Utility Contractor

JUL-AUG 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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24 Utility Contractor | July/August 2018 F rom the time he was 10 years old, it was a foregone conclusion that Bret Barnhart would own a construction business. The only question was when it would happen. "My family has a rich history in the industry," said Barnhart. "About 80 years ago my great grandfather started an excavating business that used mules and slips to move dirt. My grandfather, uncle and dad all had construction businesses of their own. I grew up working for my dad, beginning with odd jobs around the shop when I was 10 and then running equipment as I got older. I knew before I graduated high school that this is what I wanted to do for my career." Barnhart noted that his family doesn't believe in passing businesses from one generation to the next, so he either had to continue working for his father and someday buy him out or go his own way. With a little help, in 2002 at the age of 18, he purchased a backhoe, truck and trailer and established Bret Barnhart Excavating, based in Mounds, Okla. "I started small, digging by the hour for plumbers, electricians or anyone who would hire me," Barnhart recalled. "My first job was as a sub to my dad's business, digging all the utility trenches for a new retirement facility in Tulsa. Within a year, I was basically sustainable and had a good-sized client list. Many of them referred me to other customers. Eventually, I bought a box blade, then a dozer as I steadily built Staking Out a Career Komatsu Equipment Helps Tulsa-Area Contractor Forge His Own Path Operator Eugene McNew moves a concrete structure with a Komatsu PC270LC excavator on a jobsite near downtown Tulsa. "The PC270 has good power, and it's big enough to handle just about anything we do," said McNew.

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