Brian Slusarski got into the excavating business as soon as he was old enough to go onto a jobsite. He has learned a lot about construction machinery since his father, Walt, founded Slusarski Excavating in 1978. It all came together recently when the Slusarskis took their new Volvo G726B grader out to a road construction site and broke all company records for a single day’s production putting down limestone.
Brian is the general manager of the Slusarski business but, even with 40 people on staff, he does much of the grading work himself. Walt also is still active as president of the firm. The company specializes in site preparation jobs including underground, subdivision and street work for contractors as well as municipal road reconstruction—everything from stripping top soil to site balancing and roadbuilding.
A couple of years ago, Brian was approached by Tim Bobich of Contractors Machinery (acquired by Wolverine Tractor & Equipment Co. in late 2004), the local dealer for Volvo Construction Equipment, who believed that Volvo motor graders would be a good fit with the Slusarski fleet. The firm was already running Volvo wheel loaders, so Brian agreed to demo a Cummins-powered G736 VHP grader.
A year later, business was growing again and it was clearly time to replace the one grader in the fleet—a 20-year-old Champion 740. Brian needed a new machine right away for a roadbuilding project and he saw this as a chance to demo a Volvo G726B all-wheel-drive machine. Jim Farrish remembered, “Our dealer didn’t have that model available to demo at the time. Slusarski is just a few hours from our manufacturing facility, but the factory demo unit was already out on another site. We love to get units out on demonstration but, with our prior commitments, we just needed a few weeks to get a machine for him.”
Mighty fine grading
The Slusarskis decided to go ahead with the project by renting a machine from another equipment vendor. But it seemed the job was cursed, the front-wheel drive on the rented grader broke down just a few weeks later. According to Jim Farrish, “The other grader operator on the site really liked the competitor’s machines but, since the customer had to wait for repairs, we took the opportunity to get the G726B down to the jobsite.” The new Volvo model had gone through some changes since the original demo. The first thing that caught Brian’s attention was the new power unit. Brian had the engine he wanted, and he was pleased to see it actually provided 40 hp more than the G736 from the year before.
The proof came on another big project this winter. The new grader allowed Slusarski to set a new company benchmark for putting down limestone in one day. The job was fed by 47 gravel trains hauling in 147 loads. “At one time, I could see 15 trucks on the road dumping the gravel and the grader kept up. Even the trucking company was out there taking pictures.”