Brenteson Companies Packs a Punch Performing Minnesota Site Work
Whether building rooftop green spaces, grading a greenfield or installing site utilities, Brenteson Companies in Big Lake, Minnesota, tackles it professionally.
"We're a small company that packs a big punch," says Matt Brenteson, Owner of Brenteson Cos. "We get in and get it done."
The company recently completed a mass-grading project for Minnesota Limited on a 30-acre site in Bemidji, Minnesota. It moved 120,000 yards of dirt, excavated and backfilled the foundations for the new office and shop. The company installed the sanitary sewer service, water services and storm sewer for the project. Brenteson fine graded the site in preparation for asphalt paving and concrete work and spread new topsoil in the green areas.
At the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Brenteson oversaw a valve insertion. At 1200 on the Mall, Brenteson removed a green space on top of the pre-cast concrete building and reinstalled the green space, after the roof was waterproofed. The company had to keep the equipment load to less than 5 pounds per square foot.
Brenteson used a Caterpillar 277 Skid Loader, a Caterpillar 247 Skid Loader and a Caterpillar 305.5 Mini Hydraulic Excavator from Ziegler Cat in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During removal, Brenteson had trucks back up parallel to the building. Crews then dropped the dirt down shoots to the waiting trucks.
"It is one of the most unique projects we have done and one of the most fun," Brenteson says. "We gave all of the crews an opportunity to work on that."
Mike Loehrer, Estimator and Project Manager with Brenteson, adds that the company goes out of its way to find at least one unusual project every year.
"The company likes the challenging work," Loehrer says. "When we find projects outside of the box, we enjoy them and excel at them."
Equipment Gives Brenteson a Lead
Brenteson relies on its fleet of Caterpillar equipment from Ziegler Cat.
"As a young kid, I was introduced to Cat equipment, and it has been a wonderful experience," Brenteson says. "Ziegler's branch in St. Cloud is a huge contributor to why I am so sold on Caterpillar equipment. They have always been there for us and stood behind us 100 percent. It's been a wonderful relationship."
Wm. H. Ziegler founded the equipment company in 1914. It is now under the leadership of William L. Hoeft, President and CEO, and his sons Andreas and William. Ziegler represents the full line of Caterpillar construction equipment and generators in Minnesota and Iowa. The company employs nearly 1,800 people in 27 locations throughout four states. The founder's motto of selling the best equipment and providing the best service holds true today.
"Our machines have never sat for more than a day," Brenteson said. "Very seldom does Ziegler not have the part we need or a mechanic available in less than a day. Matt Girkin takes good care of us."
The Brenteson fleet includes excavators, front end loaders, skid loaders, off-road truck and compactors. It runs GPS-guided D-6 bulldozers from Ziegler Cat for grading without staking, and Brenteson manages models in house.
"With that technology, we get to progress a little faster than the competition," Loehrer said.
A Family Company
Fred and John Brenteson founded Big Lake Sand & Gravel, later renamed Brenteson Construction in 1942. The office was on the front porch of Fred's house. They kept track of business on a note pad. Mrs. Charlotte Brenteson would hang a white shirt on a tree branch to let gravel truck drivers know they had to stop for a new assignment, or she had to get word out to the crew.
Fred's son, Terry Brenteson, recalls as a youngster helping his dad put in sewers and water mains in Big Lake. The company also annually dredged out a channel between two lakes.
"My dad did a lot of work for farmers, tree and stump removal, digging basements, and building and maintaining roads," recalls Terry Brenteson. "He never wrote the price on paper. Most work was done on a handshake. A price was agreed upon, and when the work was done, he got paid."
Sons Terry, Larry and Dean Brenteson bought the business from Fred in 1977. At that time, the company specialized in road building, residential work, commercial work and fulfilling the needs of the local community as it grew.
"Value and quality have always been very important to us," Brenteson says.
In May 2003, Matt Brenteson purchased the company and changed the name to Brenteson Companies. The company now mainly stays in the Minneapolis area and will extend geographically for existing clients.
"I believe we have been around due to our strong work ethic," Brenteson adds. "We try to provide a high value for the dollar. We're there when we say we will be there and do what we say what we will do."
The company focuses on commercial site and utility work. That includes preparing the proposed building sites by clearing and grading for the building pads, sidewalks, parking lots, and digging and backfilling the foundations.
Loehrer, adds, "We do a professional job and have fun doing it. There's a lot of camaraderie on the crew and with other crews on the job site. These guys approach every job as a team effort. They are a little infectious."
Brenteson hires people who want to work well together and will go in full bore regardless of the task. It employs 10 people, eight in the field and two in the office. All of members of the field crew are cross-trained.
"We enjoy the easy grading jobs, but they are also up for the challenging jobs we get," Matt Brenteson says.
Matt Brenteson realizes the people who work for the company allows it to succeed. He hopes his daughters will continue the business, as a fourth-generation in the industry.
"We are always looking for an anchor project to keep us working through the season, and we like to find nice commercial projects," Matt Brenteson says. "The future is solid, and we are looking for a solid season. My goal is to continue to improve on efficiencies, finding projects we excel at and making it fun."