April 4, 2019
The Wilco Northwest* team is headquartered in Alberta, Canada. Leaders in open space site development, they have extensive experience developing outdoor sports facilities, streetscapes, pedestrian and bike trails – most any kind of project where landscape construction and maintenance are front and center.
The company has a peak staff of around 250 employees and owns 100 pieces of Cat® equipment with more on the way. Their fleet is virtually 100 percent Cat brand, predominantly in the Building Construction Products (BCP) line.
Wilco Northwest President Art Maat is a son of Dutch immigrants who aspired to excellence. He draws on his parents’ values and is understandably proud of his strong work-ethic heritage. “My personality, my upbringing is to be responsible – to do a good job – always do the best job possible, “Art says. “As a result, excellence is engrained in Wilco’s corporate culture. We’re a respected contractor, and customers come to us because they know we’re going to provide high quality work.”
In turn, Wilco depends on equipment that can help them deliver on the value commitment they’ve made to their own customers.
“Quality and durability are the biggest reasons we purchase Cat® equipment,” Wilco Northwest Director of Operations Cory Grismer says, “We started back in 2009 with our first two Cat machines. Before that, we were using a competitive model and were having problems with tracks and undercarriage and everything else. We got almost triple the lifespan by switching to the Compact Track Loader (CTL) undercarriage versus previous models we were using.”
In addition to product quality and reliability, the Wilco team counts on Caterpillar and trusted Cat® dealer Finning Canada for expertise. “It’s a three-way partnership between us, Finning and Caterpillar. When a problem arises, we work together to come up with a solution, and we work around it,” Cory adds.
But trust and reliance go both ways: Caterpillar and Finning depend on input from Wilco to help make products and services the best they can be. A couple of years ago, members of the Wilco team joined Caterpillar engineers in Sanford, North Carolina, to validate a performance improvement implementation. More recently Art, Cory and team returned to Sanford and met with Caterpillar product group engineers.
“We especially value the ability to provide feedback. It’s an excellent two-way relationship,” Art explains.
Sometimes the past can influence the future, and it’s no different in the construction industry. Art agrees. “I grew up around equipment,” he says, “When I was a kid, if somebody said, ‘Bring in a Cat,’ they didn’t really mean a Caterpillar machine – they meant bring in something to push the dirt. Still, there was a perception that if you were a really GOOD contractor, you ran Cat. Now that we own Caterpillar equipment and we’ve gotten to know it … I’m not sure if Cat is really more expensive or not – you’d have to ask Cory,” Art says with a twinkle in his eyes, “But the quality is there, and we’re extremely happy with the product, the service, the innovation and the relationship. In that way, my perception as a kid is somewhat true. If you own Cat … you’ve kind of arrived.”
*The Wilco Northwest is one of four companies that comprise the umbrella corporation of the Wilco Group of Companies, including Wilco Contractors Southwest Inc. – also a valued Caterpillar customer. References to “Wilco” in this article specifically refer to Wilco Northwest, a leader in open space site development.