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

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

I had a new Cat 385 that was delivered probably in 2003 or 2004. I ordered it equipped with a mass excavation boom and a short stick. I knew it would limit our ability to go very deep, but most of the jobs we were bidding on were hard rock jobs. When I compared the different stick and boom configurations, the breakout force of the one I ordered was almost double of a long stick machine. If we were going to be successful digging hard rock we need the most force that we could get at the teeth. The machine … Continue reading You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

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 Story Of How A Little Ol’ Utility Contractor From Bertram, Texas Came To Own Two Giant Excavators

When we first acquired these machines in the later part of 2007, they were bought for a particular project, that was in some fairly hard limestone. We had approximately 6 to 7 miles of very deep wastewater to lay. We didn’t have our own deep trenchers that it would take to dig the depths we were going to need. We would generally subcontract that portion of the work out. We had equipped our two 385 Cats out with Leading Edge buckets (the very strange buckets at the bottom of the page) and had been having great success excavating rock with … Continue reading The Story Of How A Little Ol’ Utility Contractor From Bertram, Texas Came To Own Two Giant Excavators

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

Learning To Fly

In my younger days In the construction business I had a bookkeeper, G.K. , that was always after me to take up flying. He wasn’t a pilot but claimed he almost was. He told me how we could fly to faraway destinations to look at and bid jobs. How we could head out to the coast and go fishing at the drop of a hat. I was a little queasy about me flying an airplane, but I finally figured that I’d get used to it, as many people had. Why would it be different for me? Finally one day I … Continue reading Learning To Fly

Harold wasn’t known as a man with a stellar reputation

Sometime in the later 1970s Harold showed up in Austin as an underground utility contractor. There have been a bunch of them that have come and gone in Austin over the past almost 50 years that I’ve been around. But none like Harold, that would cause you to feel like you needed a bath, from just having a conversation with him. Okay that last sentence is a little bit of a lie. There have been several others that gave me that feeling. Harold had a gift of gab and you knew he was a bullshit artist the second he started … Continue reading Harold wasn’t known as a man with a stellar reputation

Just About The Most Insane Thing I’ve Seen

And I’ve seen some insane things. Seeing the video’s yesterday of the big wind generator blades coming through Marble Town, after coming up Texas 71 out of Austin, then turning on on FM 2147 and going through Horseshoe Bay and turning north on US 281. The question was raised of why didn’t they just turn at the 281/71 intersection? That would the seem the most logical, in anyone’s estimation. Nice loop around out there get from one highway to the other. But it has to do with permitting. All highway construction is marked on a master map at TxDot so … Continue reading Just About The Most Insane Thing I’ve Seen

Bureaucratic Red Tape

Several years ago we contracted with a developer and the City of Georgetown to install a large wastewater line that paralleled the South San Gabriel River heading west out of Georgetown. The project was extremely challenging. It was for a 36″ diameter pipe, that was at depths between 35′ to 40′ deep in solid rock for the whole length of approximately 7 miles. The first property we crossed was still owned by the Wolf Family, hence the naming of Wolf Ranch Shopping Complex at Hwy 29 at I-35. I knew one of the Wolf family members and made it through … Continue reading Bureaucratic Red Tape

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