Matt Pruss, Pruss Excavation, Dodge, Nebraska, has been named Equipment World’s 2021 Contractor of the Year.

In accepting the award, Pruss said: “This is a great group of contractors and I was super excited to meet them. I’m very honored to be part of this.”

The construction linage is deep in the Pruss family. Matt’s grandfather, Jim Sr., started Pruss Excavation in 1968. His father, also named Jim, joined him four years later, and Matt came on board in 2001. The company now has 40 employees and has $7 to $10 million in annual revenues performing levees, road work, wetlands, site work and lagoons.

The event also marks the first time in the program’s 21-year-history that the succeeding generation of a former finalist has been named both a finalist and a winner. Jim Pruss Jr. was a Contractor of the Year finalist in 2004. 

The company now works within a 250-mile radius of its Dodge, Nebraska, headquarters. Local authorities called on the firm when two major floods hit Nebraska in 2011 and 2019. The company’s existing fleet of pull-behind scrapers plus a few more that it bought from as far away as Florida proved themselves on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood mitigation projects during the 2011 flood.

“That was our huge giant boost,” Matt says. “We went from $3 million a year to $8 million.”

That work ethic continued on the next major flood Nebraska went through, this time in 2019. “They continued to push through on our job even while they were doing levee work for the state,” says one client. “It was a big deal. Matt knows he can’t just be an owner and pick up a paycheck. He’s very involved and he drives the ship on their modeling.”

The Equipment World Contractor of the Year program has been sponsored by Caterpillar since its inception in 2000. It recognizes contractors who display the highest standards of business acumen, equipment management expertise, attention to safety and community involvement. Each year, 12 finalists receive an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to participate in roundtables and an award ceremony.

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