- When Usner Excavating founder Rodney Usner died in 2019, his children had a choice: sell the business or work together to keep it running.
The future was flooded with uncertainty for Jen Leaman and her four brothers in 2019. Their father, Rodney Usner, had just passed away from cancer and they had a decision to make. Would they come together and continue their father’s Usner Excavating legacy, or was it time to sell and move on?
Building a legacy
Rodney and his wife, Wanda, started Usner Excavating in 1970 with one dump truck and one crawler loader. By the time each of their five kids reached high school, they were involved in the family business in some way. Over the years, Jen managed the office while her brothers operated machinery and ran job sites.
As his children grew into the business, Rodney remained a sole proprietor, holding his East Earl, Lancaster County business close, humbly and quietly serving his community behind the scenes.
“Dad, when he had me donate anything, would make me do it anonymously,” Jen says. “He never wanted his name on it. He was not a boastful guy.”
A business transition
Jen and three of her brothers decided to carry on the legacy.
“I want my dad to be proud of us,” Jen says.
They formed Usner Excavating LLC and connected with PeoplesBank to help them transition to the new iteration of the business.
“They were very understanding of our situation and willing to help us out,” Jen says.
PeoplesBank refinanced Usner Excavating’s loans under the new LLC and created a revolving line of credit for equipment purchases.
The company’s first purchase under the LLC was a new pickup truck using the line of credit.
“The process was so smooth,” Jen says.
Since then, she has begun transferring all of the company’s banking to PeoplesBank. Having all the accounts online with access to remote check deposit and being able to speak to a local person when she picks up the phone were game-changers.
“I can’t even tell you how great they were,” she says.
A growth experience
Stepping into her role as a partner at Usner Excavating LLC has fostered personal growth for Jen. She has created the business’s first website and begun putting company signs on job sites, something her dad never wanted to do.
“I’ve grown a lot in the last year,” she says. “None of the stuff I’m doing I would have done without asking Dad. It’s hard not having him, but the growth that I feel like I’ve had without depending on my dad, that’s the biggest change we’ve all had. We can do this on our own.”
She especially loves when customers who worked with her dad tell her that she and her brothers are doing a great job, that their dad would be proud of them.
“We take pride in what we do,” she says. “Our customers know they can call us, and we’ll be there — just like PeoplesBank was there, and continues to be there, for us when we need them to be.”
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