Who Is KLE Construction?
While most parents give their kids Tonka trucks to play with, the Everett family skipped the toys and went right to heavy equipment. As toddlers, Jason and Ben Everett sat on their dad’s lap while he built roads with dozers and excavators. It’s no wonder that their unconventional upbringing led to the heavy civil construction company they now run as a family: KLE Construction.
There are plenty of crazy stories about this family, even before KLE entered the picture. One of our favorites is when Kari Everett told a 16-year-old Jason that he could clear a small piece of their new land in Washington. When she came home, she found that Jason had not only rented an excavator, but also a dozer to pull out his stuck rental excavator. Apparently, all the rental company needed was a valid driver’s license and a credit card — Jason had both.
A three-time cancer survivor, Kari isn’t one to back down. In June 2010, she saw some great people out of work — along with some parked iron just waiting to be operated — as an opportunity to support her own family and others through the rough economy. On her own, she began KLE Construction and bid on work around the Seattle, WA area. She talked the whole family into coming on board, and they were off to build a heavy civil construction company with the intention of providing for everyone.
KLE grew quickly, but margins were thin in Seattle. Looking for other opportunities, they began eyeing North Dakota and the booming oil industry. In 2012, they mobilized some equipment to the Williston area, which was as close to the Wild West as it gets. Living out of trailers, Jason, Ben, and a few others did their best to break into the new market, while Kari was still managing the Washington operations.
While the first project they embarked on turned out to be less than desirable, the team kept pushing, and the Everett family decided to focus entirely on the North Dakota region.
While they saw aggressive growth for the first few years, oil prices slumped in 2015-2016, and the Bakken pandemonium began to subside. Rather than leave town like most other contractors, they doubled down and became much more deliberate with the work they chose to pursue, as well as the people they partnered with.
Today, KLE is focused on bringing in the right people, and creating a self-sustaining business independent from the Everett family. As a woman-owned business, there’s tons of opportunity in public works, and KLE is proud to have women working as operators, mechanics, and project managers. It’s been a wild ride up to this point, but KLE is just getting warmed up!