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Built from the Ground Up: JH Contracting Owner and Staff Grow Full-Service Earthmoving Firm with Support from Kirby-Smith Machinery

An operator starts digging for a water line with a Komatsu PC210LC Excavator.
An operator starts digging for a water line with a Komatsu PC210LC Excavator.
JH Contracting’s Jordan Holy (left) talks to KSM Territory Manager Trey McNeel on a commercial job site in Waco, Texas.
JH Contracting’s Jordan Holy (left) talks to KSM Territory Manager Trey McNeel on a commercial job site in Waco, Texas.
JH Contracting uses Komatsu Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) dozers, including its D51EXi, from stripping to finish grade.
JH Contracting uses Komatsu Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) dozers, including its D51EXi, from stripping to finish grade.
An operator digs utility lines with a Takeuchi TB2150 Compact Excavator in a Waco, Texas, residential area.
An operator digs utility lines with a Takeuchi TB2150 Compact Excavator in a Waco, Texas, residential area.
Jordan Holy, Owner/President of JH Contracting LLC
Jordan Holy, Owner/President of JH Contracting LLC
Brandon Powell, Estimator/Project Manager at JH Contracting LLC
Brandon Powell, Estimator/Project Manager at JH Contracting LLC
Jordan Holy, Owner/President of JH Contracting LLC, could have gone one of two directions after graduating from Sam Houston State University with degrees in criminal justice and construction management. He chose the latter, combining the knowledge he gained in college with the years of in-field, hands-on experience he already had.

“Anything that had to do with dirt, I was involved with,” Holy said. “First, it was farming, then helping my brother out with his site preparation company as an operator, a laborer, or whatever I needed to be. After Sam Houston, I came back to work for him as a Superintendent and ran two or three projects at a time.”

Holy eventually decided to form his own company and founded JH Contracting LLC about seven years ago in China Spring, Texas, which is a suburb of Waco. The early focus was “piddly stuff,” according to Holy.

“I started with a skid steer and a welder,” he said. “Our primary scopes of work were clearing, small excavations, fence building, steel erections for metal building, and whatever else we could land, mainly in the residential market. After a few years, I started reaching out to some prior contacts I had. That got us into some commercial jobs, which led to bigger earthwork and utility projects, as well as some concrete.”

While JH Contracting’s expertise is in excavation and utilities, the company now offers full site preparation packages that include everything from clearing and stripping to asphalt and concrete paving. JH Contracting coordinates all the preparations, so the site is ready to build on. Subcontractors typically handle the paving, and JH Contracting self-performs most everything else, including hydroseeding and traffic control. In addition to residential and commercial, the company is now in the municipal market doing road construction and utility installation.

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JH Contracting has built a good reputation of being on time and on budget, so the company has a lot of repeat customers. Holy credits his staff of about 25 full-time employees for ensuring projects remain on schedule. They are working on multiple sites at any one time within an approximately 80- to 100-mile radius of China Spring.

“We like to stay as local as possible, and if a project is close, we typically will look at it if it’s $200,000 or above,” Holy said. “The minimum climbs the further away the job is. Our maximum is up to about $7 million. That’s obviously a long way from when we started and were doing $10,000 jobs with the skid steer.”

For its largest project to date, the JH Contracting team moved about 20,000 cubic yards of dirt, put down base rock, and installed nearly 1 mile of utility lines for a distribution center in Waco. JH Contracting also recently completed a 6-acre site in Waco that included cuts up to 6 feet and fills up to 9 feet, a building pad, paving, and backfill.

Driving Efficiency with Equipment from KSM
From first pass to last, JH Contracting utilizes Komatsu D51EXi and D61EXi Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) Dozers with factory-integrated GPS that were acquired from Kirby-Smith Machinery Inc. (KSM) with the assistance of Territory Manager Trey McNeel. The IMC dozers help JH Contracting get to grade faster with less material movement and waste, which computes to greater profitability.

“They really cut down our time on a project,” Holy said. “Traditionally, we would have someone out to drive hubs and set stakes several times. With the IMC dozers, we can do an entire job with a surveyor coming once or twice, so that cost was decreased. We have a partnership with another company, which was recommended by Kirby-Smith, and they build all of our GPS 3D models. Either the engineer or the general contractor provides control points, and we localize to their control points with the model. When we get the job localized, we basically plug it into the machine and take off.”

In addition to the IMC dozers, JH Contracting has worked with McNeel to purchase Komatsu PC210LC and PC240LC Excavators, as well as a Komatsu GD655 Motor Grader.

“The grader is a great finishing machine, especially for road construction,” Holy said. “We like the excavators because they move a good amount of dirt but are small enough that we can easily move them from one site to another without having to hire an outside hauler.”

Holy has been satisfied with the support he receives from McNeel and the entire team at KSM, especially with the Komatsu equipment.

“I research machines and generally know what I want when I’m ready to buy, and Trey is great about locating it, as well as giving us options to purchase,” Holy said. “With Komtrax, Kirby-Smith can accurately monitor timeframes of service intervals and things of that nature. A Kirby-Smith technician can diagnose our Komatsu machines remotely, which is a big time-saver. Normally within a few hours, you have a diagnosis, parts are ordered, and you’re looking to the next step to getting it repaired. The newer Komatsu machines have Komatsu Care, so we’ve utilized that for servicing equipment. Obviously, time is money, so the faster that a machine gets repaired and back online the better you are. Kirby-Smith has been great as far as service and repairs.”

In addition to Komatsu machines, McNeel has helped JH Contracting purchase a HAMM H 12i Compactor with a smooth drum, as well as a Takeuchi TL8 Compact Track Loader and Takeuchi TB260 and TB2150 Compact Excavators.

“The excavators are great for smaller, tighter utility projects,” Holy said.

Recipe for Success
In the future, Holy hopes to take on larger jobs and believes that JH Contracting’s prospects look good.

“We are constantly looking at and bidding bigger projects,” Holy said. “We have grown, but in a controlled way, not getting in over our head and not taking on anything we aren’t comfortable with. That’s the way it will continue. I like perfecting things at one level, then taking the business to the next.”

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