Site contractor runs Deere compacts at Mount Vernon and on other Washington, D.C.-area projects
George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation estate is one of America’s most iconic historic sites. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, Mount Vernon welcomes an average of one million people every year. Visitors to this National Historic Landmark come to see Washington’s 18th-century home and other original structures, lush gardens, and museums. The 500 acres of this historic property are painstakingly preserved, the kind of work well-suited to compact equipment.
“Mount Vernon is an important part of the whole history of our area,” says Gary Wolfrey, supervisor, AllSite Contracting. The company is working on a huge driveway on the property and also installing 24-in. pipe for stormwater runoff. “There’s not enough room to bring anything big out there, so we use John Deere skid steers and compact excavators. You can use those machines just about anywhere.”
Based out of Manassas, Virginia — not far from another iconic site, Manassas National Battlefield Park, where the first battle of the Civil War took place — AllSite provides a full range of site-preparation services to home builders, general contractors, and property managers. Compact equipment is a critical weapon in its arsenal. The company owns 20 John Deere skid steers, five compact excavators, and a 325G Compact Track Loader (CTL).
“All of our John Deere compact machines work every day,” says Wolfrey. “It’s not just that they’re small and can get into tight places. They’re easy to run and have the power to do what we need to do. And they never stay idle. If they’re needed elsewhere, they are easy to trailer and move to another job.”
AllSite’s mission statement is to “promise only what you can deliver, then deliver more than you promise.” Wolfrey lives by that credo. “I’m really passionate about getting up every day and doing an honest day’s work. We’re a standup company that provides a good service and does right by people.”
Wolfrey joined the company 13 years ago as it was transitioning from erosion-control work and small site jobs to larger full-service site-development jobs. Today the company’s projects range from large commercial projects and condominium developments for national builders in the Washington, D.C., area to smaller one-off residential jobs. “We’re a one-stop shop,” he says. “You don’t have to call another company.”
At a middle school in Chantilly, Virginia, a 35G Compact Excavator and the 325G CTL work alongside a larger John Deere excavator and dozer, preparing the site for wet and dry utilities, curbs, gutters, and asphalt. Wolfrey directs the action, then gives a rundown of the company’s boots on the ground. “On any given day, our crews are on around 20 to 25 sites. On larger jobs, we might have 10 to 15 guys working a combination of compact and large John Deere equipment. On small residential jobs, each crew has two or three guys, and each one of them has a Deere CTL, skid steer, or mini ex with them when they leave the yard.”
John Deere compact equipment is used for installing driveways, dirt work and backfilling around homes and foundations, and a multitude of other tasks. “Pretty much anything we use a large machine for, we run a compact. They get the job done.”
Site foreman Devin Yankey went to work for AllSite around the same time as Wolfrey, taking a job as a machine operator 14 years ago upon graduating college. “I grew up on a farm with John Deere ag equipment and skid steers,” he says. “So that’s what I like to do — play in the dirt.”
AllSite has been running John Deere compact machines from the word go. “A major advantage is their speed and versatility. We can get in and out quickly and efficiently without tearing things up. Large machines often need an access road, but compacts can traverse virtually any terrain and make it happen. They go everywhere we go, from small sites to large. And they do just about everything we ask them to, from little tasks to big. I don’t think we could survive without them.”
Yankey checks in with a crew at a jobsite near the company’s office — a parking lot and car-wash expansion for a car dealership in Sterling, Virginia. “This site was pretty much an open field,” he says. “We’ve taken it all the way from beginning to end, from getting the site on grade to utilities, sewer, and water, to finished asphalt and concrete.”
As a 35G Compact Excavator and the 325G CTL help shuttle materials and handle other miscellaneous tasks, Yankey reflects on the machines’ rugged durability. “The biggest thing about Deere equipment is its reliability. These machines work in ground conditions ranging from sandy soil to hard rock, and in temperatures from below zero in winter to 100-deg. heat during the summer. They have held up to everything we’ve put them through. We check the fluids, fire them up, and go to work.”
AllSite has maintenance contracts and extended warranties on many of its new machines through its local John Deere dealer, James River Equipment. “We never have to wait long for their technicians to perform scheduled maintenance. They show up with everything they need and they’re done. It really cuts down on downtime. Plus extended warranties give us peace of mind should we have any problems.”
Yankey has known his dealer contact, Clay Campbell, for going on 15 years. “He’s got us covered, from the day we purchase the machine to the day we sell it. He really takes care of us to the fullest. John Deere and James River Equipment have grown with us, providing everything we’ve needed.”
As the greater D.C. area continues to grow, so too will AllSite, believes Yankey. “The future looks good. I foresee a lot more projects with a lot of Deere machines on them.”