver Lake focuses on corporate grounds maintenance and landscaping.

The office complex that Amodeo originally contracted with was owned by a company called Schulman Realty. Over the years, the office park experienced tremendous growth and now has millions of square feet of office space in addition to massive parking lots and roadways. Maintaining these grounds and parking lots requires most of the company’s full-time staff. Silver Lake currently has nine full-time employees, but that number swells dramatically with part-time help that is needed for the snow removal operations.

“Our business really grew along with the growth of the office complex. We have had a very strong relationship with them [Schulman Realty and their successors] since day-one and my company has grown in a parallel line with them.”

In the summer, Silver Lake focuses on grounds maintenance, concrete and asphalt maintenance and landscaping of the complex, but it also has a couple of hotels and The Blue Book Publishing Company on its client list.

In addition, to snow removal and landscaping work, Silver Lake does site development, maintenance and repair of the underground utilities in the office complex. The company is currently working on a large concrete project for the Verizon building inside another office park. The work involves the demolition and reconstruction of a 400- by 16-ft. concrete promenade deck, including excavation and drainage.

To work on its varied and diversified projects, Silver Lake maintains a varied and diversified fleet of equipment. It consists of a Mack tri-axle, 15 power angling plow trucks equipped with side wing plows and sanders, as well as various models of New Holland skid steers, which are equipped with snow plows and heated cabs.

But for the maintenance and landscaping side of the business, it has an impressive variety of attachments, including rock hounds, laser-guided level boxes, hammers, Harley rakes, street sweepers, backhoes, trenchers, cold planers, and even a Bush Hog. It also owns hydro-seeders, bark blowers, bale choppers, a street sweeper, and three trailers including an Eager Beaver 25-ton, an Eager Beaver 5-ton, and a Towmaster Big Toe 7-ton trailer

The company also owns three Kawasaki loaders equipped with couplers and power-angle snowplows including a Kawasaki 60, a Kawasaki 65 ZII, and a Kawasaki 65 Task Master tool carrier. It also has two excavators, a Samsung SE 130 and a Volvo EC55 in addition to a fleet of loader backhoes, compact tractors equipped with plows and sanders (for snow removal on sidewalks).

Over the years, Westchester Tractor has supplied Silver Lake with the New Holland skid steers with attachments; the Kawasaki loaders equipped with couplers and snowplows; the Samsung and Volvo excavators; and three trailers, two Eager Beavers and the Towmaster Big Toe.

Amodeo has a product and brand loyalty. Once he purchased a New Holland skid steer, every skid steer that he has purchased since then has been a New Holland.

“We have loved our Volvo and Samsung excavator from Westchester Tractor. They operate very smoothly, have great hydraulic systems and react very comfortably. Our new Volvo gives me great visibility. The cab is extremely comfortable and I can operate the machine all day long and it doesn’t tire me out,” Amodeo said.

“If our suppliers are loyal to us and provide us good service as George always had, we stick with them. It’s very hard to get us to make a brand change,” he said. “I have a great working relationship with George. He works with me very closely to provide me with products that I want to purchase. He doesn’t try to change my ways in the equipment that I choose to purchase from Westchester.”

For more information, call Westchester at 914/232-7746, or visit www.wtractor .com.