R. B. Jergens
Bill Jergens, president of R. B. Jergens Contractors, Inc. has seen hundreds of construction projects since entering the industry in 1972. But he remains enthusiastic about large-scale, complex projects. His success, however, is linked to a non-wavering willingness to try new things—including Komatsu construction equipment. That brand was practically unknown in Ohio when Jergens purchased his first machine from Columbus Equipment Company in 1975.
Yet forty years later, the company recently took delivery of its 50th Komatsu excavator—a PC490LC. According to Bill Jergens, deciding to buy Komatsu excavators boils down to a few simple facts. “Those excavators have the lowest hourly ownership costs—this includes initial purchase, maintenance, and fuel. We prefer Komatsu excavators over any other brand for these reasons—and there’s more. While they are highly reliable, technological advances over the years have kept Komatsu a leader,” he notes.
Equipment Manager Jim Kurpiel piles on more praise, “Our Komatsu fleet includes everything from a basic PC35 up to a PC1100. We have great luck with Komatsu and generally don’t even look at other excavators. Why? Because Komatsu is on the forefront.”
“We like Komatsu’s fuel economy … and the machines are durable as a rock,” added Kurpiel. “Proving this point, our fleet still has a machine that we bought new in 1994. It may not be on the front line, but it’s still running strong. Plus, we have several 1999 units with 20,000 hours on them—and they’re still running strong!”
The PC228USLC is a company favorite. Jergens has 12. They are usually used on public, street-improvement projects because their ideal size allows them to negotiate tight spots, Kurpiel said.
Service is another factor fueling Jergens’ dedication to Komatsu and Columbus Equipment Company. “We use Columbus Equipment for parts, sales, and warranty work. If we need help, they’re right there for us. Their response is as good as you can get from any dealer in the country. They are super good people,” Jergens said. And he’s quick to distinguish Columbus Equipment’s Mike Early. “If we have a service issue—it’s resolved with just one call.”
Vice President Kevin Harshberger, P. E. manages Jergens’ specialized earthwork group that is thriving. He depends on Komatsu equipment to support this difficult market sector, which presents both continuous and unique challenges. “We are on the forefront of solving constructability problems needed to succeed at completing environmentally sensitive projects—many of which are extremely challenging, requiring specialized knowledge and skills,” Harshberger said. “We depend heavily on Komatsu excavators and support equipment to stay ahead of the pack.”
Vice President Vic Roberts, P. E. manages Jergens heavy highway work. “Komatsu is on every job that we have across the board. This equipment is involved in everything that we do, from environmental to heavy highway. And our truly talented shop mechanics team with Columbus Equipment to provide amazing job support.”
These are reasons that Bill Jergens has been a Columbus Equipment customer since the beginning. Over this time, Jergens has also developed a deep trust in Mike Early. Naturally, the two have become close friends. “We have a trust that you don’t usually get between an owner and a salesman. Mike is very straightforward and I trust his recommendations. In fact, he will even recommend that I not buy certain things,” Jergens said.
Roberts is quick to punctuate this point. He respects Early for his honesty too. “We enjoy a special trust here. Mike puts his relationship with Bill above the possibility of collecting on a sale,” he said.
So what does the future hold? “My son, Andrew, is currently the company’s secretary,” Jergens explained. “He’s learning and developing his own management style. Andrew, along with many of our younger job supervisors, are working their way up. We promote from inside of the company and it has worked out very well for us. We have a bright, new generation of good people that mesh well with our current, corporate management. Along with our current senior management, Andrew and our younger supervisors are the future of our company.”
Finally, asked about his company’s reputation, Jergens said modestly, “We have a good reputation as a reliable family-owned business that provides a very high level of service and has been around seemingly forever.” With the company’s ability to handle large, complex projects—and its willingness to develop new expertise,—R. B. Jergens is ready for the future.