343 episodes

Perspectives from construction business owners, heavy construction equipment experts and construction technology providers.

CONEXPO – CON/AGG Podcast: Construction Business Insights For Contractors CONEXPO-CON/AGG

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 24 Ratings

Perspectives from construction business owners, heavy construction equipment experts and construction technology providers.

    Global Operator Challenge Finalist John Schiedeck Joins the Podcast!

    Global Operator Challenge Finalist John Schiedeck Joins the Podcast!

    Living the Owner-Operator Life with John Schiedeck

    Joining Taylor on this episode is the world’s best operator (in our opinion) and CEO of Schiedeck Construction, John Schiedeck. John’s been in the construction industry for almost seventeen years and has worked as an owner-operator for the last six. He opens the episode with an overview of his history in the job, from growing up around the industry to racking up the hours with his blade before finally striking out on his own (with help from his wife!). Then, he speaks about some of the challenges involved in being an owner-operator and what sets him apart from his competitors, including his perfectionist tendencies and willingness to take calculated risks. And John also discusses some of the other machinery he owns and the projects he’s currently working on, including some “pretty oddball stuff” for Elon Musk’s companies.
    Next, Taylor asks about John’s success in operator challenges, with a new bout coming up on the first day of CONEXPO. John admits that he didn’t initially want to sign up but was convinced by scores of messages from his social media followers, only to find that his years of experience had given him the skills to win, before sharing some stories of how he developed those skills. He and Taylor then discuss whether being born into the industry and having it in your blood makes you a better operator, as well as their pride in passing their skills down to their kids. John then gives his opinion on GPS and technology on the job site, including his experience with Trimble, how GPS is a valuable tool in the hands of a skilled operator, and the changes he’s seen in technology over his career. And finally, John closes the show by sharing what he’s looking forward to at the CONEXPO show coming up in March, including the chance to get a look at the new technology and machinery being showcased.

    The Finer Details of This Episode:

    The challenges of being an owner-operator

    Working large-scale, big-name jobs

    Operator challenges and having skill in your blood

    The benefits of GPS and technology on the job site

    What John’s looking forward to at CONEXPO


    “I was in the seat, couldn’t even sit in it, just reaching the pedals standing against the seat. And I knew that’s what I wanted to do from day one. You know, when you’re a kid, everyone asked you, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ and my three answers were drive trains, fly planes, and drive tractors.”
    “I actually do a lot of work for some of Elon Musk’s companies that are here. I picked some of that up. They keep me pretty busy doing oddball stuff. We did a big turn lane for off one of the main highways out here for one of their facilities because they’re blocking all the traffic with their deliveries coming in.”
    “When you start getting down to the nitty-gritty, you’ve got to have that blade on the ground and know, hey, there’s still quite a bit of cut over here. And then know where your fields are at, and just driving around is the only way to figure that out.”
    “Everything at CONEXPO is just amazing. If you have any kind of interest in this industry, it's really awesome to check out.”


    Taylor White on LinkedIn

    Earth Movers Magazine

    To learn more about the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show and to register, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience

    Komatsu Homepage

    Schiedeck Construction Inc.

    • 44 min
    Building a Rock-Solid Business and Reputation with Ryan Goodfellow

    Building a Rock-Solid Business and Reputation with Ryan Goodfellow

    Building a Rock-Solid Business and Reputation with Ryan Goodfellow

    In this episode of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG podcast, Ryan Goodfellow from Rock Structures joins Taylor to share his background in the heavy equipment industry, including his experience with the CONEXPO show, starting his own business, and the challenges and lessons he has learned along the way. Throughout the episode, Goodfellow emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurship, hard work, and learning from mistakes in order to succeed in the business world. 
    Ryan goes on to discuss the evolution of his business, how he got into unique projects such as rock walls and Armstrong walls, as well as the importance of building a strong reputation and the role that reputation plays in attracting new business. [p’He also shares his approach to leadership and team management, including the importance of setting high standards for his employees and maintaining a positive company culture. Goodfellow also discusses the role that technology and efficiency play in his business, including the different types of equipment he uses and how they help him and his team work more efficiently. In drawing the episode to a close, Taylor’s very special guest highlights the importance of being upbeat and maintaining good relationships with employees, and he shares some strategies for handling conflicts and maintaining good communication on the job site.

    The Finer Details of This Episode:

    Ryan’s father and his transportation business

    Ryan’s history with CONEXPO

    The story of how he started and built his own business, Rock Structures

    Mistakes made and lessons learned 

    The importance of taking risks and learning from mistakes

    The evolution of Ryan’s business  to the work it does now

    Building a good reputation 

    Responding to market conditions

    The role that technology plays in his business

    Managing his team and maintaining a positive company culture

    The challenges of managing a team in the construction industry

    Strategies for maintaining a positive company culture

    The role that transparency and open communication play in his team management strategy

    The roles that Ryan and his wife assume within their business 


    "I was the young, dumb, punk kid, and I was okay being that way because, you know, we're all young and dumb and punks at one point in life."
    "So I went out on my own. So that was back in 97. So I was 21, almost 22 when I started. So I was pretty young, and, man, I had the world by its tail, you know."
    "I think one of the biggest things that I've learned is that you're not going to learn anything if you're not making mistakes."
    "The good contractors will remain and stay busy because there's always going to be something for them to do."
    "Our niche is pretty much basement digs, backfills, and then all the rock work that goes along with the house."
    "We got pretty big and then the economy tanked and we slowed right down and we got rid of a lot of people and we went back to just being small again."
    "And it's one of those things where, like, if you're on the clock, you're doing something."
    "Something is better than nothing."
    "I'm getting to where I don't like to run a hoe anymore because I'm pulled in so many different directions that I don't have time if I get into a machine, it's one of those things that I don't have time, and so it's not good for my customer."


    Taylor White on LinkedIn
    To learn more about the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show and to register, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience
    Komatsu Homepage
    Rock Structures

    • 46 min
    Setting Your Construction Business Apart from the Rest with Jimmy Starbuck

    Setting Your Construction Business Apart from the Rest with Jimmy Starbuck

    Setting Your Construction Business Apart from the Rest with Jimmy Starbuck

    Taylor’s guest today is Jimmy Starbuck, owner of Starbuck Excavation and a familiar face on social media. Jimmy dives right into his work with mass grading and trucking, talking through the services his company offers and the details of running his business. He then shares how he got where he is today, from learning to drive machines in the family company, to going into business for himself at nineteen, to carving out his place as a leader and organizer. He and Taylor also discuss why smart guys don’t always come out on top, the importance of being a hard worker, and why neither of them is an “office guy.”
    Next, Jimmy discusses the chaos that comes with his job, from waiting for 50,000 meters of mud to dry out, to pre-Christmas emergency calls, and the Boxing Day job he’s got lined up this year. Taylor then asks Jimmy about his experiences at CONEXPO, and Jimmy highlights its importance for keeping up to date with new products and building relationships with brands and colleagues. He then switches gears to discuss the current challenges in doing business and reminds us that people have gone through such crises before and survived and that by doing a good job, spending money wisely, and employing good people, your business can be fairly recession-proof. And finally, he and Taylor discuss the impact of fuel shortages, and Jimmy gives his opinion on why DEF isn’t fit for purpose.

    The Finer Details of This Episode:

    Mass grading and trucking

    Working harder, not smarter

    Why Jimmy’s not an office guy

    Relationship-building at CONEXPO

    Fuel shortages and why DEF isn’t fit for purpose


    “It’s the same worldwide, there’s no availability of parts, there’s no availability of drivers, fuel’s expensive, AdBlue’s ridiculous, and then you just run through all of these issues. But it’s the same everywhere—you pay the boys well, you pay on time, you give consistent and constant work… slowly, but surely, they come.”
    “At the end of the day, if you’re not working hard, and you’re still lying in bed and watching cartoons on a Saturday morning, the person who might not be as intelligent or might not understand as much or might not have the training or the whatever you might say, they’re gonna overtake you and leave you for dead.”
    “Inflation, recession, price-changing, material shortages, you name it, people have dealt with it in one way or another for the entire time that businesses have been around. There was a banker with his head in his hands a thousand years ago, saying the Crusades are screwing up my accounting, you know?”
    “I do not want AdBlue. “Don’t isolate it when it’s purging. Make sure the tank’s full. Don’t use the old drum, only buy new drums. Make sure you clean the dirt out. And again, make sure the wind’s blowing from the west, and there’s a rainbow, and then a unicorn runs past, and then you can shill it.” It’s too much of a sensitive product to be used in the environment that we have. It’s not fit for purpose.”


    Taylor White on LinkedIn
    To learn more about the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show and to register, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience
    Komatsu Homepage

    • 47 min
    Next Generation of the Construction Workforce is Here

    Next Generation of the Construction Workforce is Here

    Advocating for Everybody in Construction with Alexandra Smith
    On today’s episode of CONEXPO, Taylor is joined by Alexandra Smith, aka Al the Little Operator, who runs equipment, installs septic systems, and shares Taylor’s love of wastewater treatment. Alexandra kicks off the episode by discussing what her job involves as a newly self-employed worker, her ambitions to learn septic design, and her background growing up in the construction industry. She and Taylor also get into some of the specifics of septic systems and the importance of standing your ground and maintaining your integrity rather than taking shortcuts just to maximize profit.
    Next, Taylor asks Alexandra where she sees herself going in the industry, and she explains that she has a decision to make in the future about returning and taking over the family business. However, she says that her main priority is to stay in the field without getting sucked into the six-days-a-week, twelve-hours-a-day pressure that many industry workers fall prey to. She also wants to use her social media presence to encourage healthier lifestyles and a return to focusing on what’s important in life, inside and outside the job. Alexandra then discusses what it’s like for women in construction, how she tries to let girls know there’s space for normal girls in the industry, and how she avoids scrutiny as a woman by keeping her content focused on her work. She also shares some of the equipment she loves to work with (and some she doesn’t!) and how a shared love of equipment is a huge part of her relationship with her dad. And finally, Alexandra tells us what she’ll be speaking about at CONEXPO before closing the episode by emphasizing that while it’s important for her to advocate for women in the industry, she also wants to make life better for everybody in construction by encouraging new ways of conducting and organizing business, so people have more freedom.

    The Finer Details of This Episode:

    Alexandra’s background

    The specifics of septics

    Dealing with difficult homeowners

    Ensuring perfection and maintaining integrity

    Setting up for a better future

    Being a woman in construction and on social media

    Alexandra’s favorite equipment

    What Alexandra will be speaking about at CONEXPO

    Advocating for everybody in the industry

    “I like the process. I like knowing that this is what I’ve got to do, in and out. I enjoy the labor and the machine work combination.”
    “What happened to doing work because it makes you happy and being okay with making plenty but not overkilling?”
    “I’m not the type of person where I’m a tomboy, but I’m not really girly, either. I’m kind of all these things, and I’m trying to balance them into one person and to make sure that I can put out a good example and an accurate representation of who I am. And just let girls know, they can just be a normal girl in the construction industry.”
    “I couldn’t imagine my life not running equipment and not working with my dad. It’s great, I’m really lucky.”
    “We definitely got to try some new ways of conducting business and expectations for workers and try to find ways that maybe we can organize business, so people have more freedom, and it still runs effectively, if that makes sense.”

    Taylor White on LinkedIn
    Earth Movers Magazine
    Al The Little Operator on Instagram
    Alexandra Smith on LinkedIn
    To learn more about the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show and to register, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience
    Komatsu Homepage

    • 56 min
    Getting Ahead of the Trends in Construction with Luke Payne and Luke Eggebraaten

    Getting Ahead of the Trends in Construction with Luke Payne and Luke Eggebraaten

    Taylor welcomes Luke Eggebraaten and Luke Payne, both successful business owners within the construction industry. Luke E is the Founder & Managing Partner of Phaser Marketing, which is a digital marketing agency for construction companies. Luke P, on the other hand, is the owner of the construction businesses: Black Iron Dirt & Demolition & Western Excavation LLC. They both share a passion for the “dirt world,” and they work and grow together with every mutual project.
    Tune into this episode to hear all about this perfectly complementary partnership. What started out as a close friendship grew to become a strong partnership. And as both Luke E and Luke P say, the goal has always been to grow together, bring people together, and play off each other’s weaknesses. With so many successful years in the field, they’re now committed to sharing their wealth of knowledge with the construction world. In this episode, they share a lot of golden tips for construction companies looking to expand their online presence and build a bulletproof business so if you’re one of them, make sure you join Luke E, Luke P, and Taylor for this enlightening conversation.


    The beginning of a beautiful partnership

    Niching down and becoming an industry expert

    Deciding when to purchase new equipment

    Improving cash flow

    Careers in construction

    The importance of a digital presence

    Building a sustainable and strong business


    “It's one of those business partnerships where we kind of just set the money aside, and we say, ‘Okay, let's get to work.’ Everything is like we're growing together.”

    “Your website is your gatekeeper. If someone wants to know more about you, they're going to Google you. And the more powerful you are on that site, I feel like it establishes more of the trust.”

    “People are hungry to learn, they're willing to pay for it, and we're seeing that firsthand.”

    “If you want to work, construction is a great industry to go into because you have to work to make it happen.”

    “It's a lot about the technology, and it's a lot about what's new because, again, with the construction industry, you have to adapt to survive.”

    “Bad times do come, and bad times do happen. So how can we try and set you up best to pivot or to make the most out of these situations?”


    Taylor White on LinkedIn

    Black Iron Dirt and Demolition

    Western Excavation

    Phaser Marketing

    Dirt Bags Podcast

    Turf Wars Racing

    Luke Eggebraaten on LinkedIn

    Luke Payne on LinkedIn

    To learn more about the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show and to register, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience

    • 49 min
    Building a Construction Empire Grounded in Community with Jeff Cavanagh

    Building a Construction Empire Grounded in Community with Jeff Cavanagh

    Taylor welcomes construction veteran and legend, Jeff Cavanagh, to the podcast to talk about the history of his family firm, Thomas Cavanagh Construction, the importance of building vibrant communities, and investing and trusting in the right people. The pair open the episode by discussing Cavanagh’s company history and familiarity with vertical integration. Since the late 20th century, the firm has done nothing but grow, and Jeff owes a lot of that success to his tough team that runs 1200 people deep. Since his father let him join the family business, Jeff has dutifully taken the time to hire and invest in the right people, and according to him, that’s made all the difference in the company’s success. 
    Not only does Thomas Cavanagh Construction strive to develop vibrant communities around Ottawa at large, but they also aim to foster the same positive atmosphere within their organization. After all, taking care of Cavanagh employees is paramount to the company’s success. Given that Jeff and his family have been in the game for decades, Taylor and Jeff spend the remainder of the episode reminiscing on early land development lessons, market recessions, how they prepared for them, and the future of Jeff’s ever-expanding business. Filled with wisdom informed by extensive experience, Jeff truly has so much to offer listeners here today - you don’t want to miss this one!

    Cavanagh Construction’s history of vertical integration

    Building vibrant communities

    The importance of delegation

    Investing in the right products and people

    Taking care of Cavanagh employees

    Early land development mistakes

    Preparing for residential market recessions

    The future of Cavanagh Construction


    “We do all things construction. We do home building. We're into land development– building houses. We backfill houses, dig basins. We have aggregates, pits, and quarries, asphalt, and all types of heavy equipment.”

    “Lots of times, you know, you see things going wrong. But lots of times you see things going right, so there's more right than wrong.”

    “So that's building vibrant communities; it's more than just the community itself. We're building a community inside of Cavanagh construction.”

    “I found that I was becoming too much of a micromanager for the size of our business. And we were able to empower the people that work for us, in particular the bosses in that sector.”

    “So we tried to buy what was best in class. Because we were using the product and basically wearing it out, fixing it and wearing it out, then selling it. So we didn't want to work on junk anymore.”

    “When we're building you a house, when you move into that house, there's good value in that product. When we develop a lot, we do it efficiently so that when we are able to sell that lot, it’s good value for the consumer. So, if you can provide good value for what they're buying, they'll come back and buy some more.”


    Taylor White on LinkedIn

    Cavanagh Construction Homepage 

    To learn more about the 2023 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show and to register, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Camilla-Jean ,

Straight from the hero’s that make it happen

I live the stories and insights coming from the actual hero’s out there building infrastructure jobs businesses and all the things that make construction so great. Thanks for the work you do! Keep it up!

royce steed ,

Let’s get chandler from Nevada on here 👍


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