Working for a city means being prepared for the unexpected at all times. Residents depend on municipal contractors to keep everyday utilities operating properly and to respond to any issues in a timely manner. In order to meet those expectations, a city needs to follow careful planning and safety measures as well as employ the right equipment.

The City of Waco is no exception. They went to their Vermeer Texas-Louisiana location with one goal — to find a vacuum excavator they could use every day, that met their specific requirements and that was backed by support they could count on. Johnny Matthews, a sales representative who’s been with Vermeer Texas-Louisiana for 12 years, was determined to meet all their needs and find them the perfect machine.

Meeting equipment must-haves

“The City of Waco was facing an increased need to safely expose utilities on a frequent basis,” says Matthews. “Marshall Betts with the City of Waco Utility Department contacted Vermeer Texas- Louisiana and McLaughlin about adding a vacuum excavator to their fleet. Mr. Beets brought a specific list of requirements of things they wanted in a vacuum. We started sorting through those must-haves to identify potential options to show them.”

 What was at the top of the list? A vacuum with enough power to tackle any project and that is backed by local, timely dealer support. The machine that ended up checking those boxes was the Vermeer VX80-800 built by McLaughlin.

Powered by an 85 hp (63.4 kW) Kubota Diesel engine and a 1025 cfm (29 m³/min) 15-inch (38.1 cm) mercury blower, the VX80-800 is powerful enough to handle the inconsistent, sometimes-rocky ground conditions in Waco. Matthews was confident in the suction capability of the VX80-800 and its ability to remove any type of soil the City came across. The machine also has the capability to reach and expose the deeper utilities city workers knew they’d encounter.

The City of Waco also knew whatever vacuum it selected would be part of its daily equipment rotation. Any machine that is being used that often must be easy to service and have nearby, expert support to address any issues and repairs quickly and efficiently.

“Vermeer Texas-Louisiana, and all Vermeer dealers for that matter, stand out in the way we take care of our customers,” says Matthews. “We find the right machine and then we’re always there to back it with the local parts and service our customers need to maximize their uptime and meet their project specifications.”

Customizable features sweeten the deal

In addition to meeting the power and service requirements, Matthews and the Vermeer Texas-Louisiana team were able to achieve some special customization requests to win the City of Waco bid. This included adding a hydraulic chisel, which the City could use to break up asphalt on various jobs. The VX80-800 was a natural fit for this request since it had the necessary cfm required to power the attachment.

The city also opted to add custom lighting to increase safety for both workers and residents for projects that take place during evening and overnight hours. Additional water hoses completed the customizations that sealed the deal for the City of Waco. Matthews says the McLaughlin & Vermeer of Texas willingness to modify the machine in order to meet the requests is the reason why the City of Waco ultimately selected the VX80-800.

“I knew this was a special build and that there were going to be some extras that needed to be incorporated,” says Matthews. “Overall, the quality of the machine and the support McLaughlin can provide is something I felt comfortable representing. It was just a great partnership, and we were able to help the city get what they wanted.”

As far as how the machine is running out in the field, Matthews is confident the City of Waco is pleased with the selection.

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