Stepping Up the Excavating Game with The Dirt Ninja
Stepping Up the Excavating Game with The Dirt Ninja

Stepping Up the Excavating Game with The Dirt Ninja

For Tom Gardocki, co-owner of New Era Excavation and Cat® Ambassador, a passion for construction, landscaping and heavy equipment runs in the family.

“I was working for my parents since I was 10, getting a paycheck,” says Tom. “And I think a lot of kids back then were buying candy with it, if you were that age, and I was buying construction models.”

That passion for machinery led him to his current job, where he and co-owner Craig Hammel do everything from excavation to septic system installation to grading and yard expansion, all with a three-person crew.

Tom has also turned his love of construction into a large social media following — you may know him from his social handle, The Dirt Ninja. He credits his social savvy with helping New Era Excavation land new jobs as well.

of
Tom Gardocki | Stepping Up the Excavating Game with The Dirt Ninja

“We do five to six jobs a year that people just reach out straight from social media,” he says. “I actually just looked at it the other day and one is a whole road project. The great part about social media is that if you use it properly, you should be showing off your work. And that's what we really try and do — showcase what we're doing every day.”

So how do Tom and Craig do it all with a small crew? They credit technology and the right tools with much of their success.

“For the size of our company, we're definitely one of the few in our area that have taken on some of the same technologies that much larger companies in our area have,” Craig notes.

They’ve found GPS positioning systems to be invaluable on the job site, which allow them to take a PDF plan that lays out the job site and convert it to use in the GPS. The GPS system also eliminates the need for stakes on the job and, when combined with the Cat Grade with 2D that they use on their excavators, it makes them much more efficient.

“It eliminates somebody from checking grade and lets you do it all from inside the machine,” Tom states. “That takes away the person who would be on site holding the grade rod, and lets them go run a different machine or be productive doing something else.”

Tom and Craig also find attachments, including the tiltrotators they got for their excavators, to be a huge help in increasing productivity on the job. The tiltrotator spins 360 degrees, allowing Tom and his crew to place their material anywhere. They’ve also invested in a number of attachments for the tiltrotator, all of which allow them to do jobs more quickly.

“It helps us do our jobs faster, and actually can provide a better product for our customer as well as in doing the work faster,” Tom says.

Through all their growth over the last five years, Tom and Craig have found the support provided by their Cat dealer to be invaluable.

Tom Gardocki - Dirt Ninja
of
Tom Gardocki - Dirt Ninja
of
Tom Gardocki
of
Tom Gardocki
of
Tom Gardocki - Dirt Ninja
Tom Gardocki - Dirt Ninja
Tom Gardocki
Tom Gardocki

“Every new machine purchase that we've made so far has been a Caterpillar,” Tom notes. “Our dealer is really the main reason for that. We obviously like the equipment, but our dealer here, Milton Cat, is top notch compared to all the other different brand dealers in the area, and they can't really be touched in their parts and service department.”

For Tom and his team, the support they’ve gotten with Milton Cat is the difference between completing a job on time or not.

“We’re such a small business, so if we've got a machine down for a day or two, that's huge,” Tom says. “And if it's down, we need it repaired ASAP. That’s really why we've decided to choose Cat with our new equipment.”

So where does New Era Excavation go from here? Tom and Craig see a bright future on the horizon.

“We really want to grow into doing road projects, infrastructure projects and commercial projects,” Tom comments. “That's really where we're trying to go, so we kind of tried to start small and grow slowly.”

“I don't think Tom or I want to have 50 employees. We would definitely like to keep it a fairly small group,” Craig agrees. “I would say a small group of skilled and diverse employees is definitely something we would like to see.”

But don’t expect them to get off the job site and behind a desk just because their business is growing.

“I've always wanted to stay hands on and I really like running the equipment, so I want to be able to get out in the field and do that and not be an office person,” Tom says. “That would drive me nuts!”

Attachments to
Keep You Moving

Find out more about how Cat® construction attachments can help you be efficient on the job site.

Read More
Attachments to Keep You Moving
Attachments to Keep You Moving

Want more tips from Tom?

The Dirt Ninja shares how to create a video marketing strategy for your business.

Learn More
Want more tips from Tom?
Want more tips from Tom?