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Summer 2011

Son carries on his father's passion for construction

Sherwood Kimmel

Sherwood Kimmel

Bobcat excavators keep the American dream alive for Pennsylvania construction business owner

When Sherwood Kimmel's father died in 2006, he knew he had some big shoes to fill to keep the family's construction business going. Kimmel adapted to new business opportunities with help from Bobcat® compact excavators, complementing his larger construction equipment. His latest purchase was a Bobcat E60 excavator.

Kimmel grew up helping his father with his excavating and asphalt paving business.

"By the time I was 16, I was working with him, and then as soon as I graduated from high school, I joined him full-time," Kimmel says. "Dad always enjoyed what he did. It wasn't a job for him, it was a passion. I'm carrying that on with Kimmel Trucking and Excavating, with help from my wife, Jackie."

Much of the company's machinery was heavy construction equipment until 2003 when the family purchased its first compact excavator — a 341 — to help complete a large commercial project.

Bobcat E60 excavator

Bobcat E60 excavator

"We thought it would be more efficient to have a compact excavator than a tractor-loader-backhoe (TLB) to dig thousands of feet of trench," Kimmel says. "We loved it so much that we kept it."

In 2010, Kimmel upgraded to an E60 — purchased from Bobcat of Susquehanna in Harrisburg — to give him more lift capacity, more dig depth and more reach.

"The E60 is quicker, has more power, has a better quick coupler system and there's more room in the cab," Kimmel says. "It was difficult to find a machine in this weight class that has the reach that the E60 does.

"We install a lot of fiberglass swimming pools. We lift them and place them, and the reach of the E60 makes this much easier."

The more efficient and more versatile Bobcat excavators are replacing less effective TLBs.

"With our E60 and large excavators, the TLB has become obsolete," he says. "In one case, I needed to clean out a drain that was surrounded by muddy conditions. A TLB would have been stuck. I was able to drive through the mud, clean the drain out and easily get out.

"The 360-degree swing of the compact excavator is one of the biggest advantages over a TLB loader. Being able to get into tight corners, working along edges, and not extending outriggers makes us much faster. We can dig next to buildings with the excavator, whereas the TLB's outriggers would be in the way."

Sherwood Kimmel's E60 excavator

Sherwood Kimmel's E60 excavator

In between excavating for residential and commercial projects, Kimmel supplements his business by digging graves for area cemeteries.

"Typically the headstones are about 8 feet apart and you cannot get a truck or TLB into the area," he says. The E60's size allows Kimmel to better navigate and work in the cemeteries, excavate for the graves and more accurately place the dirt.

A helpful Bobcat salesman helped Kimmel with the E60 purchase.

"I wasn't aware the E60 existed until our salesman called. He brought it to my attention. He always makes sure we have what we need and gives the extra effort to help us remain successful," Kimmel concludes.