Tag Archive for 'trucks'

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship to Kick Off the New Year

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship
to Kick Off the New Year

 Going from selling directional drill rigs and underground equipment to running your own utility construction business requires a big leap of faith and a lot more. Scott Kandziora shares what he’s learned since he co-founded Milwaukee-based Underground Specialists in 2000.

1. Grab onto new utility technology 
Kandziora sold for Ditch Witch for five years out of college. Self-contained directional drilling equipment had just begun to transform the boring industry. “I grabbed on to the new technology because it gave me credibility with veteran customers,” says Kandziora. He trained crews on the rigs that he sold and saw a lot of people were not doing it right. He saw an opportunity to make money by doing things the right way.

2. Find a partner
Kandziora convinced Jerry Peterson, a former Ditch Witch principal, to go into business with him. Peterson had the industry contacts in Wisconsin and the funds needed for the start-up. “He really mentored me,” says Kandziora. The two worked together until Peterson retired in 2004 and Kandziora bought his share of the business.

3. Diversify your services
When Underground Specialists first launched, installing fiber optic cable for telephone companies was the primary source of income. By 2002, that market had dried up. “It forced us to go into the sewer and water market, where there was a lot more to learn about drilling,” says Kandziora.

When the government began subsidizing geothermal systems in the late 2000s, Underground Specialists pursued that market. They gradually added electrical and vacuum truck work to the mix.

In the last five years, the company expanded work in electrical, adding additional equipment and crew members to complete parking lot bases. “Diversification helps boost your sales,” he says. “When one market is down, another tends to perform well.”

4. Get utility crews invested in the business
Before Kandziora owned his own company he witnessed a lot of utility construction workers who just didn’t care about their work. “I never wanted to hear that from my employees,” he says. His solution was to create a profit-sharing system that allows employees to reap the benefits that come from working above and beyond on the job to help the company be profitable. “It promotes the attitude I want,” he says. When the company was too small to be able to provide health insurance for employees, he provided additional pay as compensation.

In today’s tight labor market, Kandziora is more inclined to hire less experienced workers and train them. “They don’t come with problems or bad habits learned from other contractors,” says Kandziora. Among his crew are a former landscaper, truck driver, roofer and a machine hand that are now all underground operators. Three supervisors are responsible for training the new hires on the drill rigs.

5. Be self-motivated
“I see a lot of small business owners sitting at home and waiting for the work to come,” says Kandziora. “I don’t think you can do that in this market. You have to be prepared to work long hours.” Kandziora believes it’s important to complete every bidding opportunity. “It’s easy to drop the ball and say, I’ll bid the next one.”

6. Recognize when you need to let go of the reins
Expanding from one crew to two crews in 2017 was a huge step for Kandziora’s business. “As a new business owner, it took me a long time to let go of the reins, to not be on every job site, controlling every aspect of it. It’s very difficult to let go and trust guys to keep the good name that you have been building. I finally realized that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to sell the company when I wanted to retire,” says Kandziora. Finding and keeping good employees becomes even more important when you grow.

7. Stay up-to-date on the latest products and technology
Kandziora recognizes the importance of staying up-to-date on technology but admits with a growing company, it’s difficult to find time for reading. “Attending ICUEE is my opportunity to catch up on what’s new and what’s out there and it gives the guys a team-building experience,” he says. The entire team is included because each person has their own ideas of what might help on their projects. At the next ICUEE show, he will be paying special attention to vacuum trucks, drill rig electronics, drill rig innovations, and trucks.

“At ICUEE 90 percent of the equipment will directly help us on our sites. The fact that we can get on the machine is a huge benefit. It’s different from any other show we go to.”

Save the date for ICUEE, The Demo Expo for the Construction and Utility Industries, Oct. 1-3, 2019, Louisville, KY. To get the latest information about the show, sign up for show alerts.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Fleet’s OTR Tires and Wheels

TRIP REPORTS: NEW YORK STATE DRIVERS LOSE $24.8 BILLION ANNUALLY ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES

 …AS MUCH AS NEARLY $2,800 PER DRIVER. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER ROAD AND BRIDGE DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION & HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost New York drivers $24.8 billion per year – as much as $2,768 per driver – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Adequate investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels is needed to relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge, and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in New York, according to a new report recently released TRIP, a Washington, DC-based national nonprofit transportation research organization.

The TRIP report, New York Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s  Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,”finds that throughout the state, nearly half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 10 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) are in poor condition. The report also finds that the state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce. In addition to the statewide report, TRIP has produced customized regional reports for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Binghamton, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York-Newark-Jersey City, Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica areas.

Driving on deficient New York roads costs state’s drivers a total of $24.8 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The chart below details costs to drivers of driving on deficient roads statewide and in New York’s eight largest urban areas.

The TRIP report finds that 28 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in New York are in poor condition and another 21 percent are rated in mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorist an additional $7 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Many New Yorkers know the poor road conditions in our state lead to wear and tear on our cars and wallets; but now we have irrefutable evidence of the real cost of failing roads and bridges that continue to be ignored,” said Gib Gagnon, chairman of Rebuild NY Now. “Every dollar of deferred maintenance on our roads and bridges will cost taxpayers an additional four to five dollars in future repairs. These shocking figures are no longer ‘hidden costs.’ They are an alarming call to action to our representatives around the State. Simply patching our roads and bridges will not do the job; now is the time to rebuild our economy and infrastructure for a better New York.”

Traffic congestion in New York is worsening, causing up to 74 annual hours of delay for the average motorist in the largest urban areas and costing the state’s drivers a total of $13 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

In New York, 10 percent of bridges (1,771 of 17,444) are in poor condition, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components and another 53 percent (9,313 of 17,444) are rated in fair condition, indicating some deterioration to major components of the bridge.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. More than half – 52 percent – of New York’s bridges are at least 50 years old.

From 2012 to 2016, a total of 5,552 people were killed in traffic crashes in New York. The financial impact of traffic crashes costs New York drivers a total of $4.8 billion.  New York’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.83 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18. The fatality rate on New York’s non-interstate rural roads is approximately three and a half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.11 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.60).

The efficiency and condition of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $1.3 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New York, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. Approximately 3.5 million full-time jobs in New York in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

“Driving on deficient New York roads comes with a $24.8 billion yearly price tag for the state’s motorists,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving New York’s drivers time and money.”

New York Transportation

by the Numbers

Meeting The State’s Need For

Safe, Smooth And Efficient Mobility

NEW YORK KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

Driving on New York roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs New York drivers a total of $24.8 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.In addition to the statewide report, TRIP has produced customized regional reports for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Binghamton, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York-Newark-Jersey City, Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica areas.

 NEW YORK ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE

Due to inadequate state and local funding, 49 percent of major roads and highways in New York are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average New York driver $587 annually in additional vehicle operating costs.

A 2017 report by Rebuild New York found that the state faces a $5.5 billion backlog in needed pavement repairs for state-maintained roads and highways. The report also calculated that the state’s annual $325 million paving budget would need to be increased by 60 percent (to $520 million annually) to maintain current pavement conditions, and would need to be more than doubled (to $710 million annually) to improve pavement conditions on state-maintained roads and highways.

Pavements on thirty-four percent of the 559-mile New York Thruway system are rated in poor or very poor condition, 28 percent are rated in fair condition and 38 percent are rated in good or excellent condition.

NEW YORK BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Ten percent of New York’s bridges are in poor condition, meaning there is a significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer. In New York, 52 percent of the state’s bridges (9,039 of 17,444) was built in 1969 or earlier.

Approximately two-thirds (531 of 809) of bridges on the New York Thruway system are more than 60-years-old.

NEW YORK ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost New York drivers $13 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,765 and more than three full days each year in congestion.

NEW YORK TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES

From 2012 to 2016, 5,552 people were killed in traffic crashes in New York. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $14.3 billion in economic costs in New York in 2016 and traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $4.8 billion in economic costs – an average of $398 per New York driver.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The health and future growth of New York’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $1.3 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New York, mostly by truck. Increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and a congested network of roads and bridges.

The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in New York support 318,604 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $9.8 billion annually. Approximately 3.5 million full-time jobs in New York in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture, and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.

CONCLUSION

As New York works to build and enhance a thriving, growing and dynamic state, it will be critical that it is able to address the state’s most significant transportation issues by providing a 21stcentury network of roads, highways, bridges, and transit that can accommodate the mobility demands of a modern society.

New York will need to modernize its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges, and transit systems would provide a significant boost to the economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Despite the modest funding increase provided by the FAST Act, numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of New York’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems will not be able to proceed without a substantial boost in state or local transportation funding.  If New York is unable to complete needed transportation projects it will hamper the state’s ability to improve the condition and efficiency of its transportation system or enhance economic development opportunities and quality of life.

TRIP has also prepared customized regional  reports for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, BinghamtonBuffalo-Niagara Falls,  New York-Newark-Jersey CityPoughkeepsie-Newburgh-MiddletownRochester, Syracuse and Utica areas

For the full report visit TRIP

DEWALT® Expands 20V MAX* System with Inflator

DEWALT® Expands 20V MAX* System with Inflator

I don’t know about you but one of the things I find I constantly need to do is add air to my car, truck, ATVs, utility vehicles, bike, mower, snow blower, pressure washer tires – actually anything that has pneumatic tires (that includes my dollies, wheelbarrows…). Most of the time it’s when there isn’t access to an air compressor.  And on some of the current vintage cars there is no DC outlet (i.e. cigarette/cigar lighter) so the typical 12V tire inflators are worthless.

DEWALT to the rescue as it continues to expand its 20V MAX* System, now featuring over 180 products, with the 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator (DCC020I). For high pressure or high volume inflation or deflation, it features accessories and adapters for a variety of applications such as inflating tires, camping mattresses, sporting equipment, and more.

The 5.5lbs. 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator can be powered by a 20V MAX* or FLEXVOLT® Battery (DCB606, DCB609, or DCB612) from DEWALT, a 12V DC car outlet (12V DC cord included), or a standard 110V AC wall outlet**. Dual inflation modes allow for either high volume inflation or deflation or high-pressure inflation providing a maximum pressure of 160 PSI.

Featuring a digital gauge with auto-shutoff, the 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator allows the user to pre-set the unit to the required pressure through an easy-to-use interface. In addition, the 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator includes a threaded chuck that provides a secure connection while an LED helps to provides illumination. On-board accessory storage means that the included high-pressure nozzle, adapter, inflator needle, and a high volume tapered nozzle are easy to access. The 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator is a durable choice that also includes a high pressure-capable rubber hose and heavy-duty rubber feet.

It’s battery operated; it’s quiet; it’s easy to use; it’s easy to store; it’s fast; it’s battery operated – I know I already said that but if you have ever inflated tires using a DC-corded unit you will understand the true value of “it’s battery operated.”

The versatile 20V MAX* Corded/Cordless Inflator (DCC020IB, bare tool only) is available where DEWALT products are sold and comes standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee.

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

**Battery, charger and AC adapter sold separately.

 

Reducing Liability is Good, But Keeping People Safe Should Be Primary Goal