Komatsu Helps Developer Tame Rough Terrain with Powerful Equipment, Customer Service

Reported by Kevin Crampsie, Komatsu America Corp.

The powerful dozing and ripping force of the D475A has cut Gilbert Development Corporation’s blasting budget by one-third.

Part of Gilbert Development’s Komatsu fleet works together on a land development project near St. George.

Komatsu’s equipment and service keeps Gilbert Development right on schedule.

(From left to right) Mr. Dale Gilbert, vice president; Mr. Steve Gilbert, president; and Mr. Keith Gilbert, site foreman.

Gilbert Development purchased this D65 bulldozer with a fully automated Topcon system at Komatsu Field Days 2006.
In the desert of the American west, wildlife either adapts to its environment or it dies. The same can be said for the region’s land development industry. New ways to develop hard terrain—sandstone, lava rock and basalt—had to be learned once the easily developed land was taken. As a result, contractors are facing great challenges.

Mr. Steve Gilbert, president of U.S.-based Gilbert Development Corporation of St. George, Utah, evolved with the changes, and now leads the industry today with advanced land development practices. But when his main supplier no longer provided the service and equipment his company needed, he turned to Komatsu and distributor Komatsu Equipment Company (KEC) to service and supply most of his machines.

“Komatsu has gone out of their way to make equipment available when we need it,” says Mr. Dale S. Gilbert, vice president of Gilbert Development. “KEC’s Jim Slade and Trent Baxendale have gone out of their way to make things happen. The other thing we’ve found out is that Komatsu equipment is very good equipment.”

Regional Support for World-class Machines

The fast-growing outpost of St. George is hours away from any major city. Gilbert Development’s previous dealer did not have enough regional support to provide adequate service, parts and equipment. KEC was able to fill the service void thanks to cooperation between branches in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Komatsu’s Las Vegas parts depot, which is one of several strategically placed parts depots throughout the U.S. aside from the master parts center in Ripley, Tennessee, also expedites parts delivery to St. George.

“I drive out to a job site and there are Komatsu mechanics and Komatsu service trucks working on another manufacturer’s equipment,” says Mr. Steve Gilbert. “I ask my grandson Keith (site foreman): ‘What is this?’ And he tells me they (the other manufacturer) can’t get us a mechanic. They’ll get to us in two to three weeks. Then we call Komatsu, and they immediately say ‘How many mechanics do you need?’”

Reliable Business Partner Soon Available Right Next Door

In late 2006, KEC will open a full-service branch in St. George inside the new headquarters for Gilbert Development to better serve the company and other developers in the area.

Gilbert Development’s fleet carries 12 pieces of Komatsu equipment. Machines include a D475A bulldozer/ripper that has cut the company’s blasting budget by one-third, a new D65 bulldozer with a fully automated Topcon system for improved grading and finishing, and a PC750LC hydraulic excavator that has helped Gilbert Development reduce utility trenching costs in areas where blasting is prohibited. Gilbert Development also benefits from a fleet of four HM400 articulated dump trucks and will take delivery of the first PC800LC hydraulic excavator with a removable counterweight later this year.

As Messrs. Steve, Dale and Keith Gilbert look at new ways to expand the business, they take comfort in knowing they’ll have a reliable business partner right next door.

“We do a lot of business,” explains Mr. Dale Gilbert. “Downtime is costly, and we have to be able to keep things running; we need to have parts and we need to have service. Komatsu, working hand-in-hand with the different branches in the region, keeps us running.”