Business: So Cal Excavating
In business since: 2009
Location: Casa Grande, Arizona
Doosan machines: DX225LC-3 crawler excavator, DL200-3 wheel loader Doosan dealer: Ditch Witch® of Arizona
The city of Casa Grande, Arizona, is named after the nearby Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, a 650-year-old extended network of communities and irrigation canals.
In January 2014, that’s not all that was in ruins. An inspecting engineer informed the public works department that manholes on an 18-inch PVC sewer line in Casa Grande had suffered almost total structural failure, posing an imminent danger of collapse.
Upon learning of the problem, the department contacted So Cal Excavating, a well-respected local firm that had previously been approved for city projects through the public works on-call services program.
That night Kevin Olive, who owns the company with his wife Jackie, visited the site and assessed the situation. He saw that the concrete of the existing manholes and bases was severely damaged from sulfuric acid — the result of high levels of hydrogen sulfide throughout the 28-year life of the pipeline. Other factors that contributed to the problem included failure to fill in around the previous 12-inch sewer line after it was abandoned many years ago and excessive loading by a power company that was working in the area.
The next day Kevin gave the city a price for replacing the manholes, bypassing the main sewer line during construction, backfilling, concrete and patching the pavement.
Kevin previously rented machines from Ditch Witch of Arizona, where he noticed Doosan equipment. The emergency project gave him an opportunity to test a Doosan excavator in a stressful and demanding situation. His dealer recommended renting a Doosan DX225LC-3 excavator.
After the manholes were replaced and the sewer was running smoothly, Kevin decided to purchase the DX225LC-3 excavator. “Once I had a chance to operate the DX225LC-3 for several days, in a difficult work environment — and a very dirty one at that — I could see what a productive machine it was and how we could benefit by owning the unit.”
Improving economy keeps company busy
So Cal Excavating has created a successful niche for itself throughout an area that is called “the valley of the sun.” The company does commercial work, installing underground utilities, both wet and dry.
The Olives moved to Arizona in 2006 after Kevin sold a similar firm he owned in California. After working a couple of years for another company, he opened So Cal Excavating in early 2009.
“It certainly was not the best of economic times,” Jackie says. “We took a real shot in the dark, and eventually it paid off. We began with a single project — someone was willing to take a chance — that worked out very well. Through word-of-mouth, we keep growing.”
As the economy improved, more contractors hired So Cal Excavating for their utility work.
“The last three years, we have had three to six jobs going on simultaneously throughout the valley,” Jackie says. “It’s all underground, except for paving, so you cannot see what we have accomplished, but I think our list of finished projects is quite impressive: Circle K gas station stores; Longhorn Steakhouse, IHOP, McDonald’s and Raising Cane’s restaurants; Goodwill® stores; and Toka Sticks Golf Club.
“As our business continues to grow, we added another family member to our team, Audra Olive, Kevin’s sister. Audra is the company’s safety compliance manager. We feel that it is important to emphasize safety on our construction sites, and Audra plays an important part in our company’s success.”
The Olives are well aware of the how the economy affects their bottom line. “In our line of work, it’s either feast or famine,” Jackie says. “We prefer feast, and that’s what it has been the past few years.”
The company’s investment in Doosan heavy equipment — including the purchase of a DL200-3 wheel loader — is helping the Olives and their employees keep up with the opportunities available in a favorable economy.
“We have a schedule that needs to be met every day and that’s not going to happen if our equipment is broken down and not available. We have been able to maintain our schedules much better since we now own a Doosan excavator and wheel loader. We consider them very reliable workhorses.”