East Coast Cowboy Innovates Fencing Industry at Wilson Fence

Published on October 13, 2022

Everyone takes pride in a job well done. But when that job involves placing miles of fencing along hundreds of acres of scenic ranch and farmland, there’s an extra appreciation for the work. With an innovative approach to fencepost-setting attributable to his fleet of Bobcat® equipment, Wilson Fence has revolutionized a typically painstaking and laborious process.

“When you look behind and see your production, hundreds of fence posts in a line in the valley, it’s very satisfying,” says Jake Wilson, owner of Wilson Fence in Lexington, Virginia. 

With an innovative approach to fencepost-setting attributable to his fleet of Bobcat® equipment, Wilson Fence has revolutionized a typically painstaking and laborious process. 

Bringing the Western way to the East Coast 

Some might find it interesting that an East Coast kid (born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland) would end up pursuing the cowboy life. But after moving to Montana briefly and working on a ranch, Jake headed back east to attend college where he now has his business in Lexington. There, he connected with some “horse people and farm guys,” thus restoking his fire for a Western way of life.  

But his dream would be put on hold while he served a bigger purpose. During a 16-month deployment to Iraq in the early 2000s, Jake knew where his path would take him upon his return home.  

Posts for Miles

A view of freshly installed posts in Virginia after Wilson Fence finished a job.

Jake Wilson keeps his love for wide open spaces alive in Virginia.

Always drawn to rural life, he had once held a side job helping a friend build fences in agricultural areas. “It was my first step in chasing my cowboy dreams,” says Jake. “He told me if I started a fence business, I’d have all the work I would ever want to do.” 

Soon after, Wilson Fence was formed and the rest is history. Today, Jake’s four-person business builds fences for cattle, livestock and horse ranches, farmers, vineyards, orchards and more. The company also does grading and excavation work, and installs livestock water systems. 

Bobcat equipment delivers turnkey operation 

Jake’s fleet of Bobcat machines complement each other for the variety of jobs his crews tackle. His impressive line-up includes: 

“I’ve been using Bobcat machines for over 15 years, and I can honestly say that every night I look forward to the next day of work because I know my equipment is up to the challenge.” 

The Wilson Fence Fleet

Wilson Fence’s Bobcat loader and Bobcat excavator on a semi-truck bed.

Jake Wilson has been a fan of Bobcat equipment for more than 15 years and ensures he has the right machines for the job.

Attachments such as augers, soil conditioners, grapples, laser-guided graders, snowplows, dozer blades, finish mowers and Brushcat rotary cutters help his crews navigate tough jobs on rough terrains. 

“Customers like us because we are a turnkey operation,” Jake says. “Because of our machines, we can do any job, soup to nuts.” If conditions don’t allow for fence work on a particular day, his versatile Bobcat machines and their accompanying attachments can do any necessary excavating, grading, clearing or even electrical installations and plumbing.  

His VersaHANDLER 519 telehandler and Toolcat 5600 utility work machine, which Jake refers to as his “logistics” machines, provide greater versatility and the ability to travel at higher speeds, enabling his crews to move heavier loads across greater distances. “Those machines can cover the entire site quickly and unload and reload materials, keeping our loaders and excavators working.” 

And the company’s innovative fence installation approach helps his team achieve superior results. 

Setting posts is 80% of the job. How fast you can set a post is directly tied to how fast you can make more money.

Jake Wilson

Owner / Wilson Fence

Remote technology makes quick work of meticulous job 

In the not-so-distant past, post-placing was a two-person job where one man ran the loader while the other worked in front of the machine to guide and set the posts. “We used to have a guy sitting in the machine and he would have to read hand signals from the guy outside who was looking at the plumb bubble on the level,” recalls Jake. The close proximity of man and machine presented safety challenges and was frustrating for inexperienced machine operators. “You can imagine when we’re putting in 100 to 300 posts a day, there are frustrating times,” Jake says, adding that they once placed 540 posts in one day (his crew’s record) for a vineyard nearby. 

But with his Bobcat MaxControl remote operation, post-placing has become a one-person job that gets the work done safer, faster and with more precision.  

“Now I control the machine down to a fraction of a movement, even 1/8 of an inch,” says Jake. But it’s not just forward and backward movement. He uses the Bobcat T740 compact track loaders with a post-driver attachment that forcefully pounds every post with greater accuracy. “A machine-driven post takes the soil and compacts it as it’s driving it in and around the post,” says Jake, resulting in a significantly superior setting than one done by hand.  

And since he’s controlling the Bobcat machine himself via remote, Jake can send the other crew member out for related tasks, like setting the string line, painting post marks or even just running errands. 

“We get paid by the foot. So how fast you can post a job equals how fast you can make money.” 

Bobcat® MaxControl remote operation delivers unmatched efficiency

The Wilson Fence crew stands around fence posts in a field.

Unlike other manufacturers who integrate their remote units within their machines, the detachable Bobcat MaxControl system saves crews time on the job. “If you can unplug a coffeemaker, that’s about all the time and competency it takes to place the remote,” says Jake Wilson, owner of Wilson Fence. The remote can be easily transferred between machines and lets him navigate rough terrain with efficiency and precision. “It’s an absolute gamechanger for the way we do business.” 

Jake has tried other brands of equipment, but his machine fleet is entirely Bobcat now. “If you came to our yard, you’d probably think it was a Bobcat dealership,” jokes Jake, who relies heavily on the friendship he’s built with Josh Hall and his team at Bobcat of Fishersville. “I’m lucky to have them in my corner. We couldn’t deliver the results we do without them.” 

With a business built largely on the back of Bobcat equipment, Jake appreciates the partnership he has with both his Bobcat team and machines. 

“Every job we do has its challenges and presents opportunities for our Bobcat equipment to prove itself. And it does, time and time again.” 

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