When Pleasant and Sons Construction decided it was time to buy a new horizontal directional drill, they didn’t realize what impact their purchase would have on Vermeer. All they knew is that they needed another drill to accommodate for their fast-growing, family-owned drilling business.
Kentucky roots, explosive growth
With a home office in Kentucky, Pleasant and Sons Construction knows the importance of sticking to your roots. The “sons” in Pleasant and Sons, Samson and Johnathon Pleasant, grew up watching their father (Steve) grow the business. “Our dad started the company when we were kids,” said Samson. “He started with construction and excavation, and then about eight years ago, we got our first drill.”
After focusing mostly on excavation and building houses, Pleasant and Sons saw an opportunity to expand their business into the telecom and fiber industry, and they took it. With that, came the need for horizontal directional drills and the capability to spread beyond their Kentucky roots.
“The last six years, it’s been about that,” said Samson. “I’d say our telecom business is around 70% – 80% of what we do year-round.”
Even though their first three of four years in the telecom drilling business were a challenge, they’ve been doing really well. They have a small but mighty team of 20 employees and have more help in the summers to maximize their workload. “It’s not really how big the business gets and how productive it gets,” said Samson. “You don’t have to have 500 people to make a good living.”
That approach has caused them to bring their skills to the entire tri-state area. Now they cover parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and there’s no sign of slowing down.
“The next three to five years will be more work than anyone can really handle,” said Samson. “I don’t see a slowdown anytime soon.”
In fact, Pleasant and Sons Construction is booked with telecom contracts for at least the next two years, which means they’ll be getting a lot of use out of their drills.
New drill, new beginnings
That brings them to needing a new drill. An increase in contracts and telecom drilling created a need for more equipment to keep them working efficiently. When it came time to make a purchase, they knew exactly who to call: their local Vermeer dealer.
“Alex Sonnenberg is one of the greatest sales guys we’ve ever had,” said Steve. “It works in our favor to work with a local establishment; to get the service you need when you live down the road.”
Pleasant and Sons Construction already had two D24x40 S3 Navigator® horizontal directional drills that they relied on to install fiber and telecom lines, but they needed a third. That’s when they found out that the drill they were buying wasn’t an ordinary drill.
Let’s rewind to July 19, 2018, when an EF3 tornado hit Vermeer Corporation’s 400,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Since then, Vermeer has been hard at work rebuilding the site, with the result being the brand-new Plant 7 facility. What Pleasant and Sons Construction discovered, was that they bought the first product that was fully assembled in the Plant 7 facility, a D24x40 S3 Navigator® horizontal directional drill (HDD).
They’ve put it into use and are already seeing success. “We’ve done really well recently,” said Steve. “We really like the D24x40 S3 cab machine. Actually, now we don’t buy anything without a cab. It’s a lot quieter and you can even hear people talking on the radio.” The excavator-style cab in the D24x40 S3 Navigator HDD has a 75.7-decibel operator ear rating and gives operators comfort, quiet and legroom.
As a family-owned business, Pleasant and Sons Construction knows how rare and special it is to work with the people you love. They continually reflect on how their business started and how much they’ve accomplished along the way.
“I couldn’t get a better present than these kids,” said Steve. “A family-owned business is a real blessing.”
Studies show that only 30% of family businesses successfully transfer ownership to the second generation, and Pleasant and Sons Construction is a testament to the 30% that do it well.
Vermeer falls under that rare category, too. With the second and third generations of the Vermeer family carrying on the legacy of innovation that started the company, they know the value of keeping a business family-owned.
These shared values drive both businesses forward and keep them focused on what’s most important. Because, at the end of the day, what matters most isn’t equipment or efficiency—it’s family.
Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region.
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