Ashland man moved by excavating award
ASHLAND — When Jeremy Hiltz started his excavation business in 1996, he had a familiar name in the construction industry, some good work references, and a pickup truck.
On March 8, Hiltz was at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas accepting his award from Equipment World magazine as Contractor of the Year for 2014. His business was chosen over 11 finalists from across the nation in a competition sponsored by Caterpillar Inc.
Hiltz was humbled by the honor.
“I’ve dedicated my life to this industry, so this award means a lot,” Hiltz said.
Editors of the magazine choose the winner after a process that is heavily based on interviews with customers of each business, and on the business’s reputation for quality work.
They chose Jeremy Hiltz Excavating Inc., which has locations in Ashland and New Hampton, based on several criteria, including success in managing companies “through the ups and downs of construction.”
The contest is limited to contractors with between $3 million and $15 million annual revenues, averaged over the past three years.
“These contractors exemplify the highest standards of construction professionals, including business acumen, marketing and equipment management expertise, attention to safety and community involvement,” according to equipmentworld.com.
As this year’s winner, Hiltz will grace the cover of the magazine in May.
The award fits the profile of Hiltz and his 50 or so employees. The company, which now has more than 100 trucks, bulldozers, and other pieces of heavy equipment, did more than $10 million in business last year, Hiltz said.
The company has done business at that level for a decade, throughout the recent economic slump, he said.
It helped that his father, Willard Hiltz, was known and appreciated in the Ashland area for his business, Hiltz Construction. Jeremy Hiltz grew up in the construction industry, but switched to excavation because he saw a need for excavation contractors.
“And I had the drive,” he said. “That first year was tough, but we’ve grown consistently from our inception, and we plan to continue growing.”
Hiltz trucks and crews are seen throughout the Lakes Region and the state, working on building and road sites among other jobs. One of the bigger projects the company has taken on recently is the work at the Hooksett rest area on Interstate 93, according to his wife and the company’s marketing specialist, Tania Hiltz.
Last fall, ground was broken on a $32 million expansion of the welcome centers, which are being designed and built by the CommonMan restaurant group under a 35-year lease with the state. The centers will include two New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet Stores that will be funded and operated by the state.
“I’m extremely proud of him, and proud of us as a company,” said Tania Hiltz, who describes herself as “the woman behind the man who moves the earth.”