2 min read / May 28, 2020 / Staff Writer
Building and rebuilding stream channels, removing levees and closing ditches are all part of land restoration and rehabilitation. That’s all in a day’s work for Kim and Jim Erion, married owners of LKE Corp. Veterans of the land restoration and rehabilitation field, Kim is LKE’s owner, equipment operator and lead ecologist, and Jim is the operations manager for the Washougal, Washington, firm.
For the bulk of its projects, LKE Corp. serves as a general contractor for the Army Corps of Engineers, but the company also handles work for several additional agencies. LKE Corp. has been involved restoring and enhancing wetlands, improving water quality and rehabilitating or constructing new wildlife habitats for everything from fish to grizzly bears.
The company’s fleet consists of multiple Komatsu excavators, including a variety of tight-tail-swing models, a PC360, and an intelligent Machine Control (iMC) PC210LCi-11. The firm also recently added a D61PXi-24 iMC dozer and a GD655-6 motor grader.
“We bought our first Komatsu PC220 excavator in 1994 and followed it with another PC220, then a PC300, and Komatsu has remained a staple for us ever since,” said Jim. “The larger excavators give us versatility to move big rocks or logs as well as dig ditches. The tight-tail-swing excavators let us work in confined spaces without sacrificing power and eliminate the chance of hitting a tree or rock.
“I really like the GD655 because it’s the first motor grader we have had that allows me to grade uphill as well as downhill and on flatter roads,” he added. “That reduces the number of overall passes on jobs, such as smoothing out haul roads, which improves cycle times for our scrapers.
“The intelligent machines are great for getting to final contours faster with the built-in GPS. We appreciate that there are no masts or cables to hang up.”
According to Kim, a huge advantage of the Komatsu machines is the uptime. “We work in remote locations, so it’s essential to have equipment that gives us maximum production without breaking down. This is our niche, and we have to stay on the cutting edge to remain competitive,” she said.