Tumbleweed Hill

Kenny had only been out of the Army for a short time. He was working for the company. I had a 1976 Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Pickup that I handed down to him. We had a project installing a new waterline that extended from near Mesa Dr, along Far West Blvd. The line would end near FM 2222 and Bull Creek Rd. This was Kenny’s project to oversee. We were for the first time living a role reversal, where I was his boss. I made an early morning drive by to check the progress and didn’t see Kenny anywhere, even … Continue reading Tumbleweed Hill

The Disease

It was in the hot summer time and I was out of school for the summer. I was about 14 or 15 years old and working for my Dad, Cecil Lewis. We were building a road down by Turkey Bend. Just country roads are all we built back then, hauling and spreading out caliche for new subdivision roads. I always ran the loader, loading the five or six dump trucks that hauled the caliche. The trucks were driven mostly by our school age friends, the ones at least sixteen and could get a commercial license. Socks Jackson was the mechanic … Continue reading The Disease

When You Can’t Buy It, Just Build It.

For many years we would be working on projects and an idea would pop in our head of a better way to do something and with a good team of fabricators on board with us we’d just build it. Not everything we built worked as well as we hoped, but when we got a winner, it was the real deal. Below was something we built that allowed us to set a large diameter pipe one it, the larger rollers were hydraulically powered and would slowly turn the pipe while the hydraulic pipe saw would move down to the correct mark … Continue reading When You Can’t Buy It, Just Build It.

The VW Bus Was Parked In A Bad Spot

I wasn’t long out of school, probably had just turned 18. One of my first jobs was driving a haul truck for Nelson Lewis, a cousin in the utility business. He had just landed a project in downtown Austin, laying a wastewater line up West Ave. It started down at 7th St and would continue up to about the 24th block on Rio Grande St. Right up in the middle of the University of Texas Campus. The first piece of equipment I hauled to the job was an old White-Oliver Rubber Tired Backhoe. It was a beast, 4 wheel drive … Continue reading The VW Bus Was Parked In A Bad Spot

Customer Testimonial – Ex 1200 Hitachi Excavators

The Hitachi Dealer ask if I would mind endorsing their machines. They were the first ones of that size they had sold. They said they would send someone out to interview me. I thought fine. I assumed an interview would be something like – ask me a question and I would answer it to the best of my ability. A camera person showed up on the job, stuck a microphone in my face and said “tell us about your project and the EX 1200 Excavators. I did the best I could, given that I had not even thought about what … Continue reading Customer Testimonial – Ex 1200 Hitachi Excavators

An Unfortunate Incident While Blasting Rock

Back in 1975 we were putting in wastewater lines to serve newly incorporated areas of Austin that had previously been on septic tanks. This was up in the area around North Lamar between Rutland Dr. & Braker Ln. One of the lines followed a creek that crosses Sagebrush Ln. about a block west of N. Lamar. Just before it reached the next street which was Neans Dr., it came up out of the creek and headed out into the streets as it continued on south. This meant it ran in an easement between two houses. It was a very narrow … Continue reading An Unfortunate Incident While Blasting Rock

The Day The Dollar General Truck Caused Chaos

Once when we were working on the Inks Dam anchoring project there were many obstacles to overcome everyday. There was one day when the stars aligned and it appeared we would have a banner day of pouring concrete. We ordered up 2 huge concrete pump trucks that were capable of sending concrete all the way across the length of the dam. They came out of San Antonio, at a hefty price for mobilization. We had a huge team of finishers that we had hired out of Austin to help place and finish the concrete. The concrete was batched out of … Continue reading The Day The Dollar General Truck Caused Chaos

My Dallas Hotel Room For The Night

It was about this time a year in 1988. There were several of us in the underground utility business from Texas that belonged to an Association of Utility Contractors would meet in Washington DC in June. Among other things we would attend a Congressional Breakfast. It was a time where you could eat and visit with various politicians from around the country and let them know what we needed them to be working on. I was the Texas Chapter President for a couple of years, so it was a big deal to go to Washington DC. I had business in … Continue reading My Dallas Hotel Room For The Night

The Techno-Redneck or Gadget Man

Over the past 25 years I have adopted two nicknames. I like each equally. It all started back in the mid 90’s when mobile phones were becoming more widely popular and affordable. I always thought I wanted to newest thing out so when a new gadget hit the market I tried to be the first to have it. I usually had a string of employees that were more than willing to take my hand me downs. I didn’t feel too bad about buying the new cutting edge devices because I was convinced that being in the forefront could help one … Continue reading The Techno-Redneck or Gadget Man

Cell Phones On The Cheap

After the prosperous years of the 80s came the real estate bust of the late 80s and early 90s. Kenny, Coy (of double tailed quarter fame) and I were once again teamed up again doing work together. The days of mobile phones had given way to pagers and pay phones. Mobile phones were very expensive in the early days. My average phone bill in the 80s was $1,000 – $1,200 per month. That wasn’t for the whole company, that was just me. I stayed on the phone constantly, conducting business and doing a fair share of BS’ing. Those costs just … Continue reading Cell Phones On The Cheap