Midwest Contractor

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Indianapolis, IN, USA (HQ)

903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Call: (317) 423-2325

info@acppubs.com

The Power of Partnerships

Infrastructure is more than just asphalt, concrete, or steel. It’s the backbone of American life and continuing prosperity.

Roads and bridges connect us, dams and wastewater treatment plants protect us, and underground utilities serve our daily needs — all with little to no fanfare. Yet, Doug King understands infrastructure’s importance. As Corporate Equipment Manager for Sherwood Companies, a civil construction company, he is proud of his profession’s oft-unsung role.

“When you build something, you take ownership in it, and there’s a lot of pride involved in that,” King said. “When you build a road or bridge, you get bragging rights for decades or even longer. You know that what you’re doing is going to make a difference, even long after you’re gone.”

Nearly 90 Years of Success
In 1934, brothers Joy and F.M. “Sherry” Sherwood founded Sherwood Construction Co. in the midst of the Great Depression. With a single truck crane, they and Sherry’s brother-in-law, Jed Ricky, unloaded railroad cars, dismantled water towers, moved earth, and took other odd jobs in the company’s earliest days.

In the nearly 90 years since, the operation has grown into a group of nine companies known collectively as Sherwood Companies, still owned and operated by the family. With nearly 1,000 employees, the business serves clients across the country, specializing in critical civil infrastructure projects such as expressways, bridges, underground utilities, concrete structures, asphalt and concrete paving, and water and wastewater treatment plants.

“Most of our work is in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma,” King said. “Sherwood is small enough that you still have a family feel, but it’s a large enough company to do big work and meet big needs. We can design it, bid it, and build it. And we can solve problems. The higher the degree of difficulty, the better chance we have at securing a project.”

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Community involvement and employee safety are both paramount to Sherwood’s business philosophy.

“Support for our communities starts at the top with CEO David Sherwood,” King said. “Whether it’s the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, or the local food drive, he encourages the employees to give back, and he’s always willing to match our contributions.”

Sherwood also takes an active role in ensuring that safety takes precedence over everything. He and Roger McClellan, President of Wildcat Construction Co., a division of Sherwood Companies, serve as Directors of Safety for the entire company.

“They don’t pawn that responsibility off on anyone else,” King said. “Our executive team really cares about the employees going home with all their parts and pieces at the end of the day.”

Partnerships and Prosperity

While Sherwood Companies’ success is no doubt a reflection of the family’s core values of safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and results, no business can succeed without the support of partners. For more than a half-century, Sherwood has relied on Foley Equipment to help meet its heavy equipment needs.

While the company’s fleet began with a single truck crane, it’s grown to include about 800 pieces of heavy equipment, including dozers, graders, scrapers, excavators, backhoes, trenchers, loaders, and cranes. Caterpillar equipment makes up roughly half of the inventory. Keeping that equipment running efficiently and “in the dirt” is King’s primary role.

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“I’m responsible for all equipment acquisition and disposal, all maintenance and repair, and making sure that the right equipment gets to the right job at the right time,” he explained. “When I came to work at Sherwood as a field mechanic in 1987, we had already been working with Foley for years, and that relationship has just grown over time. They care about their customers like we care about our clients. Foley is a trusted partner.”

Certified equipment managers and equipment management specialists run the Sherwood shops, King said. It’s their job to ensure that equipment is maintained for peak efficiency so that each operates at the lowest cost per hour, increasing return on investment. While they have a dedicated staff of experienced and trained mechanics to achieve this, there are times when more expertise is required.

“That’s where Foley is invaluable to us,” King said. “We have access to many Caterpillar tools and programs, but from time to time we need help, so we tap into their knowledge. Foley can accumulate data much quicker when something goes wrong, so we take advantage of that.”

King said that Foley has recently taken its customer service program to the next level with the introduction of Foley Lynx – a paid subscription-based service used to diagnose and solve construction equipment problems remotely. When an issue arises, a mechanic can connect to a Foley Lynx consultant who provides real-time assistance. Through use of the camera on a customer’s smartphone, the consultant can see what’s going on with the equipment and even draw instructions on the screen to resolve issues quickly.

“The quicker we can get a piece of equipment back in the dirt and operating, all the better for our bottom line,” King said. “Their consultants know what to do and what not to do when troubleshooting problems.”

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King shared a recent situation when his mechanics were having trouble diagnosing an electrical issue on a D6T dozer. One call to the Lynx consultant and they quickly had the dozer back in service.

“These days, this equipment probably has thousands of feet of wiring and switches and other electrical components,” he said. “If we would have had to trace all of that wire without knowing where to look specifically for an issue, we might have had it in the shop for a week. Instead, in a matter of a few hours, we had that machine back in service. We work with several other dealers in our territory, and none of those other guys offer that kind of service. Foley does, and it sets them apart.”

The long-time relationship between Sherwood Companies and Foley Equipment reflects the companies’ shared values and testament to their commitment to being a partner in each other’s success, King said.

“If David Sherwood has told me once, he’s told me a hundred times: ‘Do the right thing,’” said King. “If you do the right thing, it’ll work out.”

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