Nearly a year ago, Todd Coleman left the West Plains public development authority known as S3R3 Solutions to work full-time on a new business.
Now, he says the Deer Park-based excavation business, which he co-owns and manages with Mathew Miller, has grown even faster than he had hoped.
Coleman and Miller launched Evergreen Excavating LLC in March 2022.
“I was kind of helping on the side, and it grew quite quickly,” he says. He left the PDA in September, which was the last time he was mentioned in the Journal.
He now handles the administrative duties with Evergreen Excavating, including accounting and financing.
Coleman says he has a background in civil engineering and business startups in addition to economic development.
“I’ve been around designs and construction for a long time,” he says. “Working for … the PDA, I was around a lot of development.”
Miller’s duties include field coordination, scheduling crews, equipment maintenance, and managing materials on site.
“Mat, with his experience, is filling in a lot of holes,” Coleman says. “He has a lot of good skills to make the operations side work.”
Coleman says he’s working a lot more hours as a business co-owner, since leaving the PDA.
“There was quite a learning curve to be on the other side of it,” he says. “Contracting is challenging. As an owner, you’ve got people working for you.”
The company has had to invest in equipment to keep up with rapid growth.
“The challenging part of the business is cash flow,” he says. “We spend a lot up front on suppliers and contractors. Sometimes cash flow lags.”
That said, business is booming, Coleman claims.
“We’re already seeing 300% growth this year from last year,” he says.
He expects revenue this year will be about $6 million.
Evergreen Excavating has 21 employees.
“We run three full-time crews and one additional flex crew,” Coleman says.
The company hopes to add more crews and project managers to help with bidding next year, Coleman says.
While Coleman says he hasn’t looked back since leaving the PDA, he’s the current board chair of the West Plains Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m still tied in there,” he says. “We’ve had a few projects in that area, and a number in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, and the Post Falls Area.”
Evergreen Excavating conducts most of its work on site development with general contractors. “We also do utility projects and general projects,” he adds.
In one highly visible project downtown, Evergreen Excavating is providing civil work for Bouten Construction Co. on the $73 million Avista substation project at 222 S. Wall.
Other current and recent jobs include working with:
•Lydig Construction Inc. on the Aero Center fixed-base operator project at Spokane International Airport
•Garco Construction Inc. on the Spokane Valley Fire Department training center.
•Garco on a hoist house and ore bunker at the Hecla Mining Co. Lucky Friday Mine, near Mullan, Idaho.
•Lydig on the Mercer Mass Timber LLC factory expansion project in Spokane Valley.
The company also did excavation work for improvements at the city of Liberty Lake’s Trailhead Golf Course, and for replacing water and sewer lines for the Liberty Lake Water and Sewer District.
Despite the challenges of starting and growing a new company, Coleman says the transition to the private business “is easier on the whole than I thought it would be.”
Coleman came to the Spokane area to be the founding director of S3R3 in 2017 after working 15 years with the Port of Vancouver, Washington, the last four of which he was CEO and executive director.
S3R3 is a partnership between Spokane County, the city of Spokane, and Spokane International Airport that targets manufacturing, aerospace, and distribution development in efforts to increase the number of living-wage jobs here.
The PDA includes 9,500 acres of land encompassing the airport area.
Coleman says S3R3 fills an important role in helping to grow infrastructure to attract and accommodate business from outside the Spokane area.
Spokane County Commissioner Al French, who chairs the S3R3 board of directors, announced earlier this week that the PDA has hired Chris Pengra, economic development director for the city of West Jordan, Utah, as the permanent replacement for Coleman at S3R3.
Regarding the young private venture, Coleman adds, “What I find fun about Evergreen Excavating is, at end of day, you get to see something get built. We’re making an impact on the community in different way.”
Coleman, 54, who lives in the Deer Park area, is married and has three adult daughters and one grandchild.
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