Mike & Tim Hochstetler are no strangers to hard work. They began their career at a young age working full-time on their neighbor’s farm. At 18, Mike transitioned into a role with their uncle, who had been working in the vegetation industry, and his brother Tim joined the team three years later. In 2011, they decided to take a leap of faith and start Mint City Tree Service. They specialize in the clearing of brush and small trees, trimming and removing large trees, as well as offering long term tree and vegetation management programs designed for all specific geographic locations.
Based out of Bremen, Indiana, Mint City immediately made an impact on the power grid industry. But it wasn’t until the spring of 2020 when an existing customer who appreciated Mint City’s grit and hard work suggested they go into the underground industry due to a significant need for underground contractors. Interested in this new challenge, Mint City’s leadership team decided to focus on fiber optics due to high demand and a state-wide movement to bring broadband into rural areas.
In the spring of 2020 Mint City Utility Services was created and their underground division was launched. At that time, LaWayne Slabaugh, was brought on as an additional partner to oversee daily operations. The utility division focuses on their original operation within the vegetation segment, while the underground division focuses on HDD related jobs.
Ten days before the lockdown, Mike had come to the Fort Wayne territory manager, Dave Brumbaugh, to figure out first steps for their new venture. The Mint City team faced obstacles right out of the gate in regard to Covid-19. However, they were determined to overcome these complications and lean on a great partnership with Vermeer Midwest in order to do so.
“Dave played a massive part of equipping us and giving us confidence.”
– Mike Hochsetler
After purchasing their first drill (D20x22) from Vermeer Midwest, Mint City was ready to roll. Before going live, they spent time with Dave learning the fundamentals of drilling and how to be efficient with their crews. When it came to their first job, they received on-site help from both Dave and VMW’s HDD Solutions Specialist, Paul Prunty. Dave worked with Mike and his team on locating, while Paul helped out with questions on the drill.
When it comes to underground, Mint City sticks with Vermeer – not only for the machine, but also for the service and commitment Vermeer Midwest provides.
Mike affirmed Vermeer Midwest’s commitment:
“You can have the best machine, but if you don’t have someone to back you up, then you can’t do work. But you guys give us ongoing support and service.”
Mike has now added two more drills to his fleet and recruited a total of 13 team members on the utility side, so they’re able to tackle even bigger jobs with Indiana’s Rural Electric Membership Coop. “Our goal as a company is to help our fellow Hoosiers get high speed internet,” Mike says. There’s a lot of work to be done in these rural areas and Vermeer Midwest is proud to partner with Mint City as they break new ground in the fiber world.