Not all companies are up to speed on the latest in construction equipment, but those who have sought out new ways to improve job site efficiency know that they can rely on John Deere. Wickens Construction is one of the companies that has updated its line of equipment to incorporate Deere machinery, and its owners have never looked back.

Getting Into the Construction Business

Thomas Wickens and his two brothers were initially inspired to begin their own construction company in Montana in the 1950s. This was in part due to the establishment of the Federal Aid Highway Act in 1956, which spurred the development of a 41,000-mile national system of interstate highways.

Wickens Brothers Construction originally launched in Lewistown, Montana, and began building roads across the state shortly after. Eventually, the company was sold in 1982, but it is still going strong today.

Introducing Deere Machinery

“My grandfather was always coming up with a lot of creative ways to find a competitive advantage and be more efficient,” said Ryan Durbin, who now runs Wickens Construction with his brother, Casey. “For example, he’d add a disc in front of a motor grader and a roller behind it so he could use one piece of equipment on a small project.”

In 2020, Wickens Construction added the John Deere 872GP SmartGrade Motor Grader to its lineup, and it has completely changed the way the brothers look at their arsenal of machinery.

“My grandfather always preferred a certain brand of equipment,” said Casey. “It’s hard to switch when you have a fleet using the same filters, parts, tires, and so forth.”

The 872GP quickly changed the minds of the family with its extensive features, which include Auto-Shift PLUS, six-wheel-drive configuration, and a fuel-saving engine with Eco mode.

“It was my first time being on anything John Deere,” Casey said, reflecting on his initial introduction to the 872GP. “And after about two hours I was ready to buy it. It just clicked. I thought, ‘This thing is awesome.’”

Putting the 872GP to Use Today

Chuck Herman, who has been an operator for Wickens Construction for upwards of 20 years, remembers what it was like without the John Deere 872GP SmartGrade Motor Grader around. He said that for a half-mile-to-mile stretch of road, it used to take an eight-team crew upwards of one day just to pound stakes and take grade. Thanks to the Deere motor grader, he’s able to skip the entire process.

“It only took me a couple of hours with the machine to know I was really going to enjoy running it,” Herman said. “The hydraulics are smooth, the joysticks are comfortable, and the visibility is phenomenal.”

Today, Casey says he loves seeing the before-and-after of a job site. Knowing that his crew can move thousands of yards of dirt in a short amount of time has made his job easier, and he has Deere’s machinery to thank for it.

If you have any questions about John Deere construction equipment, you can contact your local John Deere dealer.

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