Kaw Valley Companies Inc. Rapidly Growing with the Right Equipment
When contractors and developers want dirt or rock moved or buildings demolished in the Kansas City, Kansas, area, they call Kaw Valley Companies Inc., due to the company's reliability, expertise and commitment to meeting deadlines. A new fleet of equipment from RoadBuilders Machinery and Supply Co., helps Kaw Valley deliver those projects on time.
"Business has been great," said Jason Jacobson, Vice President of Operations for Kaw Valley, in Kansas City, Kansas.
Kaw Valley concentrates on hauling and providing sand and gravel, excavating, demolishing buildings and recycling. Crews crush materials to be used at the same or another site. Home and mobile crews make various rock products out of recycled concrete. Even the byproduct is reused as a low-volume control product to stabilize the foundations of building pads.
The company provides some utility work and operates a sand plant, with another scheduled to come online this year. Kaw Valley also has partnered with the Port Authority of Kansas City to operate a barge-shipping terminal at the port, which will open this fall. It will use the port for its operations and open it to other shippers and manufacturers.
"When that's up and going, you will see a lot going on," Jacobson says. "There are opportunities, and that port can really go. It's viable. We have people signing on."
Kaw Valley focuses on the Kansas City market but will consider other work in other locations for established customers.
"We have more than enough work to keep the excavating here [rather than out of town]," Jacobson says. "Demolition, we will go a little further out."
The company currently juggles projects on about 40 sites, with half that number being excavated and five under demolition. It employs about 150 people and bills more than $1 million monthly. A related company handles processing of scrap metal.
"Each division helps the other divisions," Jacobson says. "What the contractors really want is to call us to demo it, grade it and put the utilities in, so they can put the building up."
Projects Under Way
At NorthPoint Development's Kaw Point industrial park project, Kaw Valley demolished and crushed eight buildings, built in 1937 and formerly known as the Public Levee. Crews crushed 200,000 tons of concrete, working every day in the rain. In fact, Kaw Valley brought in concrete from other demo sites for crushing at NorthPoint. Kaw Valley worked demolition 16 hours a day, excavation 12 hours and recycling 10 hours per day.
The site totaled 396,879 square feet. Kaw Valley also installed a 396,000-square-foot building pad on grade. Kaw Valley is considering taking on a job in Dallas with the same developer.
Kaw Valley recently began the $300,000 iFly Indoor Skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel project. Jacobson explains that the contractor selected Kaw Valley due to the extensive rock formation on the site.
"We brought in a 490 Komatsu, and it just ripped the rock out," Jacobson says. "We're digging a hole for the huge fan that creates the wind tunnel."
A former dump site used by Fleming Babcock trucking required Kaw Valley to dig out the waste, sort it, screen it and munch it into large pieces. Original plans called for crushing it, but Jacobson explained the existing building pad was in bad shape, so crews broke it into bigger pieces and placed it under the new pad.
When the weather turned cold, the company worked 24 hours a day to keep the machines humming and prevent difficulties trying to operate the machinery in the cold temperatures. Kaw Valley bought lights to illuminate the site, so the crews could keep working.
"I don't miss deadlines, and that keeps a lot of developers coming back to us," Jacobson said.
Equipment Helps Keep Jobs on Time
A vast equipment fleet helps Kaw Valley meet those deadlines. The fleet, at 121 pieces, is three times as large as it was four years ago when Jacobson started with the company and started the excavating division. That portion of the business ramped up so quickly, the company needed to purchase large quantities of heavy equipment.
"I couldn't get enough machines," Jacobson recalls.
Kaw Valley runs 20 excavators, 10 wheel loaders, numerous skid loaders and a fuel truck on its various jobs. That volume of equipment gives the company an option to put another excavator on a site if needed. Some excavators have been converted to pick up steel with a magnet. Most of the machinery was bought from RoadBuilders Machinery and Supply Co. in Kansas City, Kansas.
"They have always been there for us," Jacobson says. "When we need a machine, they find a way to get one to our site. There have been several times we have called mayday, and they always have been there."
RoadBuilders prides itself on providing reliable equipment and responsive service and has served the construction community since 1985.
"When we sell these guys an excavator, they get the kitchen sink on them, kits, couplers, rotation and screens," says Randy Frank, District Sales Manager for RoadBuilders Machinery.
Several material processors are available to munch the concrete. Three new 38-ton NPK processors are installed on the Komatsu equipment.
"The NPK rotates and then crunches the material, so they can process the steel or throw the concrete in the crusher and use it on the same job," Frank explains. "It's not just a digging bucket. They can make that machine do five or six different applications."
Three mechanics keep the equipment running. Jacobson explains that the company upgrades to handle the projects it takes on and tries to purchase versatile equipment that can be used for different purposes at various sites.
"We've figured out how to get everything in one package," Jacobson says. "The lines are starting to get erased, and it's been great."
Kaw Valley keeps the machines at 5,000 hours rather than 10,000 hours as in the past.
"We've found out how much better it is to go with the new equipment," Jacobson says. "I've got them believing, because we do not have time for downtime."