Going the Distance

In McDonald, Pennsylvania, the team at Absolute Reclamation Services (ARS) prides itself on getting the job done right the first time. As their name states, ARS does reclamation work, but they don’t just dabble in it here and there. Their all-in, “get ‘er done” attitude is a testament to the tough jobs they take on and the many services they offer.

“We do work anywhere from residential developments to retail developments to gas line right-of-ways to seeding and mulching to erosion and sedimentation control,” said ARS co-owner, Roger Zacher.

“We also do maintenance work where we go in and redo gravel roadways, replace storm drain structures and convert from sedimentation basins to storm water management systems.”

While ARS has only been around for three years, the two men who started the company have over two decades of experience in land reclamation. Their experience in different industries allows ARS to thrive and prosper as a new business.

“Zacher and I go back a lot of years,” said ARS co-owner, Eric Vaccarello. “We met in the early 1990s, became friends and did some earth-moving projects together. Zacher practically built three-fourths of Robinson Township, and since I have a commercial land clearing company called Land Clearing Specialists, he came to work with me there in 2008.”

Through their friendship and working relationship, Vaccarello and Zacher formed ARS together in 2013.

In addition to ARS and Land Clearing Specialists, there is a sister company called Wood Waste Recycling, where the materials the crew clears are shredded and chipped into mulch products.

It’s the diversity of their knowledge base and experience in different industries that makes ARS a success.

ARS reclamation site
“ARS really compliments Land Clearing Specialists and Wood Waste Recycling,” Zacher said. “It’s the fact that we go in and do gas line right-of-ways, clear paths and perform the initial installation of erosion control systems and at the end of it come back in to do the seeding and mulching. It all works hand in hand.”

Zacher said their customers really appreciate the fact that   his team can provide so many services so they don’t need to go looking for other contractors to complete a job.

“We have a very, very vast knowledge within our group because we come from different backgrounds,” Zacher said. “Matt Kozares, our equipment manager, has a business-minded attitude and is an excellent equipment operator, so he understands the maintenance of the equipment. I have an extensive background in site development and earth moving. Vaccarello worked for another land clearing company before starting his own. A lot of people who work with us come from backgrounds different from us, so there’s very little out there that one of us hasn’t had our hands on or seen before.

“We put our minds together to solve issues so that when the phone rings it’s very seldom that our answer is, ‘No, we can’t do that,’” Zacher continued. “If one person doesn’t know how to do something, someone else in our organization has probably been in that situation before and can get it done.”

With over 150 machines between the three companies, Vaccarello and Zacher are well equipped to tackle even the biggest projects. Their fleet includes several Vermeer machines, including a SC30TX stump cutter, a BC1500 brush chipper and a Catapult® CPX9000 bale processor.

For jobs that require a covering of straw over the dirt, the team at ARS relies on the Vermeer Catapult® CPX9000 bale processor. Before this, they were using a small square bale blower to spread forage material over freshly seeded ground at job sites.

“When we were using the small square bale blower, someone would have to drive the machine while two guys would be feeding the machine with a constant supply of straw,” Zacher explained. “(The CPX9000) has reduced the amount of manpower significantly. It’s basically a one-man operation now where he can pick up the bales, load the bales and lay the material down right away.

“I like the fact that we can self-load it,” Zacher continued. “We don’t need to have an additional piece of equipment there to place the bale inside of it. We can just back up to it, back under the bale and it loads itself. No additional equipment is necessary.”

Zacher said in addition to decreasing the amount of labor needed to get the job done, the CPX9000 also increases his team’s productivity and they’re able to get jobs done faster than they were before. With this bale processor, he’s able to distribute straw consistently and accurately at long distances.

“Once we have everything set how we want, we’re getting straw out 80 to 100 feet,” Zacher said. “Most areas we’re covering are anywhere from 75 to 100 feet wide, so with one pass we’re able to go down through the center and get full coverage all the way across.”

Zacher said only having to make one pass helps them avoid soil compaction, which makes it easier for the grass seed to grow.

“With the blower we had before, we’d have to make multiple passes to get done and that machine just couldn’t blow the straw as far,” Zacher said. “Increasing our speed of operation and reduction
of manpower are the two biggest reasons we decided on the CPX9000.”

Equipment productivity is something that is important to Zacher and Vaccarello. With three businesses on the line, this is something they spend a great deal of time thinking about. But at the end of the day, it’s not the only thing they value.

“I’m most proud of our people,” Vaccarello said. “We constantly get feedback from customers that our guys out in the field do a great job. That’s what I’m most proud of; the people we have working for us.”

With a team of experts in many facets of the industry, it’s clear that Vaccarello and Zacher have a crew that isn’t afraid to dive into a tough job, get their hands dirty and go the distance for their customers.

“We don’t leave a site until the job is done,” Zacher said.