Customer Profile: Founded in 1953 by Hartley Tucker, H. W. Tucker Company is a family-owned contracting company located in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The company specializes in concrete, excavation, and underground utility work throughout the state of Arkansas. It is currently owned by Hartley Tucker’s daughter Dian Tucker Evans and run by President John Ray Evans and Vice President and the third generation, John Hartley Evans.
Business Challenge: Continually expanding tools and techniques to support field teams, drive productivity and efficiency.
- Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform
- Trimble Business Center Software
- Trimble SPS930MC Total Station
- Trimble TSC7 Data Collector
- Improved operator confidence
- Considerably less material waste
- Greater efficiency
Family owned and operated contractor H. W. Tucker Company has amassed almost seven decades of expertise, developing skills and a reputation that has commercial and residential customers vying for its expertise. Specializing in concrete, excavation and underground utility work, the company has worked on airports, municipal buildings and an abundance of highways throughout the state of Arkansas.
The North Little Rock, Arkansas-based firm was recently named a finalist in Equipment World's 2022 Contractor of the Year program, largely for its positive influence on the construction industry and excellent safety record. The award honors small and medium-sized contractors who excel in their market—and H.W. Tucker certainly does that with a focused attention on people, processes, equipment and technology.
With a staff of about 40, H.W. Tucker has focused on ensuring its people have the tools to complete ever more complex jobs with greater efficiency. That focus is especially important for operators.
Currently, the firm has more than 50 pieces of equipment in its fleet, including 11 dozers, 10 soil compactors, eight excavators, four motor graders and two curb-and-gutter machines. The dozers, motor graders and excavators, in particular, have been equipped with machine control systems for many years. What started as laser guided systems shifted to GNSS beginning in 2011, with Trimble machine control systems on their dozers and motor graders.
With help from its Trimble Dealer, SITECH Arkansas, the contractor began a shift to Trimble Earthworks, with the first install on a Cat D4 dozer, this past year.
“It’s very user friendly and gives our operators a lot more information on the screen,” said Dylan Paul, field supervisor for the firm and the company’s expert on machine control and technology deployment. “It’s amazing the accuracy we can get on a job.”
He points to a gravel tonnage job that H.W. Tucker recently completed at a new Arkansas AG John Deere dealership in Dermott, Arkansas. Crews needed to add approximately 18,000 tons of gravel.
“We graded the dirt per the model specifications,” said Paul. “When we finished, we were within two truckloads of gravel. That’s better than we’ve ever done.”
A second project was a parking lot rehabilitation in Conway, north of Little Rock. Crews graded the dirt, put rock down and then poured concrete. “With grade control, we can pour 400-500 yards of concrete and run three yards over. Those are the kinds of efficiencies that are instantly noticed by our customers and our project managers.”
H.W. Tucker doesn’t currently build its own 3D models, but that capability will likely come soon as the firm becomes more familiar with the takeoff and 3D modeling capabilities of Trimble Business Center.
Currently, the firm relies on a third-party service locally to build its models. “We send him the job, he builds models and then we put them into the appropriate machines,” said Paul.
The value of grade control solutions such as Trimble Earthworks extends well beyond the clear material management benefits. Like many other contractors in the industry, H.W. Tucker is continually looking to build its team of skilled operators.
Julie Evans Sanders, the fourth generation member of the family to join the company, said, “We are really lucky that we haven’t seen a labor shortage, but we know it’s coming. Technology that enhances operator tasks will certainly make a difference. The programs are more user friendly so even novice operators can get up to speed quickly.”
When asked about ROI from technology investment, Sanders said, “That’s a difficult question to answer because our work is always changing. If we use 18,000 tons of gravel and 3,000 yards of concrete on two projects with virtually zero over run, we see savings very quickly. Payback on our investment is usually a year, two at the most.”
Sanders also said the firm is looking at adding new services, such as recycling, to complement its concrete and utility divisions. “We would also like a grade control enabled excavator. We do a considerable amount of utility work and that machine could be a great benefit when digging trenches, grading ponds and similar activities. Trimble technology has given us the ability to grow considerably in the last 10 years and we know we have much more to adopt, but in every case, we see the value in terms of productivity and efficiency benefits,” she said.