A Growing Resource for Excavation and Site Development
“Big John” Hancock went into business for himself in 2003, doing landscaping and driveway work in the Portland, TN area. The next year, he partnered with Charles Collins, who was active in subdivision work. “We first got together by helping each other out with residential footer, septic, and utility projects,” Hancock recalls. “We formalized the partnership in 2012, and K-TEC (Kentucky Tennessee Excavating and Construction LLC) was established in 2014.”
Since then, the company has grown by “leaps and bounds,” Hancock reports. “Especially in the last year, we’ve had a lot of growth. These days we are concentrating more on commercial work and less on residential projects. We’ve been fortunate to develop strong relationships with several major contractors.”
Hancock was born in Smith’s Grove, Kentucky. He moved to Millington, Tennessee as a child, and then to Portland – where he attended high school – in 1994. “I got my start doing welding work, something I really enjoyed and still do,” he comments. “I worked for a fence company for a couple of years and worked for my mom’s business for a while. But I wanted to go out on my own, so I bought a used skid steer loader from a friend and took over his yard and landscaping jobs.
K-TEC now averages 12 employees, including two dump truck drivers; the company works primarily within a 100-mile-radius of its Portland offices, although they do some work in Kentucky as well. The site development side of the business is active with storm drain and structure, utility, and erosion control projects. The excavating operation specializes in moving large quantities of earth and rock, working with both private and commercial clients.
TACKLING BIG COMMERCIAL PROJECTS IN NASHVILLE
One of K-TEC’s biggest projects to date is Illume – a five-story, 75-unit condominium development adjacent to The Gulch – Nashville’s premier urban neighborhood. On this job, the company did demolition (tearing down an old building), rock removal, and site work.
“Illume required two months of busting rock and a lot of additional things,” Hancock comments. “This was our first really big project since we began to focus on commercial work. The project included demolishing a 10,000 square-foot steel and concrete block building, which had to be accomplished in a strictly limited time frame.”
He adds that another Nashville project will soon rank as their new biggest project – an old private school is being turned into condos, and K-TEC is building pads and doing utility and drainage work. “There’s a lot of demolition work and new growth in Nashville,” Hancock states. “We are currently working on projects in Portland and Gallatin, as well.”
K-TEC VALUES CAT RELIABILITY AND THOMPSON SUPPORT
Hancock bought his first Cat machine in 2017; today his fleet is primarily Cat equipment, including two 289D compact track loaders, 305.5E2 and 308E2 CR excavators, and a 963 track loader. He is currently looking to purchase another Cat machine, and also rents equipment from Thompson as needed to augment his fleet for specific jobs. Hancock reports that his Cat machines are all used every day.
“In deciding to purchase Cat, I knew we would need larger equipment to go into commercial work,” he explains. “The question was what manufacturer we could standardize on for the long term, for a variety of machines that were all reliable and for which we’d get long-term support. Cat resale value and Thompson parts are a lot better than most. Using Cat equipment helps our reputation, and my guys love how the Cat machines operate.”
“Thompson does all of our servicing – they always know what’s going on with our equipment, and they always inspect them thoroughly. And they have a good inventory of in-stock parts, even for older machines like my 963.”
K-TEC has built a strong reputation in middle Tennessee by bringing the right equipment with the proper manpower to get the job done, and by working smartly and efficiently to get the maximum production from every day. Hancock says, “I’m always big on treating people the way I want to be treated. This is something I was taught when I was young – when you tell a man something, you do it. And to me, handshakes are as good as anything – the complexity of paperwork today seems ridiculous.
Asked about his plans for the future, he adds, “I want to keep growing; that’s what I need to be content.”