New Era Excavation Centralizes Fleet Management, and Saves Time and Money on Fueling, with Innovative Diesel Fuel Trailer
By Drew Farrell, territory sales manager, Thunder Creek Equipment
For Tom Gardocki, known as Dirt Ninja on his popular social media channels, excavation and running heavy equipment is his passion. Growing up in a family-owned landscaping business was the start of it all. Now, as co-owner of New Era Excavation in Londonderry, NH, he and his business partner, Craig Hammel, have carved a niche in completing site work for high-end residential new home construction. They also take on select commercial work.
“I want to be on the jobsite every day. I don't want to be stuck in an office,” Gardocki said. “I like the challenging jobs. We don't do big subdivisions, cookie cutter houses, one after another. They’re all unique projects. I like to use my brain every day, so I want to do something interesting.”
Gardocki and Hammel started New Era Excavation in 2015 and have grown the business to specialize in waterfront excavation, whether it be on the ocean, ponds or lakes. They have invested in equipment and technology that allows the company to function at a high level on small, difficult lots of land. Their fleet includes equipment ranging from a five metric ton mini-excavator to 80,000-pound excavators, a wheel loader, a bulldozer, a skid steer, and two trucks, along with support equipment such as rollers and water truck trailers.
Tom is famous for his skill with equipment and understanding how different machines can improve each jobsite — but with multiple jobs on the schedule at any given time, having a decentralized fleet scattered across New England can be a challenge. Not only do Gardocki and Hammel need to oversee the logistics of getting the right equipment to the right job on time, but they also must service and fuel them onsite. Several years ago, they invested in a No HAZMAT Fuel and Service Trailer (MTT) from Thunder Creek to facilitate the fueling and care of their equipment.
“That’s one of the main reasons we have the Thunder Creek. We can be at one to five jobs in a single day. If we're all spread out, one of my guys or I can take the truck and the trailer around, and fuel and grease everything up,” explained Gardocki. “And if we're all at one job, the MTT stays on that job.”
The MTT690 model New Era chose has capacity for 690 gallons of diesel with the option for 100 gallons of DEF — a feature that Gardocki especially appreciates. The trailer features Thunder Creek’s proprietary 2-in-1, closed loop DEF system, which helps ensure the cleanliness and quality of DEF while providing an efficient and self-contained way to deliver it to the field.
“Having DEF on that trailer has made my life easier, since all the new equipment takes it. Before we were using one-use jugs of DEF. There's a lot of waste with that,” he explained. “So now we buy it in bulk. The DEF goes into the trailer and right out into the equipment. There's no second handling of the DEF fluid, which is key for us. It stays clean, doesn’t get contaminated and it saves time.”
Saving Hours in Fueling Time
Adding to that time savings is the ability to fill New Era Excavation’s equipment more quickly than the previous method Gardocki and team used, which was a transfer tank in the back of a pickup truck. According to Gardocki, it would take around 20 minutes to empty 100 gallons of fuel, whereas with the MTT, it takes about two minutes.
“You'd be amazed at how much more flow these tanks provide to speed filling up the equipment,” Gardocki said. “If we're on a jobsite and we’ve got five pieces of equipment, we’re taking fuel time from maybe an hour down to around 10 minutes, which is big. Obviously, the more uptime, the more money we can make.”
The Advantage of No HAZMAT
Because the New Era Excavation team can be working on multiple jobsites at any given time, it’s an added advantage that any available employee can haul the MTT to where it’s needed. The trailer features six separate 115-gallon tanks connected with a common manifold that leads to a commercial grade pumping system. This multi-tank solution eliminates the need for drivers to hold a HAZMAT endorsement (a cost savings in time and labor), while still legally transporting the fuel. It also mitigates the need for a CDL (depending on the truck and trailer combination).
Gardocki and his team also like that the trailer tows so smoothly.
“Any of our guys can hop right into the truck and tow the trailer to any jobsite in all the states that we work in. The versatility of not needing a dedicated person with a HAZMAT license makes it easy for moving from one job to another and it reduces labor costs associated with that endorsement.”
This fueling and service platform also helps Gardocki keep his diesel acquisition costs down. The ability to fill the trailer tanks with bulk diesel from a supplier vs. relying on gas station prices adds to the cost savings for New Era Excavation. According to Gardocki, his supplier provides a lower per gallon price because of the storage capacity — an additional means for the company to gain a solid return on investment in its MTT.
The trailer has also proven easy to use — and it serves as a great centralized system for most daily preventive maintenance and daily fluids activities with the inclusion of the optional utility box with a generator, air compressor and greasing system.
“Another thing I love about this trailer is that the diesel pump and air compressor have a gas-powered electric start. I can run an air gun or grease gun off the compressor for our routine maintenance or if we need onsite repairs,” he explained. “Being able to take care of that is the field is just huge.”
Aligning with company values
Two of the key values at New Era are efficiency and quality. The team takes pride in doing the best work possible in the most streamlined fashion — and Gardocki sees the MTT as a complement to that.
“I think what this trailer has provided us over the years is efficiency and that goes along with everything that we do in our company. From the people to the tools, to the equipment, to how we fuel equipment,” he explained. “Keeping everything moving as efficiently as possible is a huge key to our success as a company.
Gardocki added, “Every day, we’re on-road and off-road, and we haven't had any issues with this trailer. All the tanks are still secure and there are no cracked welds or other issues. I've been extremely happy with the quality of it.”