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Iowa Contractor Finds Long-term Success in Versatility and Dependable Equipment

Iowa Contractor Finds Long-term Success in Versatility and Dependable Equipment

October 28, 2016 |

Iowa Contractor Finds Long-term Success in Versatility and Dependable Equipment


Iowa contractor Toby Vanderpool understands that change is the only constant in the construction industry, especially during challenging economic conditions. That’s why, as president and owner of Vanderpool Construction, he makes sure his firm is always ready to respond to a wide variety of project opportunities with an experienced workforce and reliable, versatile equipment.


This approach has kept Vanderpool Construction successful and growing through its 60-plus-year history. With headquarters in Indianola, Iowa, just south of Des Moines, the company handles a variety of government and commercial construction projects throughout central Iowa. The company also offers aggregate sales through its yard in Indianola.


“Sanitary sewer construction is the sweet spot of our business, if I had to identify a specialty,” said Vanderpool, “but we are very versatile in our scope of work.


“If you want to stay busy, you have to be ready for anything. The categories of projects seem to change every year – one year there may be a lot of sewer work, the next year we might see more commercial work, the next year it might be roadwork. We’ve survived and grown for a long time by being able to do it all – and do it well.”


Dependable equipment is key to success

If the company’s versatility is what keeps it busy, “our equipment is what keeps us successful,” Vanderpool said.


Vanderpool’s equipment fleet includes several excavators, ranging from an 8-ton compact unit to a 75-ton mass excavator, along with a variety of haul trucks and dump trucks. At the heart of the Vanderpool fleet are three Hyundai wheel loaders – an HL760, HL757-9, and a 3.7-yd3 HL955 model that Vanderpool purchased in early 2016 from Rueter’s, the authorized Hyundai dealership for Iowa and eastern Nebraska.


“We used track loaders in the past, but we switched to wheel loaders for their versatility,” Vanderpool explained. “The Hyundai HL955 is an excellent machine. We like the visibility from the cab, the creature comforts in the cab, including climate control and ride control. And instead of trailering the wheel loader, we can drive it on the road at 25 mph to get to local jobs. The mobility of HL955 is a big advantage.


“The quick coupler on the front of the HL955 saves a lot of time when changing attachments – we use forks for carrying pipe and ditch boxes, an aggregate bucket with a smooth edge, a dirt bucket with teeth, a grapple for carrying trees and pipe. And we have snow push boxes and hydraulic snow plows. Wheel loaders are year-around machines for us.


“Fuel economy is a big concern in specifying new equipment,” Vanderpool added. “The Hyundai HL955 is unbelievably fuel efficient in addition to providing plenty of power.” The wheel loader features a 197-hp Cummins QSB6.7 Tier 4 Final diesel engine.


Monitor and onboard weighing boost productivity

Vanderpool noted two features standard on all new Hyundai HL900 series wheel loaders that boost productivity – a seven-inch cluster monitor and touchscreen control interface, and an integrated onboard weighing system.


“The new monitor on the HL955 is very user-friendly. Just took a minute to figure it out. Once you get accustomed to using the monitor, it really makes for an easier and more productive operating experience,” he said.


“And with the onboard weighing system, everything is accounted for. We never have a customer upset thinking that they didn’t get what they paid for. It’s a very accurate system.”


Safety first

Like most contractors, Vanderpool Construction puts a premium on safety. While the company’s experienced, well-trained operators have excellent on-the-job safety records, Vanderpool said he also looks for equipment designs that contribute to safe working practices and conditions.


“Hyundai wheel loaders are very safe machines. They have good mirror placement for visibility. The backup camera is an important safety feature. Getting in and out of the cab is very safe – the door, the steps, the handles all contribute to a safe design for the operator,” he explained. “And once you’re in the cab, it’s very comfortable, no matter what size you are.”


In business since 1955, Vanderpool Construction has been owned and managed by three generations of the same family. Toby has been the owner and president since 2013. A fourth generation of Vanderpool family management may succeed Toby one day. But for now, the company under Toby’s leadership is navigating the ever-changing construction contracting business to stay on track for continued growth and success.

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