“What sets Komatsu apart is its reliability and durability”
Many contractors try to keep their blueprint for success a secret. Brother’s Construction Owners Terry and Todd Mooney aren’t shy about sharing how they took a business from two people performing small utility installations, to a multifaceted firm that provides full excavation services for a variety of customers.
“Relationships and hard work,” explained Terry, President of the company based in Van Buren, Ark. Todd is Secretary, and his son, Eli, recently joined the business as a Project Manager. “Those things have been our key ingredients since we started the business almost 24 years ago. Todd and I have a strong bond, and through the years we continued to expand upon the relationships we have built with numerous customers. One of our first contracts was with a developer who we still serve today. In fact, this year we’re partnering with him twice.”
At the time the Mooneys completed the initial job for that developer, their fleet was comprised of only one backhoe and a dozer. Terry ran the machinery and handled repairs and maintenance. Todd laid pipe and took care of the estimating and bidding. In the earliest days of the business, they focused solely on private utility installation.
“Our dad was a contractor, so we grew up around construction,” recalled Todd. “Terry and I parted ways for a while, but decided to get back together and start Brother’s Construction. We had some contacts who were potential customers. That gave us a start, but we also knocked on a lot of doors. We’re proud that we have such longstanding relationships with our customers, including our brother Rick, who has his own construction company. We do a lot of site work for him.”
Large, complex projects
Less than a year after Brother’s Construction was founded, it started adding employees and within two years its list of services offered expanded. The Mooneys also made a move into the public works sector. Today, the company provides site packages that include clearing and grubbing, mass excavation, utility installation, fine grading and concrete work. Their time is almost equally divided between public and private markets.
“We handle nearly everything in-house, with the exception of asphalt paving,” said Todd. “If we general contract a project, we sub that out to another contractor. In turn, that contractor may use us as a sub on a job when they are the general. Either way, our customers appreciate that we offer such a comprehensive list of services, which limits the number of contractors they need to use.”
“Typically, we’re one of the first contractors to arrive on a project, as well as one of the last to leave,” added Terry. “We can do everything from removing trees and old pavement to pouring sidewalks and curbs and gutters. While we prefer complete site packages, we do break out our services. For instance, utilities remain our primary calling card as we have done several large, complex, high-profile installs.”
The Mooneys describe one job in particular as a “gold-star” project. Completed nearly two years ago, the six-month assignment involved replacing water and sewer lines around Razorback Stadium, home of the University of Arkansas football team. Part of the contract included relocating several thousand feet of existing lines.
“This was a public works job for the City of Fayetteville and the university, and it was in conjunction with a stadium expansion and street improvements,” Todd noted.
“There were deep sections, some with rock and others that had both elements as well as additional challenges. We had to keep traffic moving, which meant a plan for everything from buses to cars to thousands of mopeds.”
Brother’s Construction recently signed its largest private development contract. It calls for the company to move roughly 66,000 yards of dirt and put in 2,000 feet of sewer and water lines for a new assisted-living facility in Fayetteville.
It will be one of the 10 to 12 projects that Brother’s Construction generally handles at one time. The company is licensed in Arkansas and Oklahoma and works in an approximately 90-mile radius of Van Buren. In addition to excavation and utility services, the firm offers material hauling to other contractors with its fleet of dump trucks. It also does heavy hauling such as moving machinery for equipment dealers and will travel as far as 150 miles for that.
“We have about 60 on staff, some of whom have been with us for nearly 20 years,” said Terry. “We think you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and we firmly believe our employees are the best in the business.”
Komatsu stands out
The Mooneys have also had Komatsu equipment in their fleet for almost two decades. Their first few pieces included PC200-5 and PC200-7 excavators as well as a D375-5 dozer.
“What sets Komatsu apart is its reliability and durability,” noted Terry. “For example, we recently traded the PC200 at 14,000 hours. The only thing we did, other than routine service, was change a compressor on the air conditioner and install bottom rollers on the tracks. In our minds, no other manufacturer delivers that length of service with so few repairs.”
In the past three years, the company has transitioned to late-model D51EX-22 and D61EX-24 dozers, a PC290LC-11 excavator and a WA200-7 wheel loader.
“The excavator and wheel loader give us a great combination of production and versatility,” said Todd. “The PC290 allows us to dig everything from shallow to deep-cut pipe trenches as well as load out mass amounts of material. With the loader we can move dirt, put gravel in trenches for bedding and move pipe with forks. It’s like a Swiss Army knife.”
“I’ve been on equipment for 30-plus years, and the D51 and D61 are far-and-away the best dozers I have ever run,” added Terry. “The balance and the weight-topower ratio are incredible. The slant-nose design and the way Komatsu offset the exhaust system so it’s out of the operator’s sight line shows great forethought and planning. It also demonstrated that Komatsu listened to input from operators. The overall visibility to the blade and the material is phenomenal. The dozers increased our productivity.”
Brother’s Construction teamed with H&E Equipment Sales Rep Seth McCutcheon to purchase and lease the machines. “Seth is great,” said Terry. “He thoroughly understood our needs to help us acquire the right equipment to meet those needs. It also helped that H&E covers the scheduled maintenance with the Komatsu CARE program on our Tier 4 machines, and Komatsu Financial offered attractive financing for both purchases and leases. Seth, H&E and Komatsu have all proven that they care about our success, which means a lot to us.”
Assessment leads to growth
Approximately three years ago, the Mooney brothers reviewed where Brother’s Construction stood after 20-plus years. After a long, hard look and some deep reflection, they realized the business had untapped potential.
“We established goals and decided to take some risks,” recalled Todd. “As a result, we have almost tripled in size and exceeded our goals in the past two years. We credit this success to having a vision, a lot of hard work and blessings from God.”
It helped that northwest Arkansas has experienced massive growth during this time as well. “This area is on fire,” said Terry. “The population continues to expand, which, in turn, fuels new construction of roads, highways, infrastructure, housing developments and commercial properties. We don’t see it slowing down anytime soon, which is great for us.”
Todd added, “One thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to our customers and the relationships we have with them. Our ultimate goal is to continue providing them with excellent service and delivering results on time and budget. We have done that for 24 years. We surely want to do it for another 24 or more.”