Business: KR Trucking
In business since: 2002
Location: Gleason, Tennessee
Doosan equipment: DA30-5 articulated dump trucks; DX490LC-5 and DX530LC-5 crawler excavators
Doosan dealer: Bobcat of Nashville
If you traveled the interstate near Nashville in fall 2019, you might have seen a whole semi convoy transporting new Doosan® machines. Enter the orange wave.
Located in northwestern Tennessee, KR Trucking specializes in strip mining and hauling. Keith Radford, the managing member of KR Trucking, has been growing his business since its start in 2002. With that growth, the need for more equipment followed. Keith worked with the local Doosan dealer, Bobcat of Nashville, to get rolling with an upgraded fleet of orange machines.
BUILDING IT UP
KR Trucking started with five employees. Today, the company’s operations keep 66 of them busy. Keith insists his faith, quality products and customer care have all played a role in his success.
“As our customer base grew, we grew with them,” Keith says. “And I’ve always said, ‘If you treat everybody like you want to be treated, it just kind of falls in your lap.’ That’s what happened to us. I’ve always taken care of our customers. If we tell them something, we do everything in our power to make sure we get it done.”
It’s Keith’s care for his customers — Bull Brick, Emery Ceramics and Sphinx Clay Company, to name a few — that has helped his company grow. It finally came time to invest in that growth with new equipment.
His first batch of machines from Bobcat of Nashville included four Doosan DA30-5 articulated dump trucks and one DX490LC-5 excavator. A few months later, he ordered four more trucks and a DX530LC-5.
Like any business owner, Keith relies on his machines to be dependable. When he had trouble with the service for his other equipment, he started shopping around. He ended up landing on the Doosan website. That led to a call with his local dealer.
“So far it’s been impressive,” Keith says. “They have done well and outperformed some other products that we’re running. And I tell everybody ... because they’re just so surprised that I’ve tried Doosan. In our area down here, you don’t see them.”
IT’S ABOUT THE CLAY
The material that Keith and his team dig for is ball clay. And there are only a few places in the world that have minable deposits. They include spots in the eastern United States and just a few places in Europe. That means Keith has been able to do well with the clay resources in his corner of Tennessee.
Ball clay, which has a white coloration after firing, is a common component in the ceramics and tile industry. The clay is also used in other products, such as tires and insulation in roof shingles.
Keith and his team work to gain access to the clay by removing the overburden. According to Keith, that can mean digging through 40 to 150 feet of dirt, sand and mud. His operators use the Doosan DX490LC-5 and DX530LC-5 excavators to remove that material. Then the DA30-5 trucks haul it away.
The work of exposing the clay is where their job ends for some customers. For others, they help extract the ball clay as well. The clay veins can run 20 to 80 feet in addition to the excavation needed to get to that point.
The work can be invasive for the land. Keith works with the Mining Safety and Health Administration to make sure their work is environmentally friendly. This means that even after the clay is extracted, the job is far from done.
KR Trucking goes back in to fill the area with overburden from another area. Then, they plant pines or other trees to bring back its ecosystem before the land is either reclaimed or sold.
“Our industry is very environmentally friendly,” Keith says. “Once we’re done, we put everything back better or above than what it was when we started. Then they’ll put trees back. I mean they put it all back like it used to be.”
Pictured left to right: Matt Pixler, Doosan Infracore North America; Ryan Vaughn, Bobcat of Nashville; and Keith Radford, KR Trucking.
Keith Radford went all-in with Doosan equipment. Hear him tell you why:
I’ve always taken care of our customers. If we tell them something, we do everything in our power to make sure we get it done.
Molded for Clay
Keith’s interest in the mining industry started at a young age. Growing up, he watched his father work with clay and decided to follow in his footsteps. “My father worked for the clay company his whole life,” he says.
In 2002, the father-son pair decided to start KR Trucking. Though retired now, Keith’s father still serves as a partner and comes in on a daily basis to be part of the action.