Harold Putzke started the business in 1938 with a shovel and a dump truck. It has grown to include five tandem dump trucks, two bulldozers, two backhoes, and more.
Jones worked for Putzke 14 years before purchasing the business. "I ran the bulldozer for Harold and I'm still doing it," said Jones. Mel Schaefer is another employee who worked for Putzke and is still working with Jones. He ran the backhoe with Putzke and is still running the backhoe, Jones added.
Jones built the present office site in 1977. The company, under Putzke, was first located in what is today Wally's G&T.
In the early days of the business, they minded and hauled gravel from what is today the fresh water pond near the city lagoons. They also utilized township gravel pits. Jones now owns 70 acres north of Paynesville where he has his mining and gravel operation.
The biggest change for Jones over the years has been the regulations required by the state to dig individual sanitary sewer systems. "They are not simple compared to when I started," he added. State regulations require a design for each system. Jones' son, Brian, is the licensed designer for the company. Brian has been with the company seven years.
According to Mel Jones, they used to need a different license for each county. Now Paynesville Excavating is bonded and licensed through the state and can work anywhere in the state.
Another change has been the modernization of equipment. Where it used to take two people to use a transit and survey a site, now it is a one-person job because of the utilization of lasers to take measurements.
Besides building sewer systems, Paynesville Excavating does contract hauling for construction companies working in the area. Paynesville Excavating will also be hauling gravel on Lake Henry and Zion township roads this summer.
Paynesville Excavating has eight full and part-time employees.
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