Great Excavations

Petroleum Industry News 2015 / Calgary – Great Excavations Floats Where Others Sink

John Skierka founded Great Excavations in 2011. Previously, he was the CEO of Aeroptions, an aircraft maintenance sourcing company based in Hong Kong. Skierka’s extensive international experience is a key factor in Great Excavations’ steady growth and success.

Q: Tell us about your company. What’s your focus?

A: Great Excavations is a construction company specializing in amphibious equipment. We’re a smart fit for the oil and gas industry because we provide a reasonable alternative to the current methods of obtaining access to remote wet terrain, such as building ice roads, using swamp mats or even bypassing certain regions due to accessibility issues.

Q: What would you say makes your business unique?
A: Our equipment is a game changer because it takes away the uncertainty of working on wet terrain. Our clients are able to work for six to eight months a year in Northern Alberta, compared to the six to eight weeks available to those using traditional methods.

Amphibious equipment also makes sense for land reclamation. From an environmental standpoint, there’s a reduced carbon footprint: we don’t have the logistical issues of transporting water for ice roads or mats for building roads.

By not using mats, we are able to reduce the risk of transporting ground contaminants (such as infectious weeds), since our equipment can be thoroughly cleaned between sites.

We also have a small environmental footprint because our equipment has such a low ground pressure.

Q: Please tell us about your company’s products.

A: Great Excavations can provide amphibious trucks that will handle payloads up to 80 tons and amphibious excavators that can go up to 45 tons, all with various boom and attachment configurations.

Our excavators are exceptional because we don’t need mats to work in wet, swampy water or on muskeg. We also have amphibious trucks that can be fitted with standard highway truck equipment, such as dump boxes, hydro vacs, flat decks and cement mixers. We can even put pipe carriers and cranes on them — the only difference is that our equipment floats.

Q: Are you introducing any new products at the show?

A: This year, we’re talking remote control. We’ve produced a remote controlled multirole excavator with its own command center while also creating a virtual operator environment. This innovation allows us to tackle projects that would normally be considered very high risk.

Q: What’s your vision for the industry?

A: Our vision is to bring new and improved designs to industry, allowing us to configure amphibious equipment to improve the work that’s currently being done while also providing options for new ways to work in impassable terrain. Our solutions include financial improvements through reducing the dependence on matting and ice roads. We can build carrier trucks/moving work platforms that lay pipeline in the muskeg and drill pilings into the swamp and wetlands, causing less environmental impact.

Q: How can our readers find out more about your company?

For more information, visit us at Booth #2100, check out or call 587-885-1314.

Great Excavations presents the Trax amphibious excavator (