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SUPERTRAK Gives Georgia Contractor a Lift
Ga. Contractor Relies on SUPERTRAK, FECON
By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 12/1/2005
DAISY, Georgia — The Atlanta region is growing fast. The city proper has 187,000 households already and the metro area it anchors attracts 500 new residents each day, according to the Atlanta Development Authority (www.atlantada.com). That calls for more homes.
Builders need a reliable and expert company to prepare the land for construction of these new homes. Foy Randall Enterprises, Inc., which is owned by Foy Randall, is such a company.
But home builders are just some of the broad client base that Foy Randall Enterprises serves. “We do work for private individuals,” said Foy. “We work for a lot of developers. We work for a lot of utility companies.”
In fact, what Foy Randall Enterprises does, explained Foy, is very much “vegetation management” and not simply clearing land for construction. “We go in and take out basically any type of wood or any type of plant that’s unwanted,” he said.
The way a site is approached depends on the particular outcome a landowner desires. In most cases, Foy’s company removes underbrush, whether it is keeping a utility line right-of-way clear or removing vegetation from lots where houses will be built. As a universal, though, owners want the job to be done expeditiously with minimum disturbance. And they want the site to look good when the job is completed.
Foy started his business four years ago. It was a logical step for him. “My Dad had a sawmill and a land-clearing outfit,” explained Foy. “He got out of it. I was just starting college, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy with a paper and pencil.”
Deciding to start a business was just the beginning. Foy was determined to do it right. That meant finding equipment that was both versatile and tough. Fortunately, he had a solid foundation on which to build — experience he gained working with his father when he was growing up and knowledge of machinery.
About the time he began considering starting a business, Foy heard about a video that documented the pairing of a SUPERTRAK Inc.® carriage unit with a head from FECON Inc., which manufactures resource recovery equipment and systems, including hydraulic stump and brush cutters. He obtained a copy of the video and watched it.
Foy was impressed immediately by the performance of the FECON head, especially the consolidation of processes it. He could not help thinking how different it all was from what his father’s operation had been like.
“It was shearing, chopping, bedding and raking,” said Foy, recalling the separate steps — and equipment — required when his father performed the same tasks on a land-clearing job. “The FECON just goes through and leaves mulch. There’s no burning.”
The mulch provides an excellent, natural cover for the substrate, Foy noted. Because the brush can be removed without burning, the huge risk of causing a forest fire is eliminated from the cost of doing business. The FECON machinery “grinds everything, so we don’t have the liability of fire,” said Foy.
SUPERTRAK designs and manufactures a full line of vegetation management and land clearing units, ranging from 100 hp to 400 hp machines. The Florida corporation, formed in 1986, is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that uses Caterpillar® components and has OEM rights to sell its equipment throughout the U.S. SUPERTRAK is the FECON dealer in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
Seeing the way the SUPERTRAK worked with the FECON head to provide a steady supply of power, irrespective of the type of material to be processed, Foy was taken from the start with SUPERTRAK. Yet he was not certain which SUPERTRAK unit he wanted to own.
“Over time, I’ve used just about everything” SUPERTRAK makes, he said. Foy has rented equipment that he needed for certain jobs. After getting to know the SUPERTRAK equipment, Foy had a good idea of exactly what he wanted to own.
Foy bought a SUPERTRAK SK 120 TR, a track machine that gives his operation great versatility, a year ago. Then, he added a specially tailored machine from SUPERTRAK four months ago. “I got them to build it,” he explained. What Foy requested essentially was a Caterpillar 312 excavator with a SUPERTRAK power unit for a FECON BH40 mulching head — BH for Bull Hog®. And that’s what he got.
The FECON BH40 can grind woody material up to 32 inches in diameter and cuts a 45-inch swath. The FECON line of mulchers is quite extensive.
When Foy talked with TimberLine, he had in use rented equipment from SUPERTRAK in addition to the equipment he owns. He was renting a SUPERTRAK SK 250 MX. In the past he also has rented the SK 400 and SK 400 TR machines.
“The SK120TR, it’s probably the most versatile and the best priced,” said Foy. The SK120TR has rubber tracks, which reduce pressure on the ground and help the machine maneuver in small areas. Foy has used rubber-tired machines, too, particularly on hard surfaces and large tracts. The SK 400 is a wheeled machine while the SK 400 TR is a track version.
There is not a typical job for Foy Randall Enterprises. But the job that Foy was on when he talked with TimberLine was not unusual. “We’re under-brushing for development,” he said. “We take out everything 4 inches and smaller, so when people come out, they can see what they’re buying.”
The SUPERTRAK SK120TR that Foy owns is able to meet the challenges of many different jobs, and it’s tough. “It’ll be a year at the end of November, and it will hit 2,000 hours,” said Foy. “We’re
All the machines at Foy Randall Enterprises get a real work out. “When I rented the SUPERTRAK SK 400 for three months, in 10 weeks I put on 500 hours,” he said. Renting equipment from SUPERTRAK has been as good an experience as buying, said Foy. Anything he has needed, “SUPERTRAK was there immediately.”
Foy has done business with Tom King of SUPERTRAK’s dealership in Punta Gorda, Fla. Tom has helped him select the kind of machines he needed to give him flexibility in his operations.
For example, Foy initially thought he might buy a FECON head on a larger unit. “I’d rented a Cat 320 excavator,” he explained, but he found it was somewhat too big for maneuvering around in thick stands of trees.
That was when Foy asked Tom about what is essentially a Cat 312 excavator as the base unit from SUPERTRAK to carry his FECON mulcher. He knew he definitely wanted an excavator carrier.
“The excavator’s got a lot more reach,” said Foy, explaining why he asked for special tailoring of the SUPERTRAK carrier. “You can work on slopes. You can reach across wet areas.” Those kind of capabilities are important to Foy Randall Enterprises on a regular basis.
Foy has three employees. The business side of the operation keeps him extremely busy. “I love to operate machinery,” he said, wishing he had more time to do so.
With operations that produce so much mulch, Foy has considered collecting it and marketing the mulch as a product. “In the beginning, I thought about it,” he said. He concluded it was not worth the additional operations.
In addition to the SUPERTRAK SK120TR and the specially constructed Cat 312 with the SUPERTRAK and FECON BH40 mulching head, Foy has another piece of equipment. “I’ve got a HydroAx, a HydroAx rubber tired tractor, with a FECON head, a BH120. At the time, it was what I was financially able to do,” he explained. The BH120 has a cutting width of 85 inches.
The pairing of the SUPERTRAK and the FECON head is what Foy prefers. “When it’s hooked up on a SUPERTRAK,” said Foy of the FECON head, “the SUPERTRAK is just built for the attachment.”
The SUPERTRAK-Cat 312 has a 127 hp engine, providing plenty of power for the FECON head. “The FECON head has the fastest recovery time I’ve ever seen,” said Foy.
Foy moves his smaller machines to job sites with an International tractor and a 10-ton tag-along trailer. He relies on a contract hauler to transport the bigger machines.
Atlanta is just one of the markets in the Southeast where Foy Randall Enterprises has clients. Foy will take his team anywhere in the Southeast. In general, the company works as far north as Atlanta and as far south and east as Daytona, Fla. and as far west as Panama City, Fla.
Daisy is a hamlet located about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta. It has a storied past that includes bustling railroad activity connected with the movement of turpentine, pine lumber and cotton across the southern tier of the nation. The town was named for the daughter of one of its settlers. In the most recent census there were 134 residents. Thanks to the commitment of its residents, Daisy is a picturesque town. The city hall, for example, has been preserved from the early 20th century.
Foy is a native of Daisy. Growing up, he had the opportunity to observe and learn from and then help his father. He also had the opportunity to see firsthand the changes in the industry with which his father kept pace.
“My father was logging when they were still using chain saws,” said Foy. “He was shearing too.” Then he went to machines, he explained.
Colleagues in the industry often ask Foy for advice about machines, and they have asked him about the maintenance needs of the SUPERTRAK machines with FECON heads that he operates. He is candid. “Any of the grinding stuff out there is high maintenance,” he explained. “I would compare it to an airplane. You’ve got to check it over every morning.”
That said, explained Foy, he believes that he has the best there is in his equipment — the SUPERTRAK carriers and the FECON mulchers. “I wouldn’t say they’re indestructible,” he said, but he believes they are about as close as you can get.
The durability of the machines Foy uses is important in every way, including the wide array of materials they process. In his work, the machines encounter just about every kind of tree species native to the region.
If Foy finds some timber will produce saw logs for grade lumber, he tells the owner about it. “I know it’s valuable to the owner, even if I go somewhere where people don’t know its value,” he said. “I’ve got to look out for the best interest of the customer. Usually, if I look out for them, they look out for me.”
Foy refers customers to a logging contractor to remove timber that can be sold to a grade lumber mill. He knows that one concern many landowners have is that the clearing job not be slowed down to harvest grade logs.
Work comes to Foy Randall Enterprises in many ways. The company bids on work and also advertises with signs. “A lot of the customers we have are repeat customers,” said Foy. “We’ve run a long way by word-of-mouth.”
Each job is interesting in its own way. One job still stands out in Foy’s mind as impressive, given the size of the trees and the way the equipment handled the task. “We took down 27 pecan trees on a
The work that Foy does for developers has some unique components. “As far as what I call development cuts, developers want the bigger trees left,” said Foy. Selling houses more and more often includes a lot that has standing trees.
An exception, said Foy, involves condominium developments. In those instances, many trees, especially larger trees, must be removed to make the tract suitable for multi-resident units. Even in such
Launching a business has proved a good decision for Foy. “I grew up working outside, working in the woods,” Foy said. “That’s what I enjoy doing.”When he gets time away from work, Foy has some definite interests. “I like to fish, spend time with my fiancée and hunt,” he said.
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