Posted by Jacob Hart
Operator Interview: Greg McDonnell
We visited Greg McDonnell, owner of Greg McDonnell Contracting Ltd in the beautiful backcountry of Alexandra.
Starting in the Excavation and Civil Construction industry in Perth, Australia, Greg McDonnell has the enviable achievement of saying his first digger was a brand-new CAT 40-Tonne digger at only 17.
“I worked in diggers all over Australia, and after working in Perth I moved onto some 50-tonne diggers, gold mining, nickel mining, and from there I went to London as well.” Says Greg.
After a number more years working in Australia on the famous TBM’s (Tunnel Boring Machine) and remote underground excavation works, Greg decided it was time to come home to Alexandra. There he started Greg McDonnell Contracting Ltd.
Initially, Greg started with just one machine 5 years ago. Greg’s company now employees two additional staff, has two diggers going full-time and a truck. Being a staunch Alexandra man himself, Greg doesn’t just tackle any project he’s asked to do, but project manages them on-site and start to finish with a high level of pride. “We complete every job with the goal in mind of never coming back,” Greg says. But he does have to go back, as his clients see the work, he completes for them that goes above their expectations, and have more work to be done by Greg.
One of the more prominent achievements for Greg and his contracting business is completing some large dairy conversions in Alexandra. Having the distinction of the driest and coldest town in New Zealand, a large-scale dairy conversion is a mean feat to take on for any contractor. It takes 12-18 months for a fully functional conversion to be completed and a lot of changes and management of equipment and staff along the way.
One of Greg’s latest conversion projects has just been completed and was one of the sites Attach2 visited him on at the time of shooting the video with Greg. Since filming, he completed that conversion and project and is now doing some extra work for the farm owner adding irrigation, troughs and more.
“The Tilt Hitch has improved how we work, before we were getting out and changing the tilt bucket hoses all the time, and it held everyone up.”
By utilising Attach2’s latest Ram Tilt Coupler on his digger, Greg’s noticed an efficiency increase that not just improves his efficiency but also further down the line. As faster bucket changes mean that the job is completed with less idle time for staff and contractors.
“When we do water troughs, we’re always changing buckets, like the tilt bucket and trench bucket as we clean up the pad then add the trough. it’s a lot of changes through it and holds everyone up when you have to get out and change hoses that often.”
But having the Tilt Coupler isn’t the only attachment improving Greg’s workflow, the improved Wide Bucket has proved more efficient and pleasant to use.
“It’s got a nice feel to it, holds plenty of dirt, holds it well and cuts well too. When I go back to the old one on the other digger, it’s just not as good. And it’s stronger too, the other brand one needs a [rib] in it as it wasn’t that strong, but this one doesn’t.”
Written by Simon Johnston
Video by Jacob Hart