A John Deere Publication

Dal Dirt completes site prep for a six-apartment housing development. John Deere 850L SmartGrade™ and 850K Dozers and 470G LC Excavators remove the dirt, and then churn it over so it can be oversaturated, and moisture conditioned by water cannons. The dirt is then spread back over the ground before it is compacted to proper density. The 850L and a Deere motor grader then perform final grade.

Spring 2024

Lone Stars


Dal Dirt succeeds by focusing on each individual while building teamwork

Clock Icon 7 MIN READ

Put people first. It’s a simple enough concept. But in the dirt-moving industry, this idea often gets lost as companies compete with each other to be more productive, tech savvy, and efficient. But Jeff Dean, chief operating officer and founder of Dal Dirt, has loftier ambitions. He believes the company’s purpose isn’t solely to move dirt and change the land. When he founded the business in 2018, he knew his new company could accomplish even more by making people a priority.

Despite exponential growth in recent years, the Dallas-based civil construction contractor has never lost sight of this. “I take pride in Dal Dirt because everyone is definitely heard,” says Jason Butt, the company’s project manager.

Butt has been working in the excavation industry since he was 18. Working for Dal Dirt is a dream come true. “I just love heavy equipment and the dirt. It’s fast-paced, and every day is different. It’s just fun and I’m always smiling.”


Nailed it!

Dal Dirt’s philosophy of putting people first is paying off. When it started with 10 employees in 2018, the company earned $200,000. Today, Dal Dirt employs 70 people and will make an estimated $26 million in 2023, growing into one of the leading excavation contractors in North Texas.

“I attribute our growth to hiring good people and developing strong relationships with general contractors,” says Operations Manager Bill Harris. “The results speak for themselves. We provide a good product and are one of the best dirt-work contractors in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.”

Appropriately for the “small-family company,” the bulk of Dal Dirt’s work is multifamily housing. At any given time, the company is managing 10 to 15 earthmoving jobs in North Texas, including mass excavation, fine grading for paving, site grading, and moisture conditioning.

The company’s biggest challenge is the soil. “We have the most expansive soil in the world right here in North Texas,” explains Harris. “It’s a huge obstacle.” To work with the soil, it must be preswelled or moisture conditioned.

On a jobsite near Grand Prairie, which lies between Dallas and Fort Worth, the company completes site prep for a six-apartment housing development. John Deere 850L SmartGrade™ and 850K Dozers and 470G LC Excavators remove the dirt, and then churn it over so it can be oversaturated and moisture conditioned by water cannons. The dirt is then spread back over the ground before it is compacted to proper density. The 850L and a Deere motor grader then perform final grade.

Harris surveys the jobsite, keeping a vigilant eye on the machines as the process unfolds. “As the excavation contractor, it is critical for us to nail grade,” he says. “We must be able to turn the site over to the next contractor and tell them that we are on grade and our job is finished.”


Tight grading tolerances and tighter relationships

SmartGrade technology helps operators achieve grade within very tight tolerances. “We can just plug the plan into the SmartGrade machine and go,” says Harris. “We don’t move too much dirt or too little. We move just the right amount. With fuel and material costs rising, we need to be as efficient as possible. SmartGrade helps us do that.”

Using SmartGrade machines, Dal Dirt has seen production increase significantly compared to machines without the system. SmartGrade helps the company meet production goals more quickly. Operators don’t have to wait around for someone to stake out or survey the site. And they don’t have to rework an area after it’s been verified by someone manually. Operators have all the information they need at their fingertips and right on the screen. SmartGrade does the thinking for them and brings the site to grade faster.

Dal Dirt has a tight relationship with its local John Deere dealer, RDO Equipment Co. The dealership has extensive knowledge of SmartGrade and other solutions to help Dal Dirt be successful. And they offer rapid support to handle any problems that may come up on the jobsite.

“From financing a new piece of equipment to providing immediate service to any issues in the field, RDO Equipment is with us every step of the way,” says Butt. “They are part of our family.”

Dal Dirt is serviced by RDO® Equipment Co., Fort Worth, Texas.

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