Case Study

Leaders Earthworks and Westrac

It’s been a massive eight years for owner and director of Leader Earthworks , Phil Immisch, who specialises in bulk earthworks and plant hire services in Queensland and NSW.

This impressive growth has seen Phil take the business from a one man, one machine operation in 2014 to a company with over 40 staff and 50 pieces of equipment in 2022.

Phil has placed Leader Earthworks as experts in the industry, with a clear goal to provide excellent first-class service in all projects. “When newer, modern equipment is released, we phase out the older versions rather than stubbornly sticking with them. As a result, our fleet of Caterpillars is among the most modern in South East Queensland and North East NSW. This ensures our machines are reliable and our service maintains high safety standards,” said Phil.

Leader Earthworks is a great example of what’s possible with the right machinery partner, a great team with a can-do attitude, and the right man at the helm. With his Caterpillar machines from WesTrac by his side, you get the feeling that anything is possible and Phil’s just the man for the job.

Phil’s experience in the industry began in 2005 when he worked in civil construction and mining in NSW, Queensland and WA, before starting Leader Earthworks in 2014.

“I managed to gain a range of experience in my early years, which with hard work gave me the confidence to back myself later in my career,” said Phil.

Leader Earthworks provides plant hire and bulk earthworks contracting for civil construction, agriculture and mining projects. As a diverse, professional plant hire service and excavation company, they offer a variety of services that their operators are highly proficient at completing. These services include: excavation, drainage installation, storm water drainage installation, pipe laying, road works, driveway construction, house pads/laser levelled, retaining wall construction, demolition, dam construction, pool construction, post hole drilling and fencing, landscape preparation, dirt/rock removal and site clean ups. Catching up with Phil onsite in Port Macquarie, he shared, “We have worked on some of Australia’s largest government funded infrastructure projects, including railways, highways and bridges in NSW and Queensland. Our fleet is now over 50 pieces of equipment and our success on these projects comes down to the quality of our machinery and our highly skilled operators. We have also built a reputation for having the machinery and operators to complete work on terrain in challenging environments, like steep hills or inclines which regular machines can’t access. No one wants downtime with breakdowns or machine is ues – our Caterpillar range and our excellent relationship with WesTrac has been vital in this area. Our operators love working in our Caterpillar machines from both a performance and comfort perspective.”

“Leader Earthworks has worked with WesTrac and Caterpillar since 2017, which was our first caterpillar purchase – a 315f excavator that is still working in the fleet today – which goes to show the value and reliability of the Caterpillar brand. Since that first purchase we have gone on to significantly increase our Caterpillar fleet including: 4 x graders (140/150 AWD), 3 x D6 dozers, 1 x D6N PAT blade, 1 x D6 Next Gen PAT blade, 1 x D6 Next Gen bull blade, 14 x excavators ranging from 1.8 tonne to 50 tonne, 2 x compact track loaders 299D2 and a 299D3XE,” said Phil.

When on site filming Phil’s fleet in Port Macquarie, the team was making up for lost time as the poor weather had been the only stumbling block in getting the project back on schedule. Watching the Leader team rip into the project in full force was an impressive site and you could see that it would only take a decent run of good weather to move serious volumes of material.

“The Cat® Next Gen series of machines are great. There is no other cab in the market as comfortable as the Caterpillars and the feedback from our operators is really positive. The Next Gen Excavator’s move from hydraulic pilot valved controlled joysticks to the electric over hydraulics system has greatly helped reduce operator fatigue when sitting in the cab all day. Also, the cab doesn’t get as much heat build-up without all those hot hydraulic hoses going to each joystick, which means in summer the aircon is not working as hard to keep the cab cool. It’s also improved in terms of maintenance cost,” said Phil.

“The 3D factory GPS machines have made it a lot safer for operators not having to climb onto a blade or counterweight on an excavator twice a day to put GPS receivers on/off. It’s also reduced the likelihood of damage because they’re not accidently dropped and damaged by operators. We have found the Caterpillar machines to be reliable and the availability of parts has been great.”

“Morgan Rose has been our sales rep for a couple of years now and he has been great to deal with. He’s always very helpful and when we’ve had issues, Morgan has provided the best results for our company. A big thanks to Jim Hewitt from product support at WesTrac Grafton who has also been a big help to Leaders over the last couple of years and does a great job.”

EEM had the chance to catch up with Leader Earthworks WesTrac sales rep Morgan Rose while in Port Macquarie. Morgan shared, “I’ve been working with WesTrac here in the Northern NSW area for two and a half years and I’ve worked with Phil during that time. It’s been an amazing opportunity to work with Leader Earthworks and assist them with their needs during their time of substantial growth within the company. My goal is to get the best results for my clients, and I believe that’s what we have achieved for Phil during this very busy time in the industry. We tackle problems together and both work towards the same goals. Phil has Leader Earthwork’s equipment enrolled with WesTrac’s Fit Fleet CVAs (Customer Value Agreement), which provides Leader Earthworks and WesTrac with the ability to take care of scheduled servicing, and make sure the fleet is correctly looked after with the right parts and supplies. It means Phil can focus his time and energy into moving dirt and making money, which is exactly what he likes to do.

Morgan continued, “There’s more growth happening in the industry and Leader Earthworks is placed well to achieve that with their fleet of Next Gens and latest Caterpillar machinery. I’m looking forward to working with Phil into the future to see his company grow and be a part of it.”

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