Matt Bachtel

People Power: The Importance of Employee Well-being

Group 104


Matt Bachtel

President at Bachtel Excavating Inc.

Matt Bachtel built his company, Bachtel Excavating Inc., from the ground up and has been providing general excavating services to residential, commercial and industrial clients in the Northeast Ohio area for over two decades. Matt's dedication, leadership, and commitment to his employees have been instrumental in the company's continued success and growth—where the business now boasts a full team of skilled professionals.

The Highlights

Matt Bachtel started Bachtel Excavating Inc. 23 years ago with just himself and a truck.

Today, his team includes 16 field personnel and five office employees – including his wife, who handles parts of the finance and accounting aspects of the business.

In December 2019, Bachtel Excavating had its best sales and profit yet. However, like most businesses around this time, a lot was about to change, pushing Matt to think differently about how he and his team handle stress and balance their lives.

The Crash from COVID

Before COVID, Bachtel Excavating Inc. experienced ‘amazing’ successes and growth for the last three years. So, it was a surprise when an employee told him he wanted to change crews.

Then, COVID caused his estimator, who had been there for years, to retire with short notice.

“I think a lot of those challenges caused people’s personal lives to become challenging or cause them to rethink their personal lives.”

The changes led him to promote the people he had but also hire externally. Typically, his team, with half under 30, brings people in for him.

“It’s a testament to the great people we have,” says Matt, “We have the same challenges, but our willingness to teach and be patient with people has allowed us not to have as many pains as other people I know.”

But some pains during this time were impossible to avoid. Even after the height of COVID, there were material shortages, increasing fuel prices, and inflation. Matt says it was one of the more challenging periods of his career.

Managing Stress & Fatigue

Matt attributes his supportive wife, business partner, and faith as key in helping him navigate the last three years. But he needed to do something different when his body started to feel the weight of the pressure and fatigue.

The solution might be the simplest one: exercise.

For Matt, this involved meeting up with his friends every morning at 5:20 am to walk for an hour with his high school friends.

“It’s comical actually to see these three middle-aged guys lumbering down the road, and it looked like a pack of ducks going down the sidewalk, but it’s fun.”

It’s one of many ways Matt structures his time as he works to find and maintain balance in his life. He does the same for his employees, too.

In 2021, when his small team was experiencing a lot at home, Matt pulled the group aside to understand what everyone was dealing with.

“The key is communicating those needs and figuring out how to satisfy them while maintaining a profitable business.”

One of the ways he does this is by making working Saturdays voluntary, with a bonus if they do work, and giving rest days.

It’s also about saying ‘no’ to more work by understanding this team’s mental and physical capacity.


Saying no to more work is challenging, especially in the age of social media, where you see wins and successes more than challenges.

“You can almost get overwhelmed by it because you’re only geared to be a 25 or 30-person company, and you’re trying to be a 50 or hundred-person company because you saw somebody else’s growth on social media.”

The focus on growth can come as a detriment, too, leading to the fatigue that businesses experienced at the start of COVID.

“You can’t change direction every time you read a new book or see a new post,” says Matt.
“It’s something that you must be very aware of because your team will get fatigued from the owner or the leader changing direction all the time.”

Putting his employees at the center of Bachtel Excavating’s operations and prioritizing their well-being over growth may have much to do with the business’s growth (they made nearly 8 million last year). For one, the company places importance on teaching and growing their workers first and foremost.

It’s helped them navigate change already, like one employee who went from laborer, pipe layer, to equipment operator and now manages the technology they’re implementing.

“We moved him from the field to the office, and we unlocked this amazing ability that we didn’t even know he had to pull together all this technology.”
Like the best book he’s read all year, ‘Everybody Matters,’ Matt’s strategy for improving the bottom line starts with supporting his employees.

Group 87

The Host

Rachel Jennings-Keane

Head of Customer Success

Rachel is the leader of Assignar's Customer Success team and was also one of the first hires when we launched in Australia years ago. She spent time with other global tech companies, too, helping to build trusting relationships with their customers and implementing systems that assist in adoption, renewal, and expansion. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Rachel now calls Brooklyn, New York her home where she heads a solid global team while taking the time to enjoy the city and her cute pug, Rico.