Leader Earthworks sees amazing growth with Cat equipment

Phil Immisch from Leader Earthworks has grown his business from a one man, one machine operation in 2014 to a large company with over 40 staff and 50 pieces of equipment in 2022.

This story was produced by Caterpillar and Earthmoving Equipment Magazine in June 2022. Below is a short edited version of that case study. The full-length original can be found here.


It’s been a massive eight years for owner and director of Leader Earthworks, Phil Immisch, who specialises in bulk earthworks and plant hire services in the northern parts of NSW.

This impressive growth has seen Phil take the business from a one man, one machine operation in 2014 to a company with over 40 staff and 50 pieces of equipment in 2022. What is Phil's strategy for achieving success and growth?

“When newer, modern equipment is released, we phase out the older versions rather than stubbornly sticking with them. As a result, our fleet of Cat equipment is among the most modern in northern NSW. This ensures our machines are reliable and our service maintains high safety standards,” said Phil.

Leader Earthworks (Leader) is a great example of what’s possible with the right machinery partner, a great team with a can-do attitude, and a true 'leader' at the helm.

Leader Earthworks Services

Adding to his team and fleet over the last few years has allowed Phil to diversify and grow Leader to offer a variety of services and take on more projects than ever before.

Leader provides plant hire and bulk earthworks contracting for civil construction, agriculture and mining projects. As a diverse, professional plant hire service and excavation company, they offer a variety of services that their operators are highly proficient at completing. These services include: excavation, drainage installation, storm water drainage installation, pipe laying, road works, driveway construction, house pads/laser levelled, retaining wall construction, demolition, dam construction, pool construction, post hole drilling and fencing, landscape preparation, dirt/rock removal and site clean ups.

“We have worked on some of Australia’s largest government funded infrastructure projects, including railways, highways and bridges. Our fleet is now over 50 pieces of equipment and our success on these projects comes down to the quality of our machinery and our highly skilled operators. We have also built a reputation for having the machinery and operators to complete work on terrain in challenging environments, like steep hills or inclines which regular machines can’t access. No one wants downtime with breakdowns – our Caterpillar range and our excellent relationship with WesTrac has been vital in this area. Our operators love working in our Cat machines from both a performance and comfort perspective,” said Phil.

Cat Equipment Makes a Difference

Leader Earthworks began buying Cat equipment in 2017, bringing in WesTrac as a trusted machinery partner. Their first purchase was a Cat 315F excavator that is still hard at work today. Today half of Leader's fleet is Cat® brand including 14 excavators, four graders, three dozers and two compact track loaders.

Leader Earthworks 2022 Construction Site

“Cat Next Gen machines are great. There is no other cab in the market as comfortable and the feedback from our operators is really positive. The Next Gen Excavator’s move from hydraulic pilot valved controlled joysticks to the electric over hydraulics system has greatly helped reduce operator fatigue when sitting in the cab all day. Also, the cab doesn’t get as much heat build-up without all those hot hydraulic hoses going to each joystick, which means in summer the aircon is not working as hard to keep the cab cool. It’s also improved in terms of maintenance cost,” said Phil.

“The 3D factory GPS machines have also made it a lot safer for operators not having to climb onto a blade or counterweight on an excavator twice a day to put GPS receivers on/off. It’s also reduced the likelihood of damage because they’re not accidently dropped and damaged by operators. We have found the Cat machines to be reliable and the availability of parts has been great.”

WesTrac is the right partner

Morgan Rose has been the WesTrac rep providing service to Leader for many years. 

Leader Earthworks 2022

"It’s been an amazing opportunity to work with Leader Earthworks and assist them with their needs during their time of substantial growth. My goal is to get the best results for my clients, and I believe that’s what we have achieved for Phil during this very busy time in the industry. We tackle problems together and both work towards the same goals," says Morgan.

"Phil has his equipment enrolled with WesTrac’s FitFleet CVAs (Customer Value Agreement), which provides Leader Earthworks and WesTrac with the ability to take care of scheduled servicing, and make sure his fleet is correctly looked after with the right parts and supplies. It means Phil can focus his time and energy into moving dirt and making money, which is exactly what he likes to do."

Morgan concludes “There’s more growth happening in the industry and Leader Earthworks is placed well to achieve that with their fleet of Next Gens."

Video by Earthmoving Equipment Magazine


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