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Crane & High Reach Issue



06 Skanska

Utilizes Newly Purchased Link-Belt RTC-8080 Series II Rough Terrain Cranes for Metro Expansion Project

12 Brewer Crane & Rigging Accomplishes the Seemingly Impossible by Relentlessly Pursuing their Dreams and Putting People First


18 Bragg Companies

Transports Massive Power Cable Reels

22 Precision Crane Service A Commitment to Safety and Superior Service Since 1980

For Advertising Information or to be Featured in Calcontractor Magazine, contact Kerry Hoover at or Call 909-772-3121

28 Industry News 30 Advertiser Index 4



CalContractor Magazine / PUBLISHER: Kerry Hoover (909) 772-3121 EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS: Brian Hoover, Senior Editor

GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Juben Cayabyab & Aldo Myftari PHOTO CREDITS: Kerry Hoover, Cameron Bragg, Precision Crane Service and Rudolph and Sletten

CalContractor is published twelve times each year by Construction Marketing Services, LLC. P.O. Box 892977, Temecula, CA 92589 - Phone: 909-772-3121 - Fax: 951-225-9659 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR


Utilizes Newly Purchased Link-Belt RTC-8080 Series II Rough Terrain Cranes For Metro Expansion Projects Written by: Brian Hoover Photos contributed by: Kerry Hoover

Above & Right Page: Link-Belt RTC 8080 Series II - 80 ton Rough Terrain Crane purchased from Nixon-Egli Equipment Co. shown here lifting soldier pile to be set in place, while drill rig gets another hole ready for pile insertion.


kanska is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the country with expertise in construction, civil infrastructure, public-private partnerships and commercial development initiatives in select U.S. markets. They have been working in Southern California since 1917, safely building freeways, transit, and infrastructure from their local offices in Los Angeles in Riverside.


Currently they are working on the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project and the Metro Purple Line Subway Extension in Los Angeles, awarded by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The Regional Connector Project is a $1.55 billion design-build joint venture between Skanska and Traylor Brothers, Inc. When completed, this 1.9-mile underground light rail line will link

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines, allowing for better and faster service on Metro’s light rail lines through downtown Los Angeles. The project provides a direct connection between these lines with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles. Construction will also include both cut and cover tunneling and tunnel boring along

different sections under Flower and 2nd Streets. The Regional Connector Project is forecast to be completed in 2020 with future plans to run additional light rail line north-south between Long Beach and Azusa, and another east-west between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles. The long-awaited Metro Purple Line Subway Extension is a $2.821 billion design-build joint venture

3.92 miles with new underground stations located at the intersections of Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. The overall project requires substantial completion by June 2023 and will include underground construction including additional boring, as well as the installation of train control and signals, communication systems, traction power supply and transportation and fare collection

Los Angeles. Widney’s duties are many and include overseeing the purchase, maintenance, scheduling and even sale of heavy machinery, trucks, trailers, attachments and other components. “It can be a challenge to keep everyone on the same page and stay ahead of the current and future equipment utilization needs,” says Widney. “It takes quite a bit of planning and organization and we will even

between Skanska, Traylor Brothers, Inc. and J.F. Shea Construction. The project is scheduled to be built in three phases that when completed will extend 9 miles westward from the current terminus at Wilshire/ Western. The Purple Line Extension will include the construction of seven new stations, providing a high-capacity, high-speed dependable alternative that will include destinations such as Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood. The first phase, or the “Westside Subway” Phase, will extend the Purple Line by

systems, all designed to connect and operate with existing systems. Both the Regional Connector Project and the Metro Purple Line Project are funded by local Measure R funds, approved by voters in November 2008, along with federal “New Starts” matching funds and a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program. Roy Widney has been with Skanska for more than 20 years, serving as Equipment Manager,

purchase equipment months or even a year in advance of a project.” As an international leader in environmental and sustainability practices, Metro has created a Green Construction Policy (GCP) for its planning, construction, operations and procurement activities. Metro also requires contractors to implement the provisions of the GCP to the greatest extent possible on all of their construction projects. This includes the use of Tier IV equipment and machinery and Widney of course takes this into

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR


Above: Crew using John Deere 350 to set trench shoring.

consideration when purchasing equipment for Metro projects. “Most all of the equipment we have on these projects are brand new with the latest technology and cleanest running engines available,” says Widney. “I work closely with our operations manager and our project managers and together we look at the workload and determine what we will need. It is my job to present them with the options and it is not always about the cost.” Widney points out that he will many times rent what they need for the shorterterm projects, but for the long term jobs, he says that purchasing usually makes more sense. “When things are running, my life is easy. When they break down all of the sudden everything comes to a screeching halt,” says Widney. “If I am going to take responsibility for the daily performance and maintenance of a machine, I want some say on what we are


purchasing and from Below: Skanska Los Angeles Equipment Manager Roy Widney. whom.” Widney concedes that every machine will eventually breakdown, he just wants to keep those failures to a minimum and avoid them whenever possible by being proactive in the proper training of his crews, adhering to scheduled maintenance procedures and aligning his company with a well-respected manufacturer and dealer. Getting a low-ball price on headed for trouble.” Widney kept an off-brand machine that does all of this in mind last year when not have a known or respected purchasing three 80-ton cranes for track record can spell disaster for the Metro expansion projects. “We a construction company. “I have looked at a variety of respected been doing this a long time and I manufacturers and ultimately went have experienced what works and with three Link-Belt (RTC-8080 what lasts and what does not,” Series II rough terrain cranes) 80-ton says Widney. “Additionally if you cranes for their overall quality and don’t have the service to back up performance,” says Widney. “They your purchase, then you are again were not the cheapest, but they had

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a little bit more lifting capacity on the chart and we felt this would be a benefit to us on these Metro projects. The other factor was service and Nixon-Egli has always been there for us when we needed them with fast, friendly and knowledgeable service. We bought these cranes brand new and experienced a few small issues. Nixon-Egli stepped with a solution out on our jobsite the very next day. Service is everything in this business.” Skanska is utilizing all three Link-Belt RTC-8080 Series II rough terrain cranes on anything that needs lifting or supported on the

Above: Utilizing massive tunneling machines on Metro Expansion Project.

Metro expansion projects. “We are using the Link-Belt truck cranes primarily where the stations are being built. We have one at the mangrove or the beginning of the tunnel bore and another right now

Above: Liebherr HS895 crane utilized for erecting deck beams, as well as for supporting onsite drill rigs.


2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

at the 2nd and Hope Station for building support and yet another for building a batch plant that will be supporting the boring machines,” says Widney. “They are all being utilized fully as every station will have at least one crane on-site to support construction activities.” Roy Widney and Skanska are currently gearing up for their upcoming 6th Street Project and Roy is busy taking bids on a long list of equipment, including additional cranes. Skanska has a massive fleet of heavy machinery, enabling them to respond quickly and appropriately to any situation. “Things change quickly in this business. 10 years ago I had a hundred scrapers spread out all over, because that is what we did back then,” says Widney. “When the work changes, we change up our equipment right along with it. These days we are buying a great deal of cranes, smaller utility equipment and even tunnel boring. One thing is for sure, it never gets boring around here.” Skanska is a provider of comprehensive construction services, with U.S. revenues in excess of $7 billion in 2014, representing one-third of their global revenue. They also maintain a bonding capacity of $7.5 billion, enabling them to take on everything from small renovations, to billion dollar projects. For more information on Skanska, visit their website at Cc

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2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR


CRANE AND RIGGING Accomplishing The Seemingly Impossible By Relentlessly Pursuing Their Dream and Putting People First Written by: Brian Hoover / Photos contributed by: Kerry Hoover and Rudolph & Sletten


rent Brewer and Rolynda Brewer started Brewer Crane & Rigging together in February 1997. Before that, both had been working diligently at their respective jobs, Rolynda managed a lighting company and Brent was a salesman for another large crane enterprise. By 1996, Brent became frustrated with the way things were going. He remembers sitting at the kitchen table one Friday night, asking Rolynda (“Ro” for short) what she

would like to do that weekend; Brent recalls Ro saying, “I hate to burst your bubble, but after all of our bills are paid, we have about $20 left between the two of us.” So what did they do that weekend? They had a garage sale of course! And raised some quick spending money. Brent remembers saying to Ro, “We’re never going to really get ahead working for someone else.” A short time later, Rolynda put pen to paper and wrote a professional proposal to

her parents, asking if the couple and her then-young son, Brent Garcia, could move into her parent’s home. The plan allowed Brent and Ro to pay a modest rent to her parents in order to help keep costs down while starting their own crane business. “We were living in a beautiful custom home with a six car garage, but after paying our bills each month, there was simply nothing left to do anything with,” says Rolynda. “My parents are wonderful people

Above: Brewer Crane & Rigging currently has three Liebherr 542-HCL luffing tower cranes working at the new San Diego County Superior Courthouse for Rudolph & Sletten.



and were willing to do whatever it took to help us get our dreams off the ground. We left all of the luxuries and non-essentials behind and focused solely on starting our company.” And so Brewer Crane began with Ro typing up quotes and answering phones from the kitchen table of her childhood home, and Brent out drumming up sales and running cranes. The duo had a unique mix of skills and experience – one which turned out to be a recipe for success. Brent Brewer got his start in the crane business working for over 15 years with his father, Clell Brewer, who owned Cabrillo Crane and Cabrillo Hoist in San Diego before the companies were sold to Anthony Crane in 1994. “I have great respect for my father and all that he accomplished in the crane and rigging business. He taught me most of what I know and use in my everyday business.” Rolynda’s resume consisted mainly of construction bookkeeping and office management for varied companies and industries – everything from coffee shop bookstores to retail to residential construction. Ro highlights that “after years of working with Nordstrom and doing things the ‘Nordstrom way’, I wanted to bring those same principles of going above and beyond in terms of customer service to the crane industry.” They each leveraged their respective skills to help get Brewer Crane off the ground. But success didn’t come quickly. Work trickled in at first. Brent and Ro teamed up with two partners to increase the company’s chance of success. Finally, Brewer Crane & Rigging (Brewer Crane) got one of its first big breaks when Rudolph and Sletten called and needed cranes to help construct the Amgen facility in Thousand Oaks. Even though the job was far from the company’s home base, it required two cranes and lasted for five months. It was consistent revenue and it helped

build Brewer Crane’s resume in those early days. The company even got a dose of celebrity in that first year. Brent remembers, “I received a call from a contractor needing a crane for use on the Spielberg film, Amistad,” says Brent. “We thought outside the box and partnered with a friend of mine from Arizona who provided us with a 30-ton crane for the movie project.” The crane was loaded onto a barge and the seafaring movie took sail. This project lasted for two months with Brent running the crane 18 hours a day, seven days a week. With these first two jobs under the company’s “belt,” Brent and Rolynda were able to break away from their additional partners and settle into the company – just the two of them. “We bought our

first crane, which was a used 1976 75-ton P&H from Colton Equipment out of La Mirada, California,” remembers Brent. “We began using the P&H to work up in the mountains on communication sites. This kept us busy, along with the occasional tree, HVAC, and other typical lifting jobs,” says Brent. “We took anything we

could get our hands on and were eventually able to purchase a gently used 1997 Grove TTS870 hydraulic truck crane and then another one a few months later. It was in 1999 when we finally purchased our first brand new crane, a Terex T340 hydraulic truck crane. That was a big day for us.”

Above & Inset: Brewer Crane & Rigging’s new Link-Belt 238 HSL 150-ton lattice crawler crane on the mall expansion in La Jolla.

2016 2016crane crane&&high highreach reachISSUE ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR CALCONTRACTOR


While happy to be on their own and partner-free now, Brent and Ro recognize the value that their early partners brought to the company. One of those specifically earning their thanks is Tom Colton of Colton Crane. “Tom was a friend of my father’s and owned and operated Colton Equipment - among other companies - for many years,” Brent recounts. “Tom made it possible for us to purchase our first cranes, was a partner in our business for a few years and taught us a lot about this crazy crane industry. We want to thank him for being like a father to us and want him to know that we very much appreciate all that he did for our company and family.” Working closely with banks and vendors can make the difference between success and failure for many in the crane and rigging business and Tom helped Brewer Crane do just that in the early days of the company. By 1999, Brewer Crane & Rigging was getting noticed and the phones were ringing off the hook, so much so that the company’s headquarters progressed from Ro’s parents’ kitchen table to a construction trailer in their front yard, to some actual office space leased from A.M. Ortega Construction in Lakeside, California. With strong winds at its back, the company began to hunt for talented crane operators and other employees. This was easier said than done. “We struggled to find operators and resorted to putting want ads in newspapers,” says Brent. Rolynda and Brent reflect fondly on finding their first full-time employee, Chris Campbell. Ro remembers being out on one of their weekend jobs in San Diego, where a new part-time operator was operating a crane for a communications customer: “When I met Chris and watched him for the very first time operating a rented 30-ton crane for us, I knew we had to hire him full-time.” She recounts, “Brent and I met with him a week later at a restaurant and we laid it


all-out for Chris. We let him know that we did not own any cranes – at that time – and that we were working out of my parent’s home. We also let him know that we had just landed a long-term job in Thousand Oaks and we shared our dreams and visions. Then we asked him to take a leap of faith and come work for us full-time.” After going home and discussing the quixotic proposition with his wife and family, Chris took the leap and accepted Brent and Rolynda’s offer. Brent and Rolynda agree: “Chris has been with us for 19 years and now serves as our operations manager, overseeing sales and estimating. But more importantly, he and his wife, April, have become family to us, being there in good times and bad. For that, we will be forever grateful.” In keeping with the theme of a company with family roots, Brent Garcia, Rolynda’s son, also joined the ranks as a “family-slash-employee” working in one way or another for Brewer Crane since the age of 14. He continued working for the company throughout high school and university and today, with a decade’s more experience and a degree in finance, he serves as the company’s CFO and risk manager and he will also hold the company’s class A contractors license. “I am very proud of my son and all that he has accomplished in such a relatively short amount of time. He has worked hard to acquire his education, his licenses, and the respect of his peers. He goes above and beyond the call to look out for this corporation,” says Rolynda. “He is a big part of our success and we truly appreciate what he has done for this company.” At the beginning of a new century, in 2000, Brewer Crane had added several more cranes to its fleet, including a 1992 Demag 180-ton crane and two 40-ton Terex cranes. They also discovered the world of tower cranes, adding two


Above: New Link-Belt RTC 8090 90-ton crane on the mall expansion in La Jolla.

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Above: Another view of the three Liebherr 542-HCL luffing tower cranes working at the new San Diego County Superior Courthouse for Rudolph & Sletten.



Potain HGT80 fast-erect tower cranes as well. “We found that demand was really high for these tower cranes, which led to the company needing even larger hydraulic cranes to help erect the tower cranes. Business was booming,” says Brent. “We started leasing our full-sized tower cranes with operators, and companies also began hiring us to run their tower cranes.” The company started developing a new team to address the needs of tower cranes and construction hoists, a team which today calls itself “The Riggers.” Rolynda offers “our rigging crew today is one of the best you can find anywhere in the world.” In 2007, Brewer Crane was still growing exponentially, but things were about to change. “We could all see the handwriting on the wall, but no one wanted to believe it,” says Brent. “So 2008 hit us right in the back of the head, just like everybody else. The phone just stopped ringing and work slowed to a trickle.” Brewer Crane now had 15 truck- and rough-terrain cranes that they needed to keep busy and dozens of employees who needed to eat and pay mortgages. “There was very little work in San Diego, so we went to Tehachapi and opened a yard there in order to do maintenance for a few major wind energy companies. I went up and did sales calls and we even rented a house for our operators to live in,” says Brent. “We took our 400-ton, 275-ton, 170-ton and some smaller cranes and kept them busy for a while.” In 2011 green shoots started to show themselves when Brewer Crane was awarded a contract installing bridge structures for Union Pacific Railroad in Imperial County. This lasted until the end of 2012 and helped stabilize things until business found a new normal in 2014. Brent recounts, “between this work and other spotty work throughout Southern California, we were able to weather the Great Recession without having

to layoff one employee or sell one single crane. All things considered, I think we did OK.” But while Brewer Crane & Rigging managed to weather one of the worst economic storms in a generation, the marriage between Brent and Rolynda wasn’t as lucky, ending in 2012. Despite such an unfortunate setback, they didn’t allow this personal fissure to end what they both had worked so hard for over so many years. “I don’t believe that anyone today could start a crane company the way we did 19 years ago,” says Rolynda. “We started with literally nothing, but always believed in what we were doing. Now Brent and I run this business as co-owners from different fronts, and we have our own special roles that we each do very well. My faith in God has given me great strength and we are altogether truly blessed. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to many more years of success.” By most accounts that success did indeed continue following company’s 2014 recovery. Brent explains, “We began adding more operators, purchasing additional cranes, and performing more tower crane and construction hoist work in 2014. We got some huge contracts, like the Superior Court House job in downtown San Diego that required three large, luffing tower cranes,” says Brent. “We also continued to take on defense contracts with major corporations, along with supporting naval operations as a subcontractor.” That year the company also started to strategically plan for the growth it was seeing over the horizon. The executive team hired Pam Scholefield, of Scholefield P.C. – Construction Law to serve as the company’s general counsel and together they evaluated the company from the top, down. Every company process was evaluated and, if needed, changed. From the company’s accounting program to

Above: Liebherr tower cranes were working at a 500 foot elevation hoisting structural steel, precast concrete panels and various other lifts on the project.

its process for generating customer quotes, no stone was left unturned. The overhaul, which became known as “the roll out” internally, sparked some big changes within the company and also led to several new key players being added to the Brewer Crane team. Rolynda eagerly offers, “Our team is simply the best these days – I thank my lucky stars we have so many outstanding individuals working with us.” Today, Brewer Crane & Rigging has over 70 employees, a fleet of over 30 mobile cranes and semi tractors, dozens of tower cranes and construction hoists in the air, and they’ve upgraded their facility to a spacious five-acre yard and office building replete with four fully-equipped maintenance bays. The company has also fostered important strategic relationships with industry allies like Nixon-Egli

Equipment Company and Morrow Equipment Company. Brent explains, “I call up in need of special equipment and they just meet our needs when and where we need it. I have been back to the Link-Belt factory a few times and I am just so very impressed with their product line.” He continues, “Steve Nixon is my type of guy. He is an honest man and a straight shooter with old-time values. Our sales rep Tom Trevithick is also great to work with, as is their service manager, Dave Heitmiller. They always answer their phones, and are very helpful.” Brewer Crane has a long list of current projects with customers including their very first customer, Rudolph, and Sletten. “They were our first customer and we continue to work for them. Right now we are on a courthouse project, a shopping mall expansion project, a college campus project, and we just completed a job at the UCSD Medical Campus for them,” says Brent. “We work for so many great contractors on jobs like the San Diego Airport Rental Car Center and a student housing project for Sundt Construction. We currently have cranes and crews spread out from San Diego to Los Angeles, Long Beach, Hollywood, Glendale and all the way out to Palm Springs. I am very thankful for our clients, vendors, and employees and look forward to a very bright future.” Brewer Crane & Rigging offers mobile cranes with capacities ranging from boom trucks to 400 tons. It has a full fleet of semi trucks within its trucking division and it can accommodate bonded storage. Brewer Crane also offers a full tower division with the ability to provide, erect, service, and dismantle tower cranes and construction hoists. For more information about Brewer Crane & Rigging, please visit or call (619) 390-8252. Cc

2016 2016crane crane&&high highreach reachISSUE ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR CALCONTRACTOR


Caption: Pictured: Offloading the largest of three power reels to be set upon 6-line Goldhofer trailer.


2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Transports Massive Power Cable Reels Written by: Brian Hoover


stablished in 1946 and celebrating their 70th year, Bragg Companies is in their fourth generation of family ownership. Bragg Crane Service, Bragg Crane & Rigging and Heavy Transport offer full turnkey services that include structural steel erection, crane rental and large-scale moving. Heavy Transport (Bragg) specializes in oversized, multidimensional and large capacity cargo. They are capable of transporting loads from 1 to 1,600 tons, from single truckloads to complete project shipments anywhere in North America. Bragg recently completed a move for OST Crane & Rigging (OST) out of Ventura, who is under contract with ExxonMobil. OST was contracted to move three very large cable reels from Port Hueneme to an ExxonMobil holding yard in Oxnard. Cable reels are used by offshore oil and gas exploration companies to reel electrical, mechanical and other wiring apparatuses to and from the shore and in between adjacent oil rigs. The power cable reels are manufactured in Europe and can take as long as 18 months to produce and ship. Because of this, it is standard practice for oil-rigging companies to have backup reels on standby at all times. According to Kelan Bragg, who oversaw this project, Heavy Transport (Bragg) was subcontracted by OST to perform the move due to their availability of specific

Above: The reels were loaded sideways due to the specifications of the support straddle structure, requiring the need for clearance crews on the 3-mile route from Port Hueneme to the ExxonMobil yard.

cranes and trailers required to complete the lifts and transport. There were three spools in all, the largest of which was 28 feet in diameter, weighing in at 319,300 pounds. The other two were 24 feet in diameter with a weight of 248,200 pounds each. These were massive circles of iron that needed to be transported approximately 3 miles. Doesn’t sound like a very big deal, until you consider everything that had to be done to accomplish this undertaking. The first and perhaps most arduous task was to lift the reels from the cargo ship at Port Hueneme. “When you put a crane that weighs nearly a half a million pounds on a dock

over the ocean, you need to be concerned with ground bearing pressures,” says Bragg. “We utilized 60-foot jumper bridges in order to distribute the appropriate amount of weight per square foot on the dock.” Bragg continues to explain that these 12 inch thick, 60 foot long pieces of steel were all that stood between their Liebherr LR1300, 330-ton crawler crane and the ocean below them. “We were at a 70-foot radius where our all terrain cranes would not be able to handle the chart and this is where our Liebherr crawler crane with a heavy lift attachment came into play,” says Bragg. “We obviously could not move the crane from

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR


Pictured: Moving all three reels down W. Hueneme Road. Six bucket Caption: trucks in background clearing signals and wires for the oversized loads.

Above: A good look at the actual size of the power reel during transport with ground tech standing in foreground for size comparison.

the jumper bridges, so it was necessary for the ship to move to us in order to remove the reels and other miscellaneous items. The longshoremen did an outstanding job maneuvering the ship and the lifts went off without a hitch.” According to Bragg, the rigging process was fairly simple, with a custom made spreader bar at the top and endless slings hanging down, connected to rounds or notches at the side of the spools. Each spool or reel was placed individually onto 6-line Goldhofer trailers, where they were stored for approximately two weeks, while waiting for utility services to be disconnected and specific power lines removed. The next step was


to transport the three reels, loaded upon three 38-foot, 6-line Goldhofer trailers, down a three-mile stretch of W. Hueneme Road and on into ExxonMobil’s laydown yard on Arcturus Avenue in Oxnard. “The roadway was closed on both sides and then reopened behind us as we passed,” says Bragg. “It was necessary to swing lamp posts out of our path, and we used bucket trucks to lift power lines and traffic signals high enough to pass.” Bragg goes on to explain that the entire move was done at night and took right around eight hours from start to finish. “We offloaded the spools at the ExxonMobil yard with our Grove GMK7550 all terrain crane.

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

I would like to acknowledge our engineering department for doing such a great job on the 40-plus pages, three-dimensional lift plan. It all starts with a plan and our engineers are the best.” Kelan Bragg serves as a sales and technical services manager for Bragg Companies. He and his brother, Cameron, represent the fourth generation of Bragg family members continuing the legacy of unparalleled service to the construction industry. Their great-grandfather, Jim Bragg, started Bragg Companies from just one crane back in 1946. The company has now grown into one of the largest integrated service organizations in the construction industry, with 12 locations throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Texas. They offer a network of meticulously maintained cranes to fit any lifting need, along with specialized rigging equipment for even the most technical projects. They also offer a full compliment of trucks and trailers that will haul anything you can put on them. You can learn more about Bragg Companies and their offerings by visiting or by calling their Long Beach headquarters at (562) 984-2400. Cc

Precision Crane Service

A commitment to safety & Superior Service Since 1980 S

onoma County stretches from the Pacific coast in the west to the Mayacamas Mountains in the east, and is home to almost 60,000 acres of vineyards. Folks from all over the world visit Sonoma’s more than 400 wineries, contributing billions of dollars to the local economy every year. Sounds like a pretty nice place to set up a business and that is just what Budd and Moe Elliff did some 36 years ago. However, back then, Sonoma County was in the middle of a transition from an area known more for their dairy, grain and fruit crops, with grapes coming in fourth. Budd and his father, Moe, could see


that big changes were on the horizon and that got their wheels to spinning. Budd and Moe started out working for Von Arx Drayage, in the heavy haul industry. When trucking was slow, they would work for Santa Rosa Crane, who shared a yard with Von Arx Drayage. Eventually, Budd and Moe went to work full time for Santa Rosa Crane, which was owned by Mac Graves, a well-known and respected figure in the crane industry, who also formerly owned Peninsula Crane & Rigging in San Jose. In 1980, Mac decided to semi-retire and that meant a management shift,

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

which changed things for Budd and his father and so, together, they decided to start their own small crane enterprise. “I said, ‘Hey dad, whatta ya say we go buy a crane’, and he said, ‘shoot I’m all for it’,” says Elliff. “So we bought our first crane in 1980, a 1974 Drott 2510 30-ton crane.” The Drott got the father and son team started with your typical crane rental work. Things were a bit slow at first as the two went all over North County hustling up business, one customer at a time. “When I left Santa Rosa Crane, I promised Mac, who I very much admired that I would not compete with him in

Pictured: Reconstruction of PG&E tower in December 2015. Precision Crane shown here utilizing a Liebherr 200-ton and 265-ton crane, as well as a Grove 100-ton crane. This was also the very first job for the new Link-Belt 86100 telescopic truck crane, which arrived directly from Nixon-Egli to this project.

South County. The two of us owned a piece of property together and after a few years, Mac decided that he wanted to dissolve our property partnership,” says Elliff. “That pretty much made us even and at that point all bets were off. I started hustling business all over Sonoma County and beyond. Things were really beginning to take shape at that point.” A few years later, Mac Graves fully retired and in 1990 his son, Cliff went to work for Budd at Precision Crane and is still with the company. In 1984, Precision Crane landed a contract with the Geysers, a geothermal power plant located

north of San Francisco in the Mayacamas Mountains. The Geysers, is the largest producer of geothermal electricity in the world, drawing steam from some 350 wells and they of course are in need of all sorts of crane and rigging support, among other services. “We picked up the contract for all of the Geysers crane rental and that provided us with a nice bump in the mid-80’s,” says Elliff. “We immediately purchased a Grove TM800, 80-ton crane, and soon after a 40-ton Terex. Another 50-ton grove followed, along with a 70-ton and 75-ton Grove and finally a 100-ton. In 2005, they purchased their first all

terrain crane with the addition of a Lieberr 200-ton and another 265-ton in 2013. “We didn’t grow fast, just slow and steady. As we paid off one crane, then we would add another and that philosophy has always worked well for us.” Of course, Budd didn’t waste any time calling on the hundreds of wineries that surrounded him in Sonoma and neighboring, Napa County. “We got involved right away in the winery business and I believe that we have made quite a name for ourselves in this niche,” says Elliff. According to Budd, wineries make up as much as 40 percent of his overall business. With

2016 2016crane crane&&high highreach reachISSUE ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR CALCONTRACTOR


this in mind, a large portion of that is spent moving wine tanks, up to 16 feet in diameter and 50 feet in height. Precision Crane has even designed and manufactured their own custom trailers that meet all Caltrans specifications, giving them an edge in the local winery transportation business. Regular customers like Gallo Wines and Kendall Jackson keep their wine transportation and crane & rigging operators extremely busy. For instance, they recently transported around a dozen 16 feet in diameter and 40 ft. tall tanks to the Gallo facility in Washington and that would be considered a medium sized move for Precision Crane. “We aren’t big on titles and everyone chips in and does whatever it takes to get the job done safely, on time and in accordance with our clients wishes,” says Elliff. “Every day is different and each job presents a unique challenge. It can be very challenging to install these massive tanks inside these wineries with extremely tight clearances and locations that many times take us deep into the North Bay mountain region.”


Budd Elliff oversees all operations, and even though his father, Moe, officially retired in 2000, he still works seven days a week, training and certifying operators at their main yard in Windsor, which is also a NCCCO training and testing facility. Budd is quick to credit the success of his company to the character and work ethic of the extraordinary people working at Precision Crane. His son, Tyler, has been officially working fulltime at Precision Crane since 2002 and he, like his father, lives and breathes the crane business. “My father is a very genuine and talented individual whose work ethic is a bold statement of his character,” says Tyler. “He is a firecracker. When we are undermanned or overscheduled, he is the first to jump on a crane. Cranes are his passion and I have to say that he truly is an amazing man that has accomplished much in a relatively short amount of time. I am very proud of what my father and grandfather have built and I look forward to continuing their legacy in years to come.”

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Top L to R: Tyler, Moe, Budd and Gregg Elliff with Grandpa holding C.J., Tyler’s son and Landon, Gregg’s son. Above: C.J. Elliff, 4th Generation crane operator.

Tyler and his brother, Gregg grew up around the family crane business and as it would be expected, it was like being surrounded by big giant toys. Both boys worked summers and during breaks, but it was Tyler that got bit hardest by the crane bug. After

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Top: Transporting Vietnam Era Huey helicopter from local air museum to children’s education event.

working for the family business for several years, Gregg went on to a career in computers and IT for the local winery industry, while his younger brother, Tyler, stayed on with the company. “I remember as a child that if we weren’t at our cabin snowmobiling, we were at the crane yard with my father. I would ride passenger when somebody would drive a semi-truck or small crane to a job,” says Tyler. “As a teenager, my brother, cousins and I, spent many summers learning and working the rigging and groundwork end of the business.” As soon as legally possible, Tyler began driving pilot cars, and he was sure to get his commercial drivers license the day he turned 18. Learning to drive the semi’s did not take him long, after all of the visual references he gleaned as a kid on the ride alongs. On nights and weekends, Tyler began riding with the crane operators, learning everything he could about boom trucks and every individual crane


in the fleet. At just 18, Tyler became one of the youngest licensed crane operators in the country. He couldn’t get enough and even became an instructor. He joined Local 3 Operating Engineers on Nov. 23, 2002 and has never looked back since. Tyler spends the majority of his time on project planning and management, overseeing the safety program and of course operating cranes whenever needed. He took it upon himself to go after some different niches, like corporate utility maintenance, with sizable contracts that have added to company’s bottom line. He is also very involved with the Northern California Crane Owners Association, joining the board of directors at the age of 26. At 29, he earned his General Engineering Contractor (A) License, just to keep options open for future endeavors. “I am big on continued education and I think that is why I try and surround myself with people like my father and the other great leaders of our industry here in Northern

2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Above: Transporting railcar to local private citizen’s home museum collection.

California,” says Tyler. “We are a 24/7 operation and things can get pretty hairy at times. We are just so fortunate to have such a great group of elite operators and drivers. Guys that I used to ride along with as a kid and have the pleasure of working with today. This is a great industry and if I am not mistaken, I think I have passed down the bug to my soon to be two year old son, C.J., who seems to have that gleam and excitement for cranes that runs through our blood.” Precision Crane prides themselves on their incredible operators, many of which have been with the company for 20 plus years. They also have a tremendous fleet of trucks and equipment including hydraulic truck cranes from 18 to 265-ton, boom trucks from 14 to 23-ton, rough terrain cranes from 18 to 55 ton, forklifts from 5,000 lb. to

80,000 lb. capacity, as well as 2 and 3-axle trucks, heavy haul trucks, semi-trailers, flatbeds, step decks, low bed trailers and of course custom tank trailers. They recently added another crane to their fleet that brought about a bit of a change from their normal buying habits. They currently have a Grove TMS 870 rear steer hydraulic truck crane that is getting up there in age and hours, so they began looking for a 70-ton rear steer to take its place. According to Budd, they were surprised to find that Link-Belt was the only manufacturer offering a rear steer option in the 100-ton and below telescopic truck crane category. “The guys at Nixon-Egli convinced us to give their Link-Belt 86100 a try. Now I have to tell you that back in the early 90s, I was just not that impressed with the Link-Belt lineup,” says Elliff. “I personally took our new crane (Link-Belt 86100 telescopic truck crane) out and ran it on several jobs and I am here to tell you that it is just a wonderful crane that is simply a

Above: Delivering wine tanks to Gallo’s Dry Creek facilities.

joy to operate. It did everything that our Link-Belt and Nixon-Egli sales rep said it would, and on top of that there were absolutely no surprises, hidden costs or other glitches during the purchasing process. We are absolutely satisfied and look to add more Link-Belt cranes in the future.” Precision Crane Service has a knowledgeable staff of rigging supervisors and a first-rate crew of operators and drivers ready to assist with jobs big and small. They operate from their Winsdor and Napa facilities with state-of-the-art equipment ready to complete your project safely and at the highest standards in the industry. “We are a small family owned business that believes that fairness and honesty always come before profit,” says Elliff. “We look forward to an opportunity to serving our wonderful customers for the next 40 years.” For more information on Precision Crane Service, please visit or call (707) 546-6900. Cc



Engine Horsepower - 350 Operating Weight - 96,000lbs 25% Fuel Savings in Eco Mode 100% Deere Designed & Manufactured Final Tier IV Deere Engine With the all-new 1050K, you’re not just getting a long-overdue choice in dozers this size. You’re getting the incredible pushing power of a proven hydrostatic drive. And Eco mode to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% without limiting productivity. Deere designed. Deere manufactured. And backed by a robust service and parts program dedicated exclusively to the production-class market. The choice is yours. Bet you haven’t heard that in a while. For details, visit your local dealer or our website.



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2016 crane & high reach ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR


caltrans clears 20-ton boulder from u.s. highway 50 with controlled detonation

What do you do when a 20-ton boulder slides down the hill and blocks a rugged rural road in winter weather? In Caltrans’ case, you secure the area, dispatch trained crews and blow it up. Then you clean up the debris and get motorists moving again. This Caltrans News Flash explores the process from beginning to end.


It’s all in a day’s work for Caltrans crews, who cleared this behemoth on U.S. Highway 50 about 80 miles east of Sacramento. This video can be viewed at: This News Flash is the 61st in a series of videos highlighting Caltrans’ activities that present

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the wide-ranging and critical work that Caltrans does to enhance California’s economy and livability. To see more of these and other videos, search for #CaltransNewsFlash on Twitter or go to Cc

SECURITY PAVING CO., INC. WORKS UNDER LIGHTS IN BURBANK WITH THEIR NEW LINK-BELT RTC-8080 SERIES II 80-TON ROUGH TERRAIN CRANE from Nixon-egli equipment co. Security Paving Company, Inc. of Sylmar, California used their 80-ton RTC-8080 Series II to build an Austin Vault Sand Filter alongside Interstate 5 in Burbank, California back in August, 2015. The vault is part of the water pollution control plan for California Department of Transportation. Austin Vault Sand Filters are open air reinforced concrete vaults that utilize both sedimentation and sand filtration basins. The vault that Security Paving Company, Inc. constructed at Alameda Avenue measures 90 ft. (27.4 m) long by 30 ft. (9.1 m) wide and is 12 ft. (3.6 m) deep at its deepest location; the walls of the vault are 18 in. (45.72 cm) thick reinforced concrete. Operator Bob Wolff worked on the sand filter for five weeks supplying rebar, gang forms, and pouring concrete, “You want to keep everything close so you can have a quick cycle time. You have to move the concrete quickly and when pouring, we want to go fast.

The Link-Belt machine does that for us.” In some cases, the operator and crew got started very early in the morning, starting as early as 4 am to avoid the middle of the day heat. To make working in the dark a little easier, the crew took advantage of two options available on RTC-8080 Series II, a 24 in. (60.9 cm) LED light bar running across the top of the operator’s cab and a high intensity, remote controlled spotlight fixed to the bottom of the boom base section. Added Wolff, “Link-Belt seems to build a stronger machine. The Link-Belt machines we have are

really substantial, they really work well for our type of work, and we use them to their maximum. We use the entire chart. I know at some places, companies will only use 75 percent of the chart, but we go according to the California rules and use the cranes at capacity. They hold up real well, and they’re strong and dependable. The RTC-8080 is a very good machine. I like it,” Wolff concluded. Please visit home_news.htm to see video of Security Paving’s Link-Belt RTC-8080 Series II in action on the jobsite. Cc

Hawthorne cat promotes level 1 operator training - Get certified and get hired with certified training programs Hawthorne Cat announces new Level 1 Operator training courses. Eachcourse includes classroom instruction, simulator training, and hands-on practice with new and current models of Cat machines including Backhoe Loaders, Skid Steer Loaders, Track-Type Tractors, Excavators, Wheel Loaders, and Motor Graders.

Ron Lyons, Hawthorne Cat Certified Dealer Instructor, will be holding the courses for entry-level equipment operators throughout 2016. Mr. Lyons creates each course to improve operator proficiency and teach participants how to run the equipment the correct way. Topics include safety, maintenance, controls, and procedures. The curriculum

provides a base foundation of knowledge and caters to entry level operators interested in developing their job skills. Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate and verification card. For a complete list of upcoming courses, visit the Hawthorne Cat website. For more information, contact Ron Lyons at 858.674.7047 or Cc

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Nixon-Egli Equipment Co., Link-Belt and Connolly Crane Service, Inc.

Above Left: Connolly Crane Service, Inc.’s Link-Belt ATC-3210, 210-ton all terrain crane equipped with Nelson rolling tower boom dolly. Above Right: Connolly’s new Link-Belt RTC-8090 crane on a custom home project in Lake Tahoe.

Connolly Crane Service, Inc. is a locally owned company based in Gardnerville, NV with a yard in Incline Village, Nevada/Lake Tahoe. Established in 1987, Connolly Crane Service offers a complete line of cranes and a team of highly qualified Local 3 crane operators that stand ready to serve Reno, Lake Tahoe and all surrounding communities. Kelly Connolly is the president and owner of Connolly Crane Service and his company performs everything from general hoisting jobs to extreme hoisting projects in the mountainous terrain of Lake Tahoe. Much of their work is in new construction and maintenance, with clients serving the communications, geothermal and mining industries, as well as for energy companies and so much more. Connolly Crane Service has leased or purchased 13 Link-Belt cranes from Nixon-Egli Equipment Co. over the years and recently made the decision to go exclusively with Link-Belt cranes. Their newest acquisition is a brand new Link-Belt ATC-3210, 210-ton all terrain crane with 200.1 feet of main boom and 12-117 foot of hydraulic luffing jib. “We are excited about using the hydraulic luffing jib which will enable us to work in tight quarters,” says Connolly. “Link-Belt has just nailed it on the design of their cranes. I am just so impressed with their entire product line. They have the best load charts and easiest and fastest transport abilities of any crane available today.” Connolly is also impressed with the new Nelson rolling tower boom dolly that hitches to the rear of the crane and pins to the boom for safe transport. Link-Belt and Nelson trailers have worked together to make create this new design that meets all of California’s bridge laws. “We love Link-Belt, but we also just can’t say enough about Nixon-Egli’s entire sales, service and parts team. Especially their sales manager, Vern Gunderson, who takes my calls 24/7,” says Connolly. “The support we get from start to finish is second to none and everything from purchase to financing, to orientation, always goes smoothly. I also want to point out that their parts manager, Randy Davis, does a phenomenal job keeping us up and running. Nixon-Egli is definitely our go-to crane distributor. We count on them and they deliver.”

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CalContractor Crane & High Reach 2016  

Profiling The California Contractor

CalContractor Crane & High Reach 2016  

Profiling The California Contractor