Family Business Evolves from Excavating to Wood Waste Recycling
Rochester, NY - At a time when contractors are working to increase their revenue streams, B-C Excavating, Inc., based in upstate New York, has found a way to recycle the wood waste generated by its land-clearing jobs — virtually eliminating disposal and tipping fees.
B-C Excavating was founded by Louis Brongo Sr. in 1974. The company got its start digging basements for residential homes. Today, Brongo’s son, Louis “Lou” Brongo Jr., runs the family business, which now specializes in commercial and residential land clearing, and serves a 100-mile (106.9 km) radius around the Rochester, New York, area.
“Dad had the excavating business to start with, and I saw a lot of wood waste on jobsites, so I started cutting it up into firewood,” explains Lou Jr. “More contractors wanted me to clean up their sites for them, so I decided to make a business out of it.”
Lou Jr.’s children are also involved in the multi-generation family business. His son, Jason Brongo, is the head equipment operator, and his daughter is the office secretary.
“She’s pretty much the glue that holds us all together,” says Jason.
Jason says he grew up in the family business. He remembers watching his father and grandfather operate the land-clearing equipment. After high school, Jason joined the business and has been working alongside his father and grandfather for the past 17 years.
Turning wood waste into marketable products
B-C Excavating owns a Vermeer WC2300XL whole tree chipper and a TG7000 tub grinder that they use to make double ground mulch and wood chips that are sold to mulching companies and renewable energy plants.
“Everything we cut in the woods we recycle into firewood, chips, mulch or logs so nothing is going to waste,” says Lou Jr.
B-C Excavating starts by collecting the underbrush from the jobsite. Once the underbrush is cleared out, the crew uses feller bunchers to cut down the trees. That’s when a compact utility loader is called in to haul the large tree limbs to the Vermeer WC2300XL whole tree chipper, which produces wood chips for local renewable energy plants.
B-C Excavation just purchased the WC2300XL last year, and Lou Jr. says it has helped increase the company’s productivity.
“The thing is a beast. It can eat trees like I have never seen before,” says Lou Jr. “We love it right now. It gives us a nice material. It makes the work go a lot faster and easier.”
Then the crew uses an excavator to pull the remaining tree stumps from the ground. The stumps are processed using the Vermeer TG7000 tub grinder to produce double ground mulch. On the initial pass, B-C Excavating uses a 6-inch (15.2 cm) screen to break the tree stump into a more manageable size. Then the 6-inch (15.2 cm) material is processed through the TG7000 for a second pass using a 2-inch (5.1 cm) screen.
“Production varies, but we process about 20,000 to 30,000 yards (18,288 to 27,432 m) of wood waste per year,” says Lou Jr.
In the past, B-C Excavating used a Vermeer TG525 tub grinder to dispose of the large stumps left behind after land-clearing jobs. Recently, B-C Excavating purchased a newer Vermeer TG7000 tub grinder.
“The TG7000 has a bigger engine so production is faster,” says Lou Jr. “It has really helped us time-wise during land clearing.”
As most land-clearing contractors know, having access to good customer service and dealer support is just as important as the equipment itself.
“We’ve had quite a few Vermeer products, and I’ve been very happy with them,” says Lou Jr.
Prompt customer service is what B-C Excavating has come to expect from its local Vermeer Northeast dealer.
“Some dealers sell you a machine and you never hear from them again,” says Lou Jr. “These guys are always calling on me to see how the machine is running.”
Written by: Keely Coppess, Features Writer - Two Rivers Marketing, Des Moines, Iowa