Just out of high school, Jason Guelig got a job washing equipment for a large energy pipeline company. After a year, he was traveling the country as a laborer on directional drilling jobs.
He returned home to Wisconsin and worked for a couple of years for an excavating company. Then he learned that the owner of a local excavating business was retiring. Guelig was turned down by the local banks until one finally gave him an $81,000 loan to buy a dump truck and backhoe from the retiring owner.
So began Jason Guelig Excavating. Since those early days of struggle in 2004, he has grown his business to 20 employees and 80 pieces of construction equipment, thanks to a strong work ethic, lots of energy and loyal customers. He’s also leveraged technology – new and old – to increase productivity. And he enjoys passing along his knowledge to younger generations to help guide their careers.
For those reasons and more, Guelig is one of 12 finalists for Equipment World’s 2021 Contractor of the Year Award.
After buying his first dump truck, Guelig began hauling.
“I started out trucking because that was the easiest line of work to get into with income coming in; so I sat in the truck myself,” he says. “If somebody called for a dump truck that day, I went and did it.”
He bought an old farmhouse to use for the business’ headquarters. The company grew gradually, and he began to hire workers. But with more work came more office duties, which he hates. So when the company got large enough, he hired an office manager to handle all of the billing, dispatch and other indoor duties.
“I cannot get Jason in the office,” says office manager Marie Pierquet and laughs. “He hates paperwork.”
But as much as he hates paperwork, he loves being out in the field. He can often be found in his pickup, which has more than 260,000 miles on it, traveling to all his jobsites every day.
“Around town here I might have six different jobs,” he says. “I just keep going around to them and making sure everything is running at 100%.”
He views his presence on the sites as important to making sure the company stays on track to meet customers’ needs. “I pride myself on holding a schedule,” he says. “If I tell you I’m going to be there, I’m going to be there. And if I tell you, it’s going to take two days, it’s going to take two days.”
That attitude has helped him build the company’s reputation and its customer base.
“His word is always good,” says Terah Bowe of Bowe Metal Fabrication. “We know that he’ll stand by his work and his company. And his work is always exceptional.”
Equipment WorldOne of the contributors to Guelig’s success is keeping a large fleet of equipment and making sure each sitework job has an …….