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Summer 2012

An uncommon pair is the right combination for success

Versatile Bobcat equipment performs well in two distinctly different applications — asphalt paving and landscape installations.

Kirk Sonnenberg, owner of
Sonnenberg Paving and Landscaping.

Kirk Sonnenberg, owner of Sonnenberg Paving and Landscaping.

On any day in summer, in and around the Illinois towns across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, it’s not unusual to see some of the three dozen trucks belonging to Kirk Sonnenberg on the road heading to asphalt paving and sealing jobs, delivering landscaping materials and taking crews to build retaining walls and water features.

At many of the jobsites, and at the retail stores he owns, you’re also likely to find a Bobcat® machine.

“We use them in every phase of our business,” says the owner of Sonnenberg Paving and Landscaping, headquartered in Belleville, Ill. “We do a variety of projects and of all the equipment we own, nothing is more versatile than our Bobcat machines. It’s easy to transition them from a paving job to a landscape installation site — and to anywhere else we need them.”

Sonnenberg, a long-time customer of the Bobcat of St. Louis store in Fairview Heights, Ill., owns four skid-steer loaders, three compact track loaders, an excavator and a utility vehicle. His attachments include a 40-inch planer, several sweepers, pallet forks and a variety of buckets.

Asphalt paving

Sonnenberg’s T750
compact track loader
with a Bobcat planer
at a recent parking lot
paving project.

Sonnenberg’s T750 compact track loader with a Bobcat planer at a recent parking lot paving project.

Since 1983, Sonnenberg has been one of the major asphalt paving firms working in the commercial market on the east side of the St. Louis metro area. The work has included new construction or overlay of existing asphalt surfaces for parking lots for businesses, churches and schools, along with municipal roadways. The company also does seal coating for commercial and residential customers.

Two years ago, Sonnenberg applied two coats of sealer over 50 parking areas at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, totaling more than 6.8 million square feet.

“We bring a Bobcat loader to every asphalt job we do,” Sonnenberg says. “Most often it’s one of the T750s, which does an excellent job of grading where bigger equipment doesn’t fit. And because there is always a little mess with asphalt, we use the sweeper attachment every day. Without the loader and sweeper it would take forever to clean up.”

If either of the two Sonnenberg paving crews do milling, they take two loaders — a skid-steer loader and one of their high-flow compact track loaders.

“The Bobcat planer does an excellent job of milling in areas where we have to connect asphalt to concrete,” he says. “The compact track loaders have plenty of power to run the planer attachment, and the low ground pressure allows them to float over the ground.”

Landscaping

After being in the asphalt paving business for a decade, Sonnenberg opened a landscaping material and supply store in 1993, followed shortly by an installation division.

Today the company operates landscaping supply stores in Belleville and Columbia, Ill., both managed by Sonnenberg’s brother Ray. Each 6-acre property is stocked with thousands of tons of bulk rock and hundreds of pallets of block, brick and pavers. The inventory also includes boulders, decorative rocks, fire pits, fireplaces, flagstone, landscape lighting, mulch and dirt, outdoor kitchens, pond products and water garden supplies.

The landscaping installation crews rely on two compact track loaders and a compact excavator. With a focus on residential installations, the company does a lot of tearing out and construction of new retaining walls and outdoor living spaces. Moving materials, digging and grading and placing boulders, block and pavers keep the Bobcat machines busy and demonstrate their value.

“I have always believed that Bobcat equipment is ahead of the competition,” Sonnenberg says. “Bobcat innovation is the best in the business. We have benefited significantly from each new generation of Bobcat machines. For example, the cab-forward design of the M-Series T750 provides much better visibility when grading. Being able to see the bucket better has been a big help. I expect Bobcat to continue making products that help us to be even more productive.”