Reaching New Heights
Commitment to Service, Safety Helps Digging & Rigging Climb to Top of Crane Industry
The company may be Digging & Rigging, Inc., but since 1981, the family-owned firm has been doing more than its name implies. The Gregory family’s resume also includes hauling, renting and storing, while thriving and evolving.
With six locations in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Maryland-based firm proudly serves the Eastern Seaboard. The Gregorys have built a reputation as one of the most dependable, qualified and professional crane and rigging companies in the region, a point of pride for all three generations working there today.
“It’s our equipment, our safety department and our employees that help us stand out,” says founder and President Jim Gregory.
“Our customers vary from individuals purchasing modular homes for a single house set to large contractors setting steel and everything in between,” says Jim Gregory Jr., Vice President.
Digging & Rigging’s fleet machines are one-owner cranes, managed by expert mechanics who can provide full maintenance records.
In its meticulously maintained fleet, Digging & Rigging offers Carry Deck Cranes up to 15 tons, rough terrain cranes up to 25 tons, truck cranes up to 110 tons, lattice boom cranes up to 200 tons and all-terrain cranes up to 900 tons.
The company boasts rigging equipment, lowboy, drop deck and flatbed trailers for heavy-hauling jobs. It also can help accommodate clients’ shipping and receiving needs. “Our vast inventory of equipment means that we also have an ability to respond quickly,” the senior Jim says, citing the company’s 89 mobile cranes.
Team of Professionals
But it’s the 225 employees that have helped take Digging & Rigging to the next level. The staff includes experienced crane operators and truck drivers who are meeting the challenge of living up to the Gregorys’ standards for punctuality, strong work ethic and overall professionalism.
“Our pride in our work—a result of the high standards we set for safety, courtesy, performance and efficiency—enables us to stand out,” says John Gregory, Business Manager.
Booming business and growth mean Digging & Rigging is often looking to add to its team while working to maintaining the feel of a small, family-owned business. It is creating and implementing an apprentice program in hopes of alleviating workforce woes and training competent, focused employees, the senior Jim says.
“We are in the process of building an apprentice program to build our own help,” he notes.
Safety is top of mind for all Digging & Rigging crews to keep sites risk free for themselves and customers. All employees undergo an extensive training program, and the crane operators, truck drivers and riggers surpass all qualifications for their jobs.
The team strives to maintain a completely safe work environment. All employees are equipped with standard safety gear in addition to Job Safety Analysis documents to assess the safety and security of every job site.
“Our people are the backbone of our success,” Jim says. “We are always looking for ways and procedures to strengthen our safety standards while helping our crews and riggers work more efficiently.”
In addition, safety directors are made available at all times to ensure all precautions and protocol are followed throughout every job.
Digging & Rigging outfits its highly skilled workforce with a fleet of top-of-the-line equipment.
In more than 35 years in business, the company’s founder has witnessed his industry’s tools evolve into high-performance, technology-enabled machinery. “The equipment has gone from the dark age to space age,” Jim says.
Not long ago, and with an eye toward safety, the company opted to retrofit a Grove crane with Samson K-100 synthetic rope, a high-performance hoist line for mobile cranes.
Rather than steel-wire hoist ropes, K-100 uses high-performance, high-modulus fiber synthetic ropes. It was created in a way that enhances spooling performance and provides the same type of strength as the wire rope it replaces.
K-100’s lighter weight makes it easier to handle and reduces the risk of injury from broken strands, one reason Digging & Rigging opted for it. In fact, after employing the K-100, the firm posted quicker, safer reeving operations, and kinking and birdcaging were eliminated. The change also helped simplify rope inspection internally and externally. The change to K-100 was deemed safer and more efficient.
In another show of its commitment to top-of-the-line, safe equipment, Digging & Rigging last year purchased 13 new axle lines, including G-SL ModulMAX and PowerMAX models, from specialized transport equipment manufacturer Faymonville and quickly put them to work.
KHL Group, a firm that provides international market trends and reporting on the construction industry, stated that the equipment’s initial outing was transporting a 210,000-pound transformer. It was moved with a nine-axle combination and an extra low flatbed. To move the transformer from railcar to the ModulMAX, Digging & Rigging relied on its 250-metric-ton capacity Liebherr LTM 1250-6.1 wheeled mobile telescopic crane.
But the Gregorys’ job wasn’t done quite yet. The team then moved the transformer with a four-axle Kenworth tractor to the substation a mile away. KHL reported that in total, the combination had a gross weight of 360,000 pounds and an overall length of 115 feet.
“The ModulMAX made easy work of some tight turns at the load site and at the substation,” the elder Jim told KHL. “The low deck height made it easy to clear several utility lines and stop lights along the route.”
The logistical planning of that job is not unique. Digging & Rigging’s team must employ high-level planning to successfully complete its jobs safely and efficiently. But even with more than three decades’ worth of complications and challenges, a few jobs stand out to the Gregorys.
There was the raising of an 800,000-pound water tank in State College, Pennsylvania, which required crews to employ six cranes at once and the installation of longer legs for added water pressure. Digging & Rigging also assisted with the uprighting of a rocket at NASA Wallops Flight Facility launch pad in Wallops Island, Virginia, using an LTM 1400-7.1 crane. Thanks to Gregory’s team, the U.S. Capitol Building got in the holiday spirit with a large and festive Christmas tree.
The Gregorys also have bragging rights for work at the MGM National Harbor resort on the Potamac River just outside Washington, D.C. “We had cranes with sizes ranging from our mini crane to our 900-ton and crews on site rotationally for many months, working for several different customers and trades,” Jim Jr. says. “The final piece of the project was placing the brand’s iconic lions at the entrance, which involved many of our talented riggers and fabricators.”
It’s not often that Digging & Rigging’s leadership team thinks back on projects, rather they are focused on the future and what more they can accomplish.
Frequent changes to regulations necessitate flexibility in policies and operations protocols. “We are constantly reviewing our policies, processes and procedures to ensure that we stay ahead of the changes,” says Jim Jr. “The crane business has become much more complex, involving technical standards and regulatory expectations that were not considered in 1981, when we started.”
Digging & Rigging aims to increase its regional market share by continuing to invest in the newest technologies and in striving for excellence on every job. “We’re always ready to kick it up a notch and get bigger, better and safer,” Jim adds.