A-1 Excavating has seen significant, extended growth over the past 30 years, as the Bloomer-based road construction company has grown from 12 employees in 1990 to about 200 today.
“There is a lot of replacement work today,” said co-owner Terry Pecha. “And there will always be replacement work, because roads will deteriorate and need to be replaced. We used to just do sewer and water.
Now, we’ve expanded into road building. And we’ve expanded into some mining.”
In mid-May the company moved into its new headquarters at the intersection of Highway 64 and U.S. 53 in the town of Bloomer. They have road, sewer and water contracts across Wisconsin, as well as in Minnesota and Michigan’s upper peninsula. They also have a contract to do some work at Foxconn Technology Group’s development in the southeast corner of the state.
A-1 Excavating’s new location includes a 25,000-square-foot building and a 20,000 square-foot building, on a site totaling about 65 acres.
“To grow, you need to expand,” Pecha said. “(We picked this site) for the access to the interstate, for all of our big and heavy trucks.”
The company was honored in May as one of the businesses of the year by the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. Charlie Walker, CCEDC executive director, said the company deserves the award.
“They put a huge investment in their new facility,” Walker said. “That will allow them to grow in the future.
They’ve been a great community supporter in Bloomer.
They are well-run, and take care of their employees.” Pecha learned just a few weeks before the CCEDC banquet they were nominated. He was humbled to receive the award.
“It’s nice to be recognized in your community for growth, your reputation, your image,” Pecha said. “For me, it’s a sense of accomplishment.”
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Pecha, 55, is a Bloomer native, and he graduated from Bloomer High School in 1982. His father and a business partner had started A-1 Excavating in the early 1970s.
Upon graduating from high school, Pecha went to work for the company.
“Once I started in the business, I knew it was something I wanted to do,” he said. “I liked the challenge. I like that it is different; always in different locations.”
Pecha’s brother, Todd, joined the business in 1988. By then, their father was the sole owner of the company.
“We purchased the company from my father in 1992,” he said.
Terry has the title of president, and Todd is vice president, but they are both co-owners.
In 1997, they built a 15,000-square-foot facility in the southeast corner of Bloomer. He decided in 2014 to build a new headquarters, and purchased the location north of the city. They have now sold that location to the city, as they moved all their work to the new site.
Pecha admits he was nervous about the investment in the new headquarters. He declined to say the total cost of the new facility.
“I was apprehensive and nervous then (in 1997), and I had the same feelings today,” he said.
Pecha said about 30 employees work at the Bloomer office, along with the drivers. He speaks highly of his staff.
“Construction workers are hard-working, dedicated employees,” he said. “It’s family-sustaining, repetitive work.”
While construction is halted from the end of November until early April, Pecha says they stay busy in the winter by bidding on jobs and fixing equipment, getting it ready for the next building season.