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Making the Grade

A+ BBB rating matched by reputation for quality.

Any company that is able to last 51 years in business is going to develop a track record for the quality of its work and overall level of customer satisfaction.

For founder Ken Adler and his son, Doug, nothing is more important than upholding the hard-earned and well-deserved reputation of Adler Excavating. Located in Haubstadt, Indiana, near Evansville, both father and son are committed to doing every job right, without cutting corners.

Confirmed by a consistent Better Business Bureau rating of A+, Ken and Doug are delivering on their shared commitment to quality. As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

“Adler is a surname of Germanic origin meaning eagle,” says Doug, who now directs the company. “From the very beginning in 1963, my dad has been focused on keeping a watchful eye on the quality of work that we do.”

When Doug came into the business in 1988, Adler Excavating had already established a rock-solid reputation. His challenge was to learn the ropes and help his dad carry that reputation forward.

“Working with your dad can present unique challenges,” Doug says. “Some are simply generational. Others are more complicated. But it didn’t take me too long to realize that dad really does know best. Word-of-mouth referrals are a really big plus in our business growth. That’s one thing that I think people associate with Adler Excavating—when we do a job, they know it’s going to be done right.”

Diversity Fuels Expansion

Working within a 50-mile radius of Evansville, the Adlers and seven employees have developed a solid business that benefits from a diverse mix of work. Residential and commercial excavating are mainstays, along with a range of land improvement services including pond building, irrigation, drainage and clearing brush and timber. An occasional demolition job has also helped serve customer needs.

More recent specialties are digging trenches and laying PVC pipe to improve drainage. The volume has grown to the point where owning its own pipe distributorship made economic sense.

 Utilizing versatile Cat equipment and attachments has helped expand the scope of jobs Adler performs. A 289C Multi Terrain Loader excels on smaller jobs such as building driveways, but also comes in handy on the bigger jobs.

“Regardless of the size of the job, it has really helped us in a variety of ways,” Doug says. “We can get more competitive in bidding the bigger jobs, and we can get into smaller areas with it, too.”

Ken Adler says the Multi Terrain Loader has frequently replaced the need for use of a 953C Track Loader on jobs.

“There were times when we were working on driveways or smaller jobs, and the smallest thing we had was a track loader,” Ken says. “Instead of that, we bring in the 289C, and it works real well.”

The low ground pressure and the tracks on the 289C enable Adler to work more effectively in wet conditions. Combined with the elevated sprocket, there is minimal impact to lawns, curbs and driveways.

“We can come in and finish the job when it’s a little wet,” Doug says. “And, with the air suspension seat it’s a comfortable riding machine. And there is good visibility from the cab—it’s just a really good machine.”

Adler’s 315D Hydraulic Excavator is another example of a smaller machine providing added versatility.

“We have a larger excavator, but since we added the 315D, I’d say we use it 70 percent of the time over the bigger one—it fits the smaller jobs much better,” Ken says.

Because Adler requires a permit from the state to move its larger excavator, the 315D excavator has become that much more valuable, as it does not need a permit to be transported to a jobsite.

“Shane, our representative from Whayne Supply, was a big help in finding the right excavator for us,” Doug says. “We wanted to go as big as we could without permitting, and he recommended a 315D. It has worked out very well for us.”

While the company has a history of doing demolition work in rural areas, over the last several years it has started performing urban demolition.

“We will take houses or apartment complexes down, and the thumb-equipped 315D works well in those situations,” Doug says. “It’s easier to get in there, and it has the reach to take down a two-story house—it works great. The longer boom is ideal for that, and also for digging trenches.”

Adler says the hydraulic power on the 315D excavator is strong and smooth, with good breakout force.

“I’m not a small guy, I’m fairly tall, so I like the big cab, too,” he adds. “It has a lot of room for the operator and a lot of glass in it, so I can really see well all around.”

Adler uses several attachments for the 315D Hydraulic Excavator, including a shear and a brush rake.

50 Years and Counting

Now in its 51st year of operation, Adler Excavating has built a niche as a contractor that can perform a wide range of jobs without missing a beat.

“A lot of it is about building relationships, too,” Doug says. “A lot of guys will tell me ‘just do the job as if it was yours.’ They trust us to do it the right way.”

Adler’s largest excavating job to date came in 2008 when they completed the dirt and excavation work for New Generation Dairy in Owensville, Indiana. The job spanned more than six months and included construction of large building pads for the free-stall dairy, digging a large wastewater lagoon, and construction of perimeter roads surrounding the dairy along with general excavation work.

After running 953C Track Loaders for many years, Doug says he is sold on the quality and reliability of Cat equipment.

“It’s the same thing with excavators and dozers, we just wouldn’t switch to another brand,” he says. “We really like Cat machines. I don’t think anything else compares to them as far as the way they’re built, how they operate and how comfortable they are.”



“The parts are always good from Caterpillar, and we experience very high reliability with Cat equipment,” Doug says. “It’s versatile equipment, and reliable in that we have used it from day one.”

Adler has several excavator bucket sizes that he matches to the different job requirements. “We have a six-foot Cat bucket, and the pin grabber is really nice—we can just switch from bucket to bucket,” Doug says.

Ken adds that the thumb attachment is a big plus on demolition and other jobs.

“I think there’s more steel in Cat equipment,” Ken points out. “Their machines are built stronger compared to other brands—small things like the handles you grab. It seems like when they build a machine, a lot of thought and pre-engineering goes into it.”


“If we need something, Shane, our representative with Whayne Supply, is always very responsive to our needs,” says Doug Adler, principal of Adler Excavating.

“Occasionally, we need to rent something and I will call Shane. If he doesn’t know right away, he gets back to me quickly,” Doug says. “So, that’s a pretty nice deal, he gets right on it. We have come to rely on Whayne Supply and their fast response in meeting our equipment needs.”

Company founder Ken Adler likes the parts availability and the fact that Whayne Supply remains open late.

When it comes to equipment purchases, Cat Financial takes care of a lot of pre-financing work for Adler.

“It’s 100 percent faster than going somewhere else,” Ken says. “We bought our newest excavator and skid steer at the same time, and it was really simple as far as getting the financing set up for it; it was just a big plus. They take the burden off of us.”

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Categories: Construction,Compact Track Loaders,Multi Terrain Loaders,Small Dozers