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Brubacher Excavating, Inc. Celebrates 50 Years: Where It All Began

  • September 1968 - Ben digging out for a house basement while operating his father's Cat 955H at age 19. Fivepointville, PA.

  • May 1971 - First job at Gordonville. Cat 955K Ben operated for his father Jesse, logging the first 8,000 hours on it without a breakdown.

  • February 1972 - Ben's first lowboy and pick-up.

  • February 1972 - The first lowboy tractor, a White.

  • October 1972 - Ben introducing oldest son, Keith, to office work at 5 months old.

  • The first 'Brubacher-ized' lowboy tractor, a Brockway.

  • June 1978 - First John Deere 510 backhoe.

  • October 1983 - Installing pipe in the roadway with a John Deere 690B, long before zero-tail-swing excavators.

  • Early 1980’s - John Deere 690B & Ford Louisville dump truck.

  • Early 1980's - Placing stone for a new roadway with Brubacher's 'stone box' to prevent segregation of the stone material.

  • Early 1980's - Preparing for patch paving.

  • Patsy Davis, Secretary at Brubacher from the 1980's - 2000's photographed here in the first office.

  • Mel Fox operates the first Cat 120G grader in the Brubacher fleet, grading a road widening in the mid-1980's.

  • June 1996 - Installing 84" RCP with Brubacher's first Komatsu PC400 excavator.

The Brubacher story started on a farm in Brecknock Township, Lancaster County with a 15-year-old farm boy and his passion for working with dirt.

Ben Brubacher discovered his love for operating equipment when his father purchased a CAT D4 Dozer. At 15, it was Ben’s full-time job to work on the farm and use the dozer to plow his family’s fields, do custom plowing for neighbors, grade fields, remove stumps and bury fencerows.

Word quickly spread through the community that Ben’s skills with the dozer were improving. So, job requests grew, he gained experience and discovered his love of earthmoving and equipment while operating his dad’s equipment. Once his father bought a Cat track loader, Ben added ‘loader operator’ to his list of rapidly growing skills.

After a few years, Ben decided it was time to leave the farm. During the Vietnam war, he served two years in civilian service as a conscientious objector, which took him to Portland, Maine. On his days off, Ben worked for a demolition contractor where he gained even more experience. This time away reinforced the fact that he wanted to stop working on the farm and begin operating equipment full-time.

When he moved back home, the first machine Ben bought with his own and borrowed money was a brand-new John Deere 310 Backhoe. He hired an operator to run it while still working for his father. He also used the backhoe to perform work his father’s equipment couldn’t do.

Demand for residential and agricultural work eventually grew in the area. To meet this demand, Ben purchased more machines and began hiring people. This growth led to Ben managing his own business and helping his father on the farm on occasion. During these early years, Brubacher was performing agricultural projects, as well as excavating for new homes, sewer systems, driveways, waterways, and land clearing.

For Ben Brubacher, it wasn’t about building a big company. He simply wanted to earn money to pay the bills and do good work at a reasonable price. But the ebb and flow of a growing business wasn’t an easy process. It was challenging to convince banks to give a man with an eighth-grade education and no budgeting plan major loans to expand the business. As Ben proved he was worthy of their investments, he built a shop and office, hired more operators, mechanics, and purchased major earthmoving equipment.

It wasn’t just the bankers who were convinced of the expanding Brubacher team’s capabilities. Quality work performed during the week was acknowledged amongst church members by Sunday, and they told others. Ben never looked at any job as too big.  When the demand exceeded the company’s capacity, he’d hire more people and buy more equipment. Operating in a very different environment today, the Brubacher HR team works closely with Operations to build a retention and recruiting plan long in advance of growth plans or major projects.

Never one to be accused of being patient, Ben noticed opportunities to improve schedules, job coordination and profitability by self-performing more work. This led Ben to add new services and crews.

  • Drilling and blasting operation (mid-1980’s through present)
  • Landscaping and Hydro-seeding (1990-2015)
  • Environmental and UST Removal (1990’s)
  • Land Clearing (1994 through present)
  • Concrete curbing (1997-2009)
  • Paving (2000 through present)
  • Crushing and Screening (2004-2008)

Valuing people and relationships first at Brubacher was established from the start. Ben and his team made every person feel their job was the most important and they always kept their word. Taking care of people first and worrying about the money later is a mission that rings true throughout Brubacher today.