Contractor Sees Success Through Versatility

As many of its competitors in Colorado and Wyoming focus on one service, general contractor Duran Excavating Inc. utilizes its experience to offer clients a variety of capabilities. The Greeley, Colo.-based company performs demolition, earthwork and utility main work for government and municipal clients, as well as subcontracting its services to general contractors throughout Colorado.

"We've completed roadways for the city of Greeley, city of Fort Collins, town of Mead and the Colorado Department of Transportation," President Ellie Duran says. "We have constructed airport runways and taxiways for the Greeley/Weld County Airport and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, along with land reclamation for the Colorado Forest Service and infrastructure work for subdivisions.

"Duran Excavating has demolished large buildings for the city of Greeley and the city and county of Denver," he continues. "The demolition of the Chief Theatre was part of the renovation of downtown Greeley, which was an old landmark. We also completed the demolition and earthwork on the Denver Central Library. Demolition of a large structure was required prior to the mass excavating of the building for the new Denver Central Library."

"We're a very versatile company - we don't specialize in just one thing like earthwork or utilities. Many of our competitors are dirt contractors, utility contractors or demolition contractors, but we have the capability to do it all."

Duran formed the company with his brothers, Gary and Larry, more than 30 years ago as recent high school graduates. "When we first started the business, we did very small commercial projects and dug basements for residential housing," Ellie Duran explains. "We started out with one front-end loader and built the business from a single loader digging basements to what it is today. The experience we bring to the industry puts us above competitors."

Duran Excavating's experience spurs ample repeat business among its clients, which include the Colorado Department of Transportation and the cities of Fort Collins, Greeley, Evans, Windsor, Westminster, Longmont, Mead, Aurora and Lakewood. The company's portfolio includes projects exceeding $5 million, but it has the financial, bonding, equipment and personnel required to complete projects of up to $10 million.

Hard Work

Duran Excavating is applying its diverse experience on a school project at Jeffco Open Schools in Lakewood for GE Johnson Construction Co. The $600,000 contract calls for the installation of a 4- to 6-inch sanitary sewer system, installation of 18- to 30-inch storm system,site demolition of existing utilities and the demolition of a two-story wood framed brick building. The building is attached to an existing building, which is not being demolished and will require extensive hand demolition.

The company will demolish the school when the spring session is over in June, so Duran estimates the project will be complete in July 2010. "It's a project that fits us very well," he notes.

To stay busy during the economic downturn, Duran Excavating is relying on its relationships with large general contractors such as GE Johnson, M.A. Mortenson, Gerald H. Phipps and Hensel Phelps. "We try to build tighter relationships with many general contractors," Duran says.

The company is facing some challenges related to the economy, so it is stepping up its efforts to land jobs. While Duran Excavating used to bid 15 to 20 jobs to land three or four, the company now bids 100 and is "lucky to get two of them," Duran says. "I find that we're having to bid four times the work we used to, and our success rate is a lot lower. But we still go out there and bid everything from pipe work to roadwork."

In addition to increasing the number of bids, Duran Excavating is looking at a number of areas in which it can cut costs. "Our biggest challenge is the recession," Duran explains. "Overhead is at a bare minimum right now. We certainly try to be productive out there in the field on a daily basis."

Diverse Services

Duran Excavating offers a variety of services, including:

* General construction

* Land leveling and grading

* Road construction

* Commercial excavation

* Utility installation

* Airport runways

* Subdivision infrastructure

* Site grading and finishing

* Demolition

* Erosion control

* Bridge construction

In 2009, Duran Excavating was ranked 17th of the top-50 minority-owned companies and 132nd of the top 250 privately owned companies in Colorado by ColoradoBiz Magazine.