Here’s a reprint of our article from the September 2018 issue of TEC Tractor Times
Brad Cox, President, and CEO of Magnum Contracting, LLC, grew up on his family’s farm in rural Indiana. After finishing high school, he moved to Atlanta and began working for a local construction contractor. By the turn of the century, Cox had the confidence to branch out on his own.
“I would put every bullet point down the side of the truck that I could,” joked Cox. “From grading backyards to changing doorknobs, I did whatever it took to pay the bills. One thing led to another, and the business started to grow.”
Still new to the construction industry, Cox applied the work ethic he learned growing up in Indiana to his business.
“I would treat customers in the same fashion that my grandfather taught me on the farm,” recalled Cox. “If you tell someone you’re going to do something, you do it. By combining heart, passion, and commitment, I was able to find success.”
In 2002, Cox founded Magnum Contracting in Kennesaw, Ga., and began focusing on grading and utility work. By 2009, his firm had expanded significantly. However, the recession taught Cox a lesson he will always remember.
“I was a dirt guy, a tractor-loving farm kid who stumbled into some success,” stated ox. “After the recession, I realized I needed to be a business guy, otherwise I wouldn’t have a company to run. I introduced a strict budget and began implementing industry-leading technology as a way to manage the firm.”
Today, Magnum Contracting ahs nearly 100 employees and operates throughout the northern Atlanta suburbs. Its work is split between mass grading, ranging from 100,000 to 500,000 cubic yards of material, and underground utility installation for residential developments.
Technology on the Jobsite
The introduction of the Komatsu intelligent Machine Control equipment in the last half-decade has played a significant role in keeping Cox’s firm competitive in the industry.
“The iMC machines create tremendous production efficiency,” explained Co. “Their grading precision is on another level. They can also provide consistent and easily trackable data that help us keep in line with our budget.”
The firm is currently working on a 35-acre housing development in Kennesaw for Century Communities called Ridgeview Heights. The site consists of 100 homes and two ponds. Magnum Contracting will install the underground utilities, remove more than 150,000 cubic yards of Georgia clay and create terraced platforms for the properties.
To help with the project, Cox recently introduced two drones to complement his intelligent Machine Control equipment. With a full-time drone operator, the company has gained valuable insight that helps reduce expenses and increase efficiency.
“We use the drones to supply the best and most reliable data for our operators,” noted John Downing, GPS Manager. “The drones provide a variety of information such as how much pipe we’ve laid, how much water has been put in, and existing soil conditions.”
Daily job site flyovers provide Downing with up-to-the-minute data to create a topographical 3-D map of the terrain. He can then use that information to adjust the models fed into the intelligent Machine Control equipment.
“We’re able to make corrections before we have a work crew scratching their heads,” explained Downing. “We caught an issue with the entrance elevation that we would have otherwise missed. It’s easy to make small adjustments before they can become larger impacts.”
The integrated technology also reduces job site hazards, something Cox takes seriously.
“There’s a huge safety aspect that we can start to build into our models,” said Cox. “If there are any underground utilities running through our excavation path, we can box them out. The operator cannot physically dig there. I can also keep our ditch person out of the ditch until he is ready to install pipes. We can eliminate a lot of the risks associated with having people near machines.”
With 11 pieces of intelligent Machine Control equipment in his fleet, Cox hopes to find new ways to integrate technology into his job sites.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the article. Be sure to visit Tec1943.com