“It Was All Survival” – Pa. Contractor Overcomes Struggles to Achieve Success (Video)

Marcia Doyle Headshot

Continuing a family tradition of self-employment, Kenny Clingerman went out on his own in 1978, placing masonry blocks and running a small timber operation. Eight years later, he wanted to pave his driveway, but couldn’t get anyone to give him a price.

A light bulb went off. Encouraged by a friend who provided his first machines, Kenny and his wife, Paula, went into the paving business in 1986. 

“Every piece of equipment we had to sit down and talk about it because we had to borrow money,” Kenny says, adding with a chuckle: “Paula’s job was keeping me straight and not letting me buy too much.”

“I’d be the one to say ‘no,’” Paula agrees. “But after a while, I just said, ‘Whatever.’”

Clingerman Incorporated – which incorporates the family’s paving, logging, saw mill and other operations – is housed in a 6,000-square-foot facility on the outskirts of Everett, Pennsylvania.

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Spring and summer, Clingerman crews are paving driveways and commercial parking lots. During the fall and winter, their focus shifts to logging.

Clingerman Inc. is one of 12 finalists for Equipment World's 2023 Contractor of the Year program. In the video above, the family recounts the struggles they went through to succeed in an industry rooted in hard work.

“Clingerman is unique in that they are successful in two completely different lines of work,” says Ryan Enck with Cat dealer Cleveland Brothers, which has been able to provide them with equipment for both sides.

Kenny believes in loving what you do. “You have to want to do it,” he says. “You get up in the morning and can’t wait to get on the job to do it. If you don’t have that feeling, don’t do it.”

That enjoyment is evident to Clingerman’s customers. “Kenny is very knowledgeable during the bidding process, listening to all our concerns and providing us with a bid on the spot,” says client Jon Yerty with Yerty’s Auto Service. “His equipment is in extremely good shape, but even their older equipment represented their equipment well. They’re a high-quality contractor.”

The Contractor of the Year program, which has been sponsored by Caterpillar since its inception, 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 roundtable discussions and an awards ceremony.

Nominate yourself – or a contractor you think we should know about – for the 2024 Contractor of the Year Awards. Submissions are due September 22, 2023. For more information, visit https://www.equipmentworld.com/contractor-of-the-year

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