Wilco Marsh Buggies & Draglines Inc.

For more than 35 years, Wilco Marsh Buggies & Draglines Inc. has been building itself as one of the foremost leaders in soft terrain, amphibious equipment. Whether manufacturing, renting or acting as contractors, Wilco is able to provide. Field Superintendent John Ritter explains that Wilco started small but has grown to be a top-tier manufacturer. “We started off building one [machine] at a time,” he says. “Our manufacturing division is now set up to build multiple units at one time, sort of like an assembly line.”

The company mentions that it builds its soft terrain vehicles from the ground up, with a keen eye for design and a high standard of craftsmanship that is unparalleled in the industry. The company has two Louisiana facilities in Harvey and Lafayette.

Today, along with its manufacturing capabilities, services provided by Wilco include:

  • Pipeline clearing and excavation;
  • Land reclamation;
  • Hazardous waste clean up;
  • Levee work;
  • Swamp logging;
  • High-line construction; 
  • Disaster rescue; and
  • Oilfield work.
From the Ground Up

When Wilco first started, it was strictly renting out the machines it was building. However, it slowly grew and became large enough to bid on projects to supply its machines. Soon, the company acquired a contracting license to perform on projects with its own machines.

Consequently, what separates Wilco in the industry today is its sheer size. “We are different from our competition in the fact that we are the largest in the industry and have the largest amphibious excavators,” Ritter says. “We have sizes from 441 Bobcats all the way up to 354 Cat and 5800 Link-Belt with 60-foot reach.

“We have equipment carriers with decks as large as 1,800 square feet and able to carry 125,000 pounds of equipment,” he continues. “This machine is used in the oil field side of the company, it is used for P&A (plug and abandoning) old dead wells.”

In addition, Wilco is producing a new deep-water machine. Utilizing a Link-Belt 4300 excavator, the machine can sit in six feet of water and still operate.

Pleasing Customers

Wilco works to make sure that it delivers exactly what a client hires it to do on any given project. “As a contractor we strive to please all of our customers by giving them the best workmanship in all fields that we can,” Ritter explains.

Currently, Wilco is working on several projects. In Corpus Christi, Texas, it is building terraces to enhance the city’s marshlands. It is also working on the sand dunes that are being built due to the oil spill in the Gulf.

In Hackberry, La., the company recently finished a nine-month project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In three to four weeks, Wilco will start a project in south Louisiana building disposal areas for a marsh creation project.

The company has several machines working for the Tennessee Valley Authority on an ash spill in Kingston, Tenn. The spill occurred in December 2007, and the company has had as many as 14 machines working at one time on the project.

Worldwide Reputation

On the manufacturing side, Ritter says the company develops its relationship with its customers through the first class machines it builds and delivering on time at a good market price. The division will build and sell as many as 35 machines a year, with the majority going out of the country.

“Our global reputation is unsurpassed by other companies, and we sell and rent more equipment overseas than any other company,” Ritter points out. “We sell and deliver our equipment worldwide. We have equipment in Hawaii, Peru, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Australia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Russia, Venezuela, Alaska, Guyana, Panama, Mexico, Canada, Sri Lanka and many other small countries. Our primary geographical reputation has been reached – we are worldwide.”

Ritter notes that the company is on the vendor list of more than 60 contractors.

Ritter says that Wilco is still growing, especially with its divisions that deal with the industrial plant work, pipeline repairs and environmental wetland recovery.

Supportive Sister

The sister company of Wilco Marsh is Wilco Manufacturing LLC. It is through this company that all new amphibious equipment is built and sold in by the Wilco family of companies.

Wilco Manufacturing  manufactures am­phibious hydraulic undercarriages for a wide range of equipment, but notes it is primarily for hydraulic excavators. The company offers a complete line of self-propelled, amph­ibious hydraulic undercarriages that can support cranes and lifting equipment.

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