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March 3-7, 2026

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Brian Dietz: Growing a Family Business, It’s Only Possible When We’re on the Same Team



Host Taylor White welcomes Brian Dietz, Co-Owner of Bob Dietz and Sons Inc., to the podcast today, and together, they turn their spotlight on achieving enduring success in the construction industry, particularly  as a family-owned construction business. Brian shares his personal journey, instilled with an outstanding commitment to excellence and a strong work ethic passed down through generations. The podcast spotlights the potent force of teamwork, harmonious family dynamics, and technology's role in propelling their enterprise towards a prosperous future. Stressing the importance of nurturing a supportive and collaborative work environment as the foundation for success within these unique enterprises, this episode offers invaluable insights into the construction industry, where passion, technology, and strong relationships converge to drive growth and operational efficiency.

Within their illuminating conversation, Taylor and Brian explore various critical themes deeply rooted in the construction realm including the legacy of family businesses, strong stakeholder relationships, evolving roles, and the immense impact that attending CONEXPO-CON/AGG can have upon a business. They also examine scaling complexities, technological transformation, effective teamwork, lessons from debriefs, and the cultivation of a vibrant company culture. Taylor and Brian go on to express their enthusiasm for future expansion into new frontiers like deep utilities and seizing technology-driven growth opportunities. In essence, today’s enlightening episode sheds light on how embracing technology and upholding a collaborative ethos are essential components for a flourishing family-owned construction business in the ever evolving construction landscape.


  • Family legacy in construction
  • Harmonious family collaboration
  • Building strong relationships
  • Role transition for efficiency
  • Scaling challenges
  • Technology's impact
  • Consistency and teamwork
  • Lessons for Improvement

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Episode transcript:

Brian Dietz: There's an amazing amount of success I've seen in our world from being able to lead, which means support whoever you're getting direction from. Give them everything that they need in order to make decisions. So go with your schedules, go with your ideas. Like, “Hey, I know on your three week look ahead, you have this and then this and then this. What if we swap that because it helps you?” We're not trying to cross this trench with your guys loading sheetrock instead. So be that support for your GC. It makes your site super love you. You enjoy working with him. It makes the project smooth, profitable, and sustainable, all the stuff.

Taylor White: Welcome back, everybody, to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Podcast. I am your host, as usual, Taylor White, brought to you by our good friends over at Komatsu. Today, I have with me somebody that we were just kind of getting into for the podcast and I really look forward to talking to. Kind of does the same thing we have, has a pretty large following oline as well, too. Brian Dietz from Bob Dietz & Sons, Incorporated. Brian, thanks for coming out today.

Brian Dietz: Yeah, super excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Taylor White: Yeah, we were just chatting beforehand on how we may have appeared in each other's social media ecosystem. How did this come about? The business? Maybe explain and start about who you are and what you do?

Brian Dietz: So, I grew up in the business. My father started the business back in the early ‘70s and it really got going by the mid ‘70s. I grew up just climbing on machines and sitting behind the seat of the dozer. So it's been in my blood since childhood. It's an exciting industry to be in as a kid because you grew up with Tonka toys and you're playing in the dirt, and then that passion just doesn't go away as you turn it into a career. So it's been a super cool life and it's exciting to see now another generation coming in with our family. The kids are getting to that age where they're starting to get involved. And as a family business, it's an interesting life. But when it works, it doesn't work for everybody, but for those that it does work for, it's an amazing opportunity and advantage, I think, that you have.

Taylor White: Yeah, 100%. I always say that as well. Because I'm sure that maybe you got it when you were younger, maybe your kids are coming up or the next generation that you speak about coming up, they'll definitely get the "”Oh, their business was here. Silver spoon." and I definitely have dealt with that my whole life, “Well, your family had a construction business,” and exactly what you said was, it's a massive opportunity. And that's what I saw as well. It's like this is how I would say it to people, half the time I ignore them now. I could have sat and been a 7:00 to 5:00 employee for my family, and my dad would have been just as happy doing that as well. He just wanted to see me do whatever I wanted to do to make me happy. But instead, I acted on that. I took my own take on it from where it was. We grew that. So did you get any kind of part of that? Did you get some of that blowback?

Brian Dietz: Yeah, I mean, you still get it. You know, the "must be nice" comments. And it is. The reality is, it is nice because not everybody has that opportunity. So I always joke with Dane Cotton that when someone says, "it must be nice," you just say, "it is." That's the reality. It is nice. But along with that comes a ton of work. My brothers and I, we worked our entire lives around this business. It was summer vacations, Saturdays and Sundays, and it was from sun up or before until after, and whatever it took in between. And I think a business or any career, any hobby, anything, you get out of it what you put into it. So if you see someone that's doing well, it's because they're working their butt off to get there. So it's not something that just happens on its own. There are things that come along, we're in the right place at the right time, but a lot of it is what you make of it. So my dad taught us to work hard, invest personally, learn as much as you can, become a proficient operator, appreciate the labor side of things, and respect the relationship with the customer, architects, engineers, and GCs, all of those things.  And when you put all that together and then you have multiple people on the same page in a family, you become quite a force in the community or even just a support for the community. It's something that stands out as special.

Taylor White: Yeah, you're dead on. I always say it that our team internally, we have such a– My operations manager is my cousin, I work with my father, my wife's in the business. My cousin and I have another cousin who works in the field. I don't know what the right word is, but just the way you can mesh with family, I always say that that's our strongest asset is our team. And the team being a lot of family as well, too. And just that makes us, like you said, it creates such a dynamic that that's what makes us successful at what we do. So I really relate to that.

Brian Dietz: I totally agree. I think the ones that struggle are the ones that compete against each other instead of looking for your strengths and then allowing the other person to fill the void with their strength. And sometimes it's like two people, one guy's a little better, but maybe he's younger. And so there's this weird competition that is just like, to me, if you're competing against yourself, if you're doing that because you're a team, why would you not allow the one person to shine in one area and you shine in another area? And now you have a team. You look at any team sport, there's no one person that makes that goal, wins or loses. You win together or you lose together. And so when you bring that team spirit to a business and then you add that family element, not everybody gets that. Some people just, it's not for them, and that's fine too. But for us, it's worked really well. Working together and just, you have such a solid foundation of trust and a common goal that you can work together and you understand each other's needs and each other's value.

And it just, I mean, when you're bragging on each other as opposed to picking on each other behind each other's back, and you don't even realize how you're undermining your business by picking on another team member to a customer or to an architect, or whoever, even just amongst the team. So instead, when you're on the positive side and when you're just really thriving on each other's strengths, that, to me, is an awesome environment to work in. We spend most of our lives at work. We get these little breaks. I see you're in Florida right now, and it's nice to get little breaks, but most of our lives are revolving around work. I feel bad for those that don't have an environment that they're enjoying every day. For me, I love work. I love going to work. And a lot of it is the environment that you create. So for us, it's worked really well.

Taylor White: Yeah, we have a lot of similarities because I preach the exact same stuff when I speak. I look at it as such a privilege that I get to go to work every day with my father and my family. And even just not even just people who are family, but just the team that we have and the way that we are in our office and in the field. Just like you said, you're just ragging on each other. You can talk to each other transparently and open and freely. There's no behind-the-scenes stuff. We go out for our lunches or we do this. We have the team-building trips, team bonding trips. And sometimes I sit back and I'm like, man, imagine being on a team where you don't have this. And I'm fine. Maybe because it's our business, but it is. You're right, it is. I look at it like, holy, I am so privileged that I get to do this for a living.

Brian Dietz: Yeah, it's pretty special. I was talking with our mechanic the other day, and he's like, it's cool that you and Tony have this relationship, that you can be business partners, but also, if he sees one truck pulling a boat, the other truck's behind it. We go to the lake together, we vacation together, we go to dinner together. Our wives are best friends. All of that stuff is so important

Taylor White: That’s so cool.

Brian Dietz: It's pretty rare, but again, it's what you put into it. If you're going at that relationship with jealousy, you're not going to succeed. But if you just value each other, I think it is a unique thing. Not everybody can attain that, having personalities that work together. But for us, it's been phenomenal because we don't waste time on the little stuff that can just divide you and sink your ship. The focus is on positivity and moving forward and what do the crews need and what does the business need and what does it take to make sure that we're there for our customers and provide that service? And when your focus is on that, the rest just kind of succeeds. But when you're distracted with that, anyway, we're talking a lot about negative stuff, but it's cool when you can find what does work for you, and for us, it's such an advantage.

Taylor White: For sure. So what does your business focus on solely? So you said Tony. So Tony is your brother?

Brian Dietz: Yes, he's my brother. Two years–

Taylor White: Nice. So what do you guys focus on as far as work-wise? You guys do site prep, residential, commercial?

Brian Dietz: We do. In the past, we were real heavy on residential, and we still are. We have two crews that are dedicated to residential work and they'll cross over into small commercial stuff.

Taylor White: It just happens.

Brian Dietz: Warehouses and we're doing a rental store right now and even some housing and different things like that that's not solely residential. We're doing a senior community right now. So that residential crew kind of crosses over there. And then we have a couple of commercial crews that focus on the bigger stuff. And we're really growing that side of the business more. We're pretty well set up with equipment and technology now that we really can get on that bigger site for us. Smaller for some guys, but relatively they're bigger for us and we can thrive in there. When you have GPS going and you have your site modeled and you got multiple rovers running around and the technology and the equipment, you just walk through the work. And so being able to put two or three crews on one big commercial site and bounce them in and out as needed, that's pretty awesome. To me, it's more fun. Like I'm really enjoying that side of things. The residential stuff, a lot of guys are like, it's easier. I actually think it's harder when you go to–

Taylor White: The management side of it. I think it's harder.

Brian Dietz: It is easier because it's smaller and you go out and you're putting a little pipe in or you're doing something. But you're going there with no design. You are the designer. The options of how you do it are open-ended, and you encounter so many different trades even within your own trade on that day you have to do so. You have to bring all this extra equipment and tools, and there's just a lot. You're making 1000 extra decisions a day. Whereas in a commercial world, or even the bigger residential stuff, housing stuff, it's design. And you just build to the design. And so you have, with a good site super, you can walk through those projects because if you know your prints, you're following that design. Someone already thought it all through. So I think on the management side, even like scaling your business, it's hard to scale a residential business beyond a certain point. Because there are so many office hours and management hours that go into running a– You’re in this small space and it’s hard to grow that. So you can add extra crews, but then each crew needs more office staff. Whereas for the commercial site, three or four members of your office can handle multiple projects and those projects can be the bigger scale and you can have a lot of crews over there. So for us, it just makes sense to be growing that commercial side. And I’d have more fun in bigger dirt and it’s just more exciting.

Taylor White: Yeah, totally agree. I would say that in order to– The residential, like what you said, it's not possible to scale. It's possible to scale, but you peak at some point because, like you were saying, for us, we were the same. We had two crews just always doing residential. We were kind of sitting around 12 to 14 guys. And it's the thing with residential and why I say it's almost more management work is because we could be in and out in three days for digging. Okay, now we have to leave. Concrete guys got to come back in. So now we got to line up another residential to go to while we wait for the concrete. Then we go back, we backfill the septic, then we leave again, then we come back. It's a lot of that. It's a lot of planning. So it's a lot of management. But then also, as we want to grow, you want to get up. That's a lot of residential work that you need. And it's so much scheduling and planning and so much estimating where the bigger jobs it was, okay, I know that I got guys on that job for the next five and a half weeks, and then they're going to go flip back over to our other commercial, which will be ready, and they're there for six weeks. So as far as planning and scheduling, I found that the commercial is just the way to go for that. And it is scalable because you can get bigger clients, you get bigger machinery, you can do more. We are in the same boat on that.

Brian Dietz: Yeah. And the commercial sites allow you to set up. You go there, you get an office trailer. We got CONEX boxes with offices built in them. You put additional CONEX boxes, you've got fuel tanks, you've got all your stuff. So you have all your inventory. You can order your materials in stages. And, if you want to be an efficient company, that is a space that you can thrive. It's day-to-day in the residential world, and so much you're sharing that space with so many other trades. On the commercial side, you can kind of schedule it out. And if you're a good communicator, we try really hard to support the GC, to support the site super, make sure that we're thinking, there's the whole go into the Dirt World Summit, listen to Jacob talk and know leading up the chain, there's an amazing amount of success I've seen in our world from being able to lead, which means support whoever you're getting direction from, give them everything that they need in order to make decisions. So go with your schedules, go with your ideas. Like, “Hey, I know, on your three-week look ahead, you have this and then this and then this. What if we swap that because it helps you?” We're not trying to cross this trench with your guys loading sheetrock instead. So be that support for your GC. It makes your site super love you. You enjoy working with him. It makes the project smooth, makes it profitable, it's sustainable, all that stuff. So just working together.

And so the bigger sites allow that. When you go to smaller sites, it's like constantly new people. Again, the GC, on a single house site, he's wearing so many hats, he's struggling to keep all that organized. And it's not set up like when there's crews on sites. It's more of our style, like just to be as organized as can be and make sure that we're supporting everybody and working with everybody and be as flexible as you can. That stuff really, it means a lot to us of who we are and trying to be the partner on projects.

Taylor White: So, what do you focus mainly on then? Because you sound very like you're educating yourself on leadership, or you sound super organized and efficient. What's your kind of role in the business? What do you like doing versus what Tony would be doing?

Brian Dietz: So growing up, you did everything. So it was a small business. It was my dad and a couple of laborers or a couple of operators, depending on truck drivers and different things like that. And it was always anywhere from one to ten employees at different stages of time throughout our lives. I always loved running an excavator. That became my thing. And we had backhoes and skid steers and dozers and all the different machines. But I just loved being an excavator. And to this day, I still love running an excavator. And so I think if you love something, you have a higher percentage of becoming really good at it, and you want to be there, so you care about the work and your end result is a little better. So, we've always tried to do that. If someone likes something, leave them there as much as you can. So I kind of became the excavator guy. Tony became the dozer guy. My brother Joe, who worked with us until two years ago, his whole life, is now working and selling Topcon GPS Equipment, he just wanted a different path. So he's our sales rep. That's pretty good. I guess you use Topcon if you have to leave. That's not a bad thing and he's doing very well. We're excited for him. He was kind of the laborer, then moved to layout, then became a GPS expert.

As the business grew, you kind of maintained those roles. I would handle difficult excavations. We had operators who would do more of the routine work. If we were around tight utilities or on the street where it’s at the deep, I would handle that. And Tony, he is two years older than me, as we were transitioning with my parents running the business, he got into estimating and meeting with customers and just kind of took that role on. And then as it scaled, that handed off a lot of that too. Now we got estimators and we got guys going out in front of meeting. Once they go out, meet a customer, a large part of my role currently is to go and kind of nurture that relationship and see how we can support them and see what other needs they have if we can fill them. So just kind of getting out in front of the project or even as the bids go in, I go out and meet with people and explain  to make sure they understand what we're bidding and what our capabilities are and the benefits. If our price is a little higher, why is it higher? This is what you get. We can keep you on schedule. There’s a value there. If our support and our communication, and the way we work together make it a better experience for them, then it’s worth more money. You get what you pay for and everything. So we're not always the lowest bid, but we try to be. We try not to overcharge.

Taylor White: That's the name of the game.

Brian Dietz: But it does cost more to support a larger inventory of equipment and that whole relationship. And it's working. We're 48 years in business this year, which is-

Taylor White: That’s so incredible.

Brian Dietz: -mind blowing. It’s very exciting. I'm only 44, so I've only been here for part of that, but it's exciting to see it continue to grow. So that’s kind of my role. Still out in the field a lot. Past few months has been a lot of office for me, which has been a little of a shift, like almost 100% office. Not really used to that. I really have a passion for being on the ground in the dirt. And I feel like I thrive on solving problems. I love to see if there are more efficient ways we can do this if we’re moving dirt from here to there and then it’s going to move over there. Is there a way that we can just move it one time.

Taylor White: Nice.

Brian Dietz: There's a lot of that stuff that– Tony and I, we are on the phone together most of the day if we're on the field or whatever we’re doing. Just that constant communication keeps us on the same page and allows the guys to bounce off of either of us and it’s not like we got two divided leaders or with two different agendas where he keeps us on the same page and really working together. We don't have two separate leaders with different agendas. It makes it easier for the guys because there's no confusion of go to mom for this and go to dad for that kind of thing.

Taylor White: Exactly.

Brian Dietz: The same thing for both of us and we’re on the same page. We've been trying to unify the crews in that way in our meetings. We learned a lot at the Dirt World Summit. A lot of things that we feel like we were doing and there was a different twist on how to apply. We had that goal already. We are already trying to do it. It was like, "try to do it this way." We saw huge value in it. One of the things we started implementing was a Zoom meeting every Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. No matter where anybody is, pull over, get prepared, and log in. The whole company is there.

Taylor White: The foreman, management.

Brian Dietz: Everybody all the way down to the laborers. Everybody.

Taylor White: Really?

Brian Dietz: Yeah, the whole company.

Taylor White: And what do you go over? Projects, current projects, forecasting projects?

Brian Dietz: A little bit. It's almost more on a higher level. We talk about who we are, why we're trying to do certain things, and different processes that we're trying to put in place. Big picture. Trying to think about specific things we've talked about. How do we create an assembly line and a consistent product in an industry where everything changes every day? And the way to do that in my eyes is you have to have standard operating procedures that can apply to a thousand different circumstances. But if you have a process for the way that you put pipe in the ground always, then you can apply that in different ways. But if every time you put pipe in the ground, it's different, or if the way your crews are structured, how you handle your tools, where do you get your tools from, you have to create all these processes. We created a tool crib for common tools and we have tools to assigned to crews, machines assigned to crews, trucks all that stuff. So they have their tools, and if there's a specialty tool that's shared between crews– Chainsaws, not everybody needs a lot of chainsaws. Every crew has a chainsaw in their truck. But if you're going to do clearing, here’s where you’re going to get those tools. Just all the different processes of how to increase that efficiency. something specific with it, you can reserve it. There were some great meetings that talked through how you do that stuff. I’m drawing a little bit of a blank on some of the topics right now.

Taylor White: It’s all good. So ultimately, based meetings. That’s interesting. We do a management weekly round meeting every Wednesday. We've been doing that for a year and a half. Lots of value. Then, just before Christmas, we need to start having a meeting with all the foremen and management to talk about the projects and what’s going on. Now what you're saying, I really like as well, too, because what you’re saying is like everybody across the board, and we’re talking on a higher level of what is Bob Dietz and Sons– What are we? What do we do? How do we make it better? And it means that are you asking for their– Are you striving? Are you driving it and listening to them? Are they kind of driving it and you’re–  This is super interesting.

Brian Dietz: It depends on the agenda for the day. On Monday, an agenda goes out that says these are the topics that we’re going to talk about so at least they can get in a right headspace for like, “Oh, we’re talking about safety.”

Taylor White: Have time to think about it.

Brian Dietz: Again, this is a newer thing for us. This has only been a couple of weeks. In that agenda, if we're looking for feedback, I will put that in there. “Hey, I'd like to talk about lessons learned tomorrow. Come up with some lessons learned that you've recently discussed in your debriefs." That's another thing we learned from Jocko in the Navy SEALs. They have a briefing before a mission, then they go out and do the mission, and then they have a debrief. We've implemented a debrief. So, anytime you're changing tasks, like if you're putting in pipe and then moving on to digging footings, when you're done with the pipe, we meet as a crew, discuss and outline goals for the day, what are you trying to accomplish, how are you going to do it, who is going to do it, who’s going to do it, how are the risks, how are you going to mitigate that risk, everything that you have. Put everybody in the crew, not just the foreman and the crew leader, everybody. Because when you go out to lay the pipe, the guy that gets the fittings realizes you don't have enough fittings because he knows your goal is to put in 700 ft of pipe or 100 ft of pipe with seven laterals. So, we need seven Ys in that line. If he only has three, right away, he knows it's a problem.

Then at the end of that task, you’ll have your debrief. So we outlined 100 ft of pipe with seven laterals but ran out of fittings after three, what happened? And then you go through that. And now the whole crew is aware, we all had a goal, we missed out goal, why did we miss our goal if we identified that the guy that pulled the fittings out the CONEX box and put them in the gator that we were short because he was a part of the meeting. He’s going to take ownership of that. If he had identified that, probably by 1:00, we could’ve had fittings on that job and it would’ve kept going. But instead, they had to switch gears. The debrief has been amazing for us in evaluating the day, putting everyone on the same page. And if you had a near miss, if you had an accident, if you had anything, it's the time to identify that, talk about it, fill out your reports. The foreman is already doing his paperwork, his doing his daily sheets. So you’re just doing that as a crew. You’re evaluating what you did as a crew and put everybody on the same page. And it's been tremendous for them the following day picking up and not repeating the same issues.

So then even in our big crew meetings or company meetings, some of these lessons learned and if there was a value– “Hey, you know, we've been talking about when you set a frame and curbing, they’re awkward to handle and they’re kind of hard to pick up.” And so we’ve been talking like, throwing it around, just an example of how do we solve this? Is there a way other than just putting a strap or a chain or forks? Do you guys grab it and set it? Is there a way that– Do they make a lifting setup for that? We haven’t found it yet, but it’s something that keeps coming up and it has allowed the whole company to work on solving the problem. There’s a few of them that are repeatedly coming up where it’s like, “Hey. This is what we’ve been doing. This is what our crew is doing.” But the goal is really that lesson learned, we transfer to their crews in the crew meeting so that they don’t have to learn it the hard way themselves if they had a near miss and for whatever the reason is. We are working around this side, and the siding guys, they’re just running their low around and they’re almost running into it, so they backed into a van. Then we tell everybody and the whole company so if you come on that site, you know that there’s a risk over there, but that low lock graders is a danger.

So it kind of puts everybody on the same page, and you can educate, talk about your workload, talk about exciting things coming up. We just recently hired a couple of guys, and we talked about that. A lot of us kind of interview a little bit in front of the whole company. This is the guy that’s going to do some project management and estimating, and here’s his background. We're in the process of buying our first quarry, so we were able to talk about that with the guys.

Taylor White: Good for you.

Brian Dietz: It's an exciting thing. But to kind of share that to the whole company at once, everybody's like, “Oh, this is something you've been working on behind the scenes for a year, and then it's revealed.” It's super exciting. So that meeting has just been really big. With the holidays, we missed it a couple of weeks. Kind of delayed it just with short weeks and some people being off, I didn't want to make it– But I'm excited to get that rolling again. It's been really valuable to us. A lot of what Jocko talked about at the summit was just being that team. In the SEALs, when they make a bad plan and they go out and execute it and somebody gets shot in the face, they know immediately that they had a bad plan. A lot of times we can just continue with subpar operations and bad planning because we don't see the consequences immediately, but it will sink our ship and in time someone will get hurt or we're just not profitable. The company starts to suffer, which means we can't buy great equipment and tools and provide a quality income for our guys and a good benefits package because we're not being efficient. It takes a lot to keep this stuff running at a high level of efficiency and profitability, and it takes the whole team working together to do that.

So it's not just the top, it is the guys at the bottom. If you put everybody on a list, they are just as important in that success. Every time I have a meeting and someone's working on that site that wasn't in that meeting, we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot. Because as soon as you go out, what are you going to have? Another meeting, a shorter meeting with less information for that guy? So we're just trying to group people in. The more we group them in, the more that they're a part of the team and that they can grow. They realize they're on the same page as their foreman because he has a goal outlined for the day. They're aware of that goal, and they're a part of the process to solve that. So it's been a little bit different for us because it is definitely when you have that Tuesday morning and you see all those screens pop up on Zoom and you're like, there's a lot of people sitting right now on the clock.

Taylor White: Yeah, that's what I was thinking of.

Brian Dietz: If you're counting dollars, you're correct. It's money. You're bleeding money. However, we feel that it's money well spent in investing in your team and building a team. I mean, if you look at any team sport, they have a huddle, right? They get together, they discuss what they're going to do next. In some sports, it's every single thing they do. They all come together and then they execute it. They come back together, they execute it. If you're not doing that, how can you possibly be successful? How can you work together and accomplish the same goal? If this guy just comes in, gets in an excavator and goes over there, and that guy's over there, and they're not even pals. But if you bring everybody together, everybody starts to become a family, and you're working together. And we actually have multiple guys in our leadership that now, their kids work here.

Taylor White: That’s awesome.

Brian Dietz: One guy, two of his sons work here, and another foreman, his son's working here now. To me, it's exciting on a couple of levels. One, they look at this company as a good place to bring their family. That means that we're winning. You don't bring your kids into something that you don't believe in, right? And it's also something that tells me that they're hopefully planning to stick around a while themselves, which gives us consistency and continuity. That's huge for growth.

Taylor White: 100%. I think the way that you're thinking overall is what will and is creating your success because, just like the way you speak on a higher level, it's super interesting and very smart because you're just thinking out the norm of what everyone else is. And I'm much like yourself, I like that idea. I like when I hear that, it's like, “Okay, well, that's different. Not too many other people are doing that.” People can talk about how they think everybody's a team, and we're one big happy family. But it's like, “Well, are you really?” And I've always questioned that for so long. When we first started getting on social media, and you'd see big corporate companies post about how they're a family and they're this and that, and it's just like every construction company was using the word family. We're one big family. We're one big family. I'm like, “But you're not.” That's why we try to do team building stuff, and we have KWC camp day, and then we do all our parties. And, I mean, we're a group of small guys and girls. We're like 26, 27. So it's easy to kind of have that close-knit group. But I think what you're doing is you're creating it so that you can grow at scale but also keep and remain that core value of, “Hey, although we may not all see each other every day here, we're still all incorporated. Your ideas matter. We care. And we're not just meeting with management because we're here and you're here. We're meeting with you because we're all doing the same goal. If you succeed, I succeed. If I succeed, you succeed.”

Brian Dietz: 100%. Yeah. I mean, you have to value every member of your team if you do. And the other thing is, you have to be willing to do their job. There are a lot of days where we go out and do whatever they're doing. You're not better than anybody else. We cannot succeed, it is impossible for us to succeed on the level that we're trying to succeed without every single one of these guys and the support of their wives and their family. If you don't have that, if their wife doesn't like you because they wanted to go on vacation and you're like. “No, you can't go.” Again, you're just hurting yourself. Like, that's not sustainable. The guy's not happy. He doesn't want to be there.Now, obviously, they can't go on vacation once a month. There's an investment on the other side, too, but when you find a way to include them in things, we went to CONEXPO this time, there was about 12 of us who went out. It's expensive. It's a lot of money going out to take them and put them up and we're all in the– I can't think of what it was.

Taylor White: To put them all up.

Brian Dietz: Yeah, it's an expense to go out there and stop work for that week and flights, the whole thing. But the benefit of them going out and taking some key players that are excited to be there. I mean, CONEXPO is like the best thing. It's like going to the candy store. It's just as exciting as can be. But we also assign different guys that have different strengths. Like, “Hey, can you look into shoring? You're working around that a lot. Can you go see what shoring we need to be investing in? Whatever it is.” You're here for the week, find time to just track that down. If you come up with some cool stuff, come back with a couple of business cards or websites we can look at or suggestions or flyers, whatever, and see what you can benefit from that. And they're now included in the future of the business. The growth, the excitement.

Taylor White: That's cool.

Brian Dietz: And I think they're not just an employee, they are a team member. And when you're a team, man, it changes everything. It really does. And a lot of people can say like you're saying there's a family, but if you can find a way to actually nurture that and do that, and maybe they are, that is huge.

Taylor White: So what was the reasoning and how did you amass a following on social media? Explain that side of who does it, first of all? And then how did you get to where you are? Because I mean, that alone is super impressive. And I imagine it helps with culture and hiring as well, too.

Brian Dietz: Yeah. So I do the social media, which is kind of crazy. It's a fair amount of work.

Taylor White: Yeah, it is.

Brian Dietz: The idea behind it was the location where we’re at in the Hudson Valley, New York, it's fairly rural. We're an hour and a half north of Manhattan, so we have a lot of city influence, but it is by far not built up. It's a beautiful countryside and so we get projects that are just back in the woods and no one knows we're back there. And as the business is growing and our abilities are growing, no one knows that. So to me, it was a way to showcase who we are. In the beginning, I never thought it would go where it's gone or open the amount of doors that it's opened. It's been just tremendous for our growth. And it's really made work that much more fun. Not just the social media side, but the relationship side. We have customers that are just excited to have us on a site. I have customers that are excited that we brought a specific machine because they're watching and they're like, "Oh, the new excavator with the Engcon’s here." And they're like, "Oh.” Or I have other ones that are like, “Hey, how come my job's not good enough to have that machine here?" And we're like, "Oh, it is.” It's different or whatever. So yeah, the idea was to post some pictures and kind of showcase who we are. I've always thought that we stood out a little bit just in our process for a couple of things. I thought that our family business was special. Not everybody can do it, so I thought that that was special. And then I thought the fact that we take care of our equipment and keep it really clean regardless of how many hours we get on them, I thought that was pretty special. And then I thought that our relationship with John Deere for three generations was pretty special. To be able to stick with a certain manufacturer and get that same support, I thought that there was value there. So kind of like compiling that together.

John Deere is a family business. They started in agriculture and went into construction. My family started in agriculture as dairy farmers and then moved into– When the milk industry fell apart in the ‘60s, we sold the cows and then my father got into excavating and the last John Deere tractor from the farm was traded on the first John Deere dozer. And that was a pretty cool thing. So the whole John Deere story and connection there has been just solid. And we've got all kinds of other machines too. We've got Caterpillar and Komatsu and even a Case roller and different things. So we work with other manufacturers, some Kubota stuff, but primarily, we're a John Deere company.

Taylor White: Nice.

Brian Dietz: So I thought just kind of showcasing a little bit of who we are. And that really came a little bit later on. In the beginning, it was just trying to show that we've grown. We're not that little backhoe service that the company was back in the day. And we can handle different projects. And I think I've always wanted to be a bigger company, just have a longer line of trucks and more excavators lined up. It's just exciting.


Taylor White: Totally. I agree.

Brian Dietz: So in order to get there, you've got to be able to kind of market yourself, and it was a way to market yourself locally, and people could see it. And then it just started growing. It really took off when we partnered with John Deere a few years ago and just started getting a lot more exposure that way. That's opened up a ton of doors, working with engineering and different cags on future excavators.

Taylor White: That's cool.

Brian Dietz: We've had prototype machines on the site. Just really cool stuff. And that, to me, is a once in a lifetime opportunity that just doesn't come along to everybody. And it's been exciting because you have such a passion for these machines and for the work. So, to be able to meet and tour the factory and meet the people who are building it and the team behind it, it's just wild. It means the world to us. It's just wild. It means the world to us to be able to go and see that stuff and meet those people. So, to think that we are special in any way, I never think of it that way. We're just end users who care about the machine and take care of it. But we got to tour the Kernersville factory in North Carolina, where they built the excavators. They built from 100 to 2130, now up to 470. Other than the RTS machines, they build all those machines there. And we got to meet with a bunch of people, and it was wild to be able to share our experience. We got interviewed as part of the trip, and we actually had people tearing up because they never really realized they got this job in this back little corner of the factory. And for 18 years, they're doing whatever their process is over and over for 18 years. But they never really met a customer that said, "My reputation, who I am, is because of your building a quality product that doesn't break down." And we're known for being reliable because our machines don't break down. That's why we stick with Deere. It's a good machine for us. But that lady who's been doing that for 18 years, she made a difference. Social media opened up doors that we never thought would open. We would never have the opportunity to shake her hand or meet with engineers and different things that way.

And then going out to CONEXPO and working in the booth, just hanging around the booth, even just working with the different machines. Deere had so many new machines out this time, but the whole CONEXPO experience is just like, I don't know. I think our whole life, when we were kids in the early ‘80s, my dad went to his first CONEXPO. John Deere flew him out there and took him to CONEXPO. And so growing up, it was like, "Wow, dad got to go." And it was like a dreamy place with just fields full of equipment, and we sort of grew up dreaming about it. And then going, we've been to, I don't know, five or six now. It's cool. To be honest, a lot of what we learned there has completely shaped our business. The technology we see there, every time you come back, you're like, "Okay, we're going to go that direction. We're going to add this." We bought our GPS equipment based on CONEXPO. I think the first rotating laser was because of CONEXPO. And then it just kind of led from there and grew. We bought our first excavator because we saw it at the 1985 CONEXPO. And then it just kind of led from there and grew. He bought his first excavator because he saw it at the 1985 John Deere 490 excavator because he saw it and came back and luckily nobody had them.

I mean the show had been huge for us in just being educated. When you get to your local dealer, they can’t possibly have all of the equipment available. And then that’s just one deal, that’s just one brand. When we go there, they're all there and you get to see stuff from all around the world and interact with the people. I think what I didn’t realize until maybe two CONEXPOs ago is the caliber of people that you’re rubbing shoulders with in every booth. These are “The People”. This is not hired staff, there are some, but these are “The People”. If you have a question– I was in the booth one time and I was like, “I am struggling with this one machine, it keeps overheating.” And like, “Hold on. We got the engineer that designed it and he’s responsible for that machine.” And he’s like, “Talk to me.” So we go through the whole thing and he said, “What? When you open the hood there’s a piece of foam that’s on the hood and it keeps the air flowing over and the radiator has to go through it.” And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s missing.” And he’s like, “I’ll go get that piece of foam.” And sure enough, we fixed it.

It’s not something that a local dealer or mechanic may be aware of. But those guys they get the reports and so when you go to the show, you can meet those people that add such tremendous value for us in just being able to implement some of that stuff and grow the business.

Taylor White: It sounds like you have such a grasp on the industry and such a love for it. Is there anything in the future that you're looking forward to? What's big coming up for you guys?

Brian Dietz: I think the direction we're going is just difficult work. Once you get set up and you can handle stuff, then you can really go after the harder stuff. So deep utilities are something that's really appealing to us right now. Just stuff out in the roadways. Like I mentioned, we're getting into buying our first quarry, so that's a whole new world for us and it’s kind of exciting. And then just seeing the technology grow. It allows you to do so many things that you didn't think you would ever be able to do because you have the confidence, you have the answers right in front of you. It gives you such a boost of confidence that sometimes it takes a career to build that confidence. And by the time you've got it down, you don't have the energy to go do the work. So I feel like we're still young, and so to have that capability and have that support, you're just adding to your team. I feel like every site that's got a rover running around and grade control in machines, it's like adding extra staff to that project so you're able to take on more. We're in the mid-20s with guys out in the field, and I feel like we've got double the capability. You walk through stuff because there's an excavator guy who's just hogging dirt, but he's never over-excavating. He's just loading trucks. But he can just set a buffer and not go down close to the final grade. There were things in the past that it just wasn't possible. You had people running around checking grades all the time. And I'll tell you, when you're running a grade stick, even the best guys go up when they’re supposed to go down, and it can mess things up and create frustration. It's a whole lot of math every day in your head.

When we say it's different hard, it’s not necessarily easier. It’s a different hard. So a lot of work upfront, to get your project model, to get everything and go through everything, check it all, even encouraging our guys and our foreman to really walk through. If you’re setting instructions, you got to run through those numbers. You cannot trust that model completely, so it's a different hard. But once you're out there and you know you're good, you can just walk through the work. The productivity is unbelievable. When you take a dozer, you just cut side hills, two-grade on a 45-degree angle, you can’t go out there and check those grades. How do you do that? You need a total station or a surveyor to come out and put in stakes, and you just put it into the design, first pass. You go right down the grade, down here. Your machines are always running at full efficiency all the time because there's no loss, there’s no doubt in the operator’s mind if he's grading because he have to take more out, it’s just go right to grading, done.

So when you hear people complaining about the technology and saying you're not a "real" operator, I get a kick out of that.

Taylor White: Classic.

Brian Dietz: I absolutely love it because it just shows that they're not progressive and don't understand the value of technology. There are zero negative comments on social media about technology from owners. Zero. Not one. The only people that complain are people that feel threatened, that they’re replaceable because they haven't learned it or don't understand it. But from an owner or leader standpoint, from a productive foreman and crew leader, you want that technology. If you can afford it, if you can find a way to get it on those machines where it just pushes you to such another level so fast, and the learning curve isn't even huge. If you have a layout guy who's already doing layout, it's like handing him a cheat book. He's got all the cheat codes because it's all right there. It's pretty wild.

Taylor White: That is exciting. Oh, 100%, yeah. And that's what interests me for the future. But, Brian, I appreciate you coming on today, man, and chatting with us. I feel like we definitely have to do this again because there are topics I would love to cover with you. But I appreciate you coming on today, Brian.

Brian Dietz: Yeah, thanks for having me. It's fun talking with you.

Taylor White: This podcast is brought to you by our good friends over at Komatsu. Thank you very much, Brian, and we'll catch you guys later.

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