By Caterpillar | Posted: December 11 , 2020 | Revised: April 28, 2022
Keaton Turner woke up at age 27 and realized a third of his life likely was over. With family history in mining and mass excavation, he also recognized there was a hole in the industry — the need for a nationwide contract mining company that could help mining operations scale up or down quickly. A no-regrets kind of guy, Keaton took the plunge and formed Turner Mining Group to close that gap.
“I knew the industry was begging for a professional services company that could be the one-stop shop and do it all,” he says. “I also knew that young people were underutilized and that there was a huge opportunity to pair those things together and make something special.”
That was 2017. Fast forward to today and Turner Mining Group employs 250 people across the country working on anywhere from 15 to 20 active projects at a time. They’re united by a simple purpose: “to make life better for the mining industry.”
Most of those employees found Turner Mining Group on Instagram or another social media channel. With a focus on social recruiting they’re able to show millennials and Gen Zers that Turner is the place to make a good living, make a difference and make it fun.
“Making dirt exciting” on social media is Keaton’s objective and it’s then-content director Zach Stinton’s mission in life. Zach joined Turner Mining Group after producing a freelance film for the company that earned more than half a million views online. His videos, photography and drone footage from Turner sites give a unique, and often personal look inside mining life.
“My first visit I could see these guys were different — not just Keaton and the operations team but the guys in the dump trucks and the dozer operators,” Zach says. “The feeling in the company was completely different than places I’d worked in the past.”
Scroll the @turner_mining_group Instagram feed and you feel that difference right way. Sure, there are shots of big yellow equipment and cool mining landscapes. But there’s just as many posts focused on Turner people — showing off their operating skills, their $500 “miner of the month” checks, even their dance moves.
“If you look at all the stuff we put online, we’re making our people the heroes of the story,” Keaton says. “That does more for culture than anything.”
Turner’s “heroes” share an attitude about work that’s best summed up in one of the company’s favorite hashtags: #LovePeopleMoveDirt.
One of the company’s most successful strategies is to pair seasoned workers with those who have never set foot on a mine site. Matching youthful enthusiasm and a fresh perspective with on-the-job experience has big pay-offs: a safe, innovative, flexible and fun work environment.
“I’m what’s considered a ‘newb’ in the mining industry,” says Tracy O’Brien, Turner Mining chief marketing officer who hired on in late 2019 (a month before we visited their jobsites in Virginia). “But I’ve got the best coaches around. They’re looking out for me.”
Glenn Mitchell, sales rep for Cat® dealer Carter Machinery says there’s definitely something different about Turner Mining. He’s watched the company grow from a few rental machines to now nearly 80 pieces of new equipment on long-term lease with Cat Financial.
“For a new company to go all in on something like contract mining, and then target some of the biggest names in the aggregate world, is a huge risk and a gutsy move,” Glenn says. “But they’re doing it. They put their money where their mouth is.”
Keaton was looking for something different in an equipment provider, too — and he found it in Carter Machinery.
“I don’t care if the equipment’s yellow, orange, green — it doesn’t matter to me,” he says. “All I care about is who’s going to be there when it’s down. We got the warm and fuzzy feeling from Carter, and I think it was that decision that helped catapult us to the next phase of growth.”
What’s the “next phase” for Turner Mining Group? You’ll have to follow along on Instagram to find out.
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