While the national unemployment rate is hitting new staggering highs, we are doing our level-best to counter The Great Recession. This past month the Dirt Hugger team has doubled from two guys in a $500 craigslist office trailer to four guys in a $500 craigslist office trailer. If we keep this up, who knows, a double-wide trailer might even be in our future. We are pleased to welcome the following new additions to Dirt Hugger:
Patrick “Cob” Burton
Every well-rounded team is made up from members with diverse skill sets and talents. In our case, Cob brings much-needed height to the Dirt Hugger Team. With Tyler and I barely scraping past 5’6″, Cob brings the team average up well over 6′. In addition to improving our basketball potential, Cob is heading up business development efforts for the summer. In just a few short weeks Cob has already attended five farmer’s markets across Hood River and The Dalles, been in dozens of restaurants touting the food scraps program and is working on the ultimate event-focused food scraps composting kit. His endless drive and enthusiasm are a great match and asset to Dirt Hugger outreach efforts.
Currently enrolled as a student in the Renewable Energy Tech program, Taylor brings mechanical and technical savvy to Dirt Hugger. His measured approach to problems has already succeeded in his fixing heavy machinery, fixing the irrigation system, and fixing the watering system. When not negotiating mechanical entropy, he has been helping monitor and manage the composting process to ensure lovingly- made, crafted compost. Which, has resulted in nearly doubling the organic and nutrient content of our compost. (No joke – looking at lab data our organic content has jumped from 34% on The Beta Batch (batch 1), to 52% on the Spring Flurry (batch 3).
No growth in a compost facility is complete without a little new iron too. Previously, we had been loading customers’ pickup trucks with our sole piece of machinery, a 27,000 lb front loader with a three yard bucket. Trying to measure one or even 1/2 yard of compost with that loader is like driving a finish nail with a sledge-hammer. We knew we needed a smaller bucket and a skid steer fit the bill. Our main goal was keeping the capital investment low, so we set out to find the cheapest skid steer on the market. Luckily, we came across Tom at Brace Bros who was selling a 7,500 hour (that’s old in machinery years) skid steer previously used to dismantle the Aluminum Plant. A few hours of welding later, it was good to go and began loading customers on its first day.
We are stoked to have more members on the team, more help around the Black Gold Test Mine and to be growing as a business. It’s starting to make us think that maybe it wasn’t a completely crazy idea to quit our jobs last year. That said, none of this would have been possible without a tremendous outpouring of support from local businesses, government, and the community. Thank you and we hope to continue the momentum from this great start.