Editorial: 11.20.2019

Doug Thurman Helps Keep Castle’s Equipment Rolling

Doug thurman, equipment manager

Each day, Doug Thurman gets up at the crack of dawn to make sure Castle’s earth-moving equipment is ready for action.

“By 5:30 a.m., I’m dispatching mechanics, inspecting equipment, ordering parts and helping guys with troubleshooting,” he says. “As the day goes on, I’m usually jumping from one fire to the next — either ordering parts, providing technical support, or making sure a machine is operating correctly and we’re getting the maximum production out of it.”  

On large jobs, Thurman also collaborates with Castle estimators and project managers to ensure the team specs the best equipment to handle any lifting requirements or mass excavation work.

“We’re fortunate to have a really good variety of heavy equipment, including excavators, bulldozers, tractors, scrapers and boring machines,” he says. “Plus, we have our own trucks:  service, crane, lube, dump, heavy haul and lowboy trailers to transport our equipment.”

Most weeks, Thurman splits his time between the Castle shop and various jobsites. “If I’m on a jobsite, I’m inspecting equipment and supporting our operators,” he says. “If I’m in the shop, I’m coordinating with our mechanics in the shop or in the field and completing equipment and truck fleet management responsibilities.”

As Castle’s footprint continues expanding beyond the St. Louis region, Thurman travels to support remote teams. “On our out-of-state jobs, I typically leave at early hours so I can review repairs and needs with our onsite mechanic,” he says. “I’ll do a run-through inspection of all the machines and meet with the project team to review equipment issues.”

Thurman’s fascination with heavy equipment began at about age 10, when his family’s auto mechanic business started focusing on heavy trucks, tractor-trailers and equipment. “My dad was rebuilding a giant wheel loader in the shop, and this enormous machine just sparked my love of big equipment and all things construction,” he recalls.

After graduating from high school, Thurman worked for the family business for a couple of years before broadening his experience at several equipment dealers and contractors. “I had the good fortune of doing everything related to construction—from parts, sales, service and bidding jobs, to running and maintaining equipment, to managing jobs,” he says.

When Thurman signed on with Castle in 2015, the company’s equipment fleet was less than half of its current size. “We didn’t have any lowboy tractor trailers to haul our equipment around. We had one dump truck and a float, one field service truck and no lube trucks,” he says.

In the last few years, Thurman has also witnessed a technology evolution. “We are really technology-driven, which I love,” he says. “These GPS and 3D system machines are amazing, and the new earthworks models are going to make us so efficient we’re going to wonder how we got by before.”

When he’s not working, Thurman and his wife enjoy hiking and biking. “We’re outside as much as possible,” he admits. “I just rebuilt my backyard and deck, adding a big patio and fire pit.”  

The father of two daughters, Thurman is also a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues and Saint Louis University Billikens basketball.

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