It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest... by helping others to succeed.

There comes a pivotal, make-or-break opportunity that every young business must face. That opportunity came for carl and David “Buck” Thomas four years after the brothers started Tucson-based T.B. Contractors, Inc. The Thomas brothers already were well known in Arizona copper and coal mining circles for the contracting work they had done on previous open pit mine projects ­­­– infrastructure/utility installation, retention pond construction and maintenance, demolition, capping and remediating old mines.

Then in October 1997 came the opportunity for T.B. Contractors to prove their mettle. The collapsed wall of an Arizona copper mine tailings pond, which was being covered by mine rock as part of a closure, released nearly 300,000 cubic yards of rock and tailings into the dry streambed of a nearby creek. The massive emergency project would require a contractor equipped with enough men and machines to remove the debris, reestablish, revegetate and stabilize a mile-and-a half of the affected creek bed. It would require someone with the political savvy to work well with an array of governmental agencies. And, the job would take months to complete. Carl and Buck Thomas accepted the challenge.

T.B. Contractors marshaled a force of 175 people to work the project 24/7 for the next ten months. All tolled, 1998 turned out to be a $15 million revenue year for the company – nearly $14 million of it from the streambed cleanup. With machines running round-the-clock, the crew took delivery of 10,000 gallons of fuel twice a week. As Carl points out, “I’m sure glad it wasn’t at today’s fuel prices!” Their local Caterpillar® dealership dedicated a Field Service Technician to the project for constant machine care. “We were one of the largest customers for rental, sales and service with Empire during that ten months,” says Buck. T.B. Contractors dedicated most of their Cat® fleet of hydraulic excavators, track- type tractors, wheel loaders and articulated trucks to the job. If they needed additional equipment, they ordered it from Empire on a RPO basis.

T.B. Contractors’ entire heavy equipment fleet is Caterpillar. “Everything we have is Cat equipment,” says Buck. “Anything we don’t have Cat doesn’t make.” Taking advantage of a Customer Service Agreement (CSA), T.B. Contractors relies on Cat Field Service Technicians for on-site repairs and preventive maintenance.

David "Buck" Thomas


Buck Thomas is the founder of TB Contractors, Inc. and serves as the company’s President/CEO since its inception.

Dean Craun


Dean currently serves as the safety officer for TBC. Dean is a certified Mine Safety Professional (CMSP) who has over 18 years in the safety profession

Kasey Thomas


Kasey started off his construction career with TBC in 1996 and has been with the company for the last 22 years

Julie Wester


Her career for the las t 20 years has been in the medical industry recently managing the las t 7 years as an Executive Officer for a surgery center and practice management group.