Amy Underwood, widely recognized as the_digger_girl, brings her charismatic and insightful perspective to her conversation with Taylor here today. Amy, a plant operator hailing from Scotland, shares her remarkable journey within the construction industry, transcending traditional gender stereotypes and championing blue-collar careers for both women and men. Her narrative underscores the vital importance of representation for women in construction, an industry often dominated by men, and she passionately advocates for introducing construction as a viable career choice at an early age, fostering diversity, and challenging outdated perceptions. She also delves into the unique challenges women face when balancing motherhood with a career in construction, emphasizing the need for supportive policies within the industry.
Amy's expertise extends to her work with various brands of machines, including Kubota and Hyundai, where she harnesses the transformative power of tilt rotator attachments. Together with Taylor, she explores the diverse applications of heavy machinery, from residential construction to handling different terrains and ground materials. Their conversation spans geographical challenges, technological advancements, competition, and collaboration within the construction industry. Additionally, Amy provides valuable insights into content creation and the intricacies of managing a prominent social media presence alongside her fulfilling career. You will definitely want to tune in to this special episode here today that not only illuminates the dynamic world of heavy machinery and construction, but addresses some key components that will prove crucial to ensuring the continued success of the construction industry itself in the future.
- Amy's exceptional success in a male-dominated construction industry
- Her family roots in construction
- Amy's unintentional rise on social media platforms
- The importance of introducing construction as a viable career option to young minds
- The unique challenges women face when balancing motherhood with construction careers
- The transformative influence of tilt rotators in construction
- Diverse applications of heavy machinery
- Technological advancements and collaboration
"I just started posting digger pictures on a digger girl page because none of my friends were interested there."
"Young girls have got parents who let their kids watch me on TikTok and YouTube, and they know that they can do that, and that is an opportunity."
"I honestly think we need to get into schools from a younger age and show that a job in construction is an opportunity for boys or girls."
"I didn't know any other female in Scotland that I knew of who ran excavators. There's plenty of truck drivers, but no excavator drivers."
"It's not all glam. It's not all sitting in a nice brand new 50-ton Hyundai, getting pictures taken. You've got to get your hands dirty and get stuck in about it."
"The love for blue collar, it's got to be there. You’ve got to love it."
"I think it should be totally fair for that and make it a bit easier for women who do have kids."
"I love all platforms for different reasons - I love YouTube the most because I can show the most on that."
- Taylor White on LinkedIn
- To see highlights from the 2023 show, go to: https://www.conexpoconagg.com/show-experience/show-highlights
- Komatsu Homepage
- Amy's Linktree
Amy Underwood: I was always like, "You can do quite a lot with a tilt bucket. It's not going to put too much advantage to us." But now, if I try and jump on one of our other machines, which doesn't have a tilt rotator, I'm like, "What way does this go?” And trying to spin it around just that little bit more and it just doesn't go. But you still get like the old school ones comment in my videos being like, not worth the money, or I can do that with a normal bucket. I'm like, “Yeah, sure, you probably could do it with a normal bucket, but it's going to take you twice as long.” So you're going to have to level the ground out or put machine to whatever. You have to level the actual ground, whereas it's just like a turn of the bucket.
Taylor White: Welcome back, everybody, to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Podcast. I'm your host, Taylor White. As always, we are brought to you by our amazing friends over at Komatsu. Big shout out to them. With me today I have the awesome Amy, who is the_digger_girl on Instagram. Somebody who I've been looking forward to talking to for a bit here now, seeing her videos all over the place, especially even on YouTube and on TikTok as well, too. So, Amy, thank you for being here today with us.
Amy Underwood: Thank you very much for having me.
Taylor White: Yeah, no, I was just saying before off camera that I know you're from Scotland, so we're going to do our best to understand and keep up to you.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, I'll do my best to slow it down for you guys, too.
Taylor White: It's all good. Tell me a little bit about yourself, Amy. Like, who is the_digger_girl? Who is Amy? How did you get into this? Let's start with that.
Amy Underwood: My name is Amy Underwood. I'm obviously a plant operator from Scotland. I work for my dad. We've got a family business and I've worked for him now for about 12 years. It's just a very small business, just me, him and two other people we have at the moment. We've got six machines, all different brands from Hyundai, Kubota, Takeuchi, Cabelco, Tatchi, and Scania Trucks. So it's just very small. And when I left school, I wanted to be a mechanic, actually. That was my want to do. I went round every garage in town and unfortunately, nobody would take me on. So I started working with dad until I could get something else. He said, "Start working with me until something else comes up." And here I am, 12 years later, still working for him.
Taylor White: Bro, that's awesome. Go ahead.
Amy Underwood: No, I was going to say where the_digger_girl came into it. So in 2019, I just started posting digger pictures on a digger girl page, basically because none of my friends were interested there. My friends are like, hairdressers, beauticians, nurses, school teachers. None of them are into what I'm into, so they weren't on my personal page. It wasn't getting any interaction or stuff, so I was like, "I'll just start up digger stuff for digger people." And then it kind of just went from there. I didn't mean it for it to happen, but it just happened.
Taylor White: Well, it's pretty unconventional, I guess, for even seeing girls in the industry and running excavators. And if you were a young girl like, I want to run excavator when I'm older, that's not something that you genuinely hear all the time. Although it is something we need to be hearing more of. The fact is that it's just not– Like you said, most of your friends are doing beauticians or nurses or something like that. Where did that love for– And by the way, I share the exact same love of working with family. When I took over my family business, I don't expect you to know anything about my story, but family business as well, grew up working within it. We had, when I took over, about four guys. We're 26 now and working with family is awesome, so I can share that kind of same love as well, too. Was it always like that when I say that? Were you always wanting to work in the family business or be a digger driver?
Amy Underwood: I don't think it was something me or my dad had ever thought of. I'd always been a pedalhead, so I was always in about, like, quads motorbikes when I was younger. Always out in the garage with my dad, like, going in the run with a fast track with what we had at the like, always in amongst stuff like that. But I guess dad never thought his daughter would want to run excavators really? Again because it wasn't really known there was no one else, no other female in Scotland that I knew of who ran excavators. There's plenty of truck drivers, but no excavator drivers.
Taylor White: That's wild to be able to say that. That's pretty cool.
Amy Underwood: There is now, I must admit, there's probably six or seven that I know of now, which is really good to see. But at the time when I first started, I didn't know any other ones.
Taylor White: That's crazy. So what is the ultimate goal, then? Is it like, I work for the family business and I want to run a digger and be super good at that? Or like, I want to take over the family business and work within that and grow it?
Amy Underwood: I don't honestly know what's going to happen. I always still say I work for my dad. It's always where my base is always going to be going back there. I love nothing more than working in the machine in the hillside in the middle of nowhere and getting stuff done, but my dad's always want me to do more than just work for him because he can see some of the rubbishing that we have to put up with. And I guess like any dad, he just wants to see me do more for myself. But I don't know, I honestly don't know what the next steps are going to be. He always says, his saying is, I'm going from the cab to the coffin. And he's got a good few years left of them yet, so I don't have to make any decisions anytime soon.
Taylor White: Well, that's a good thing, is you can kind of take your time and take it as it is.
I love that because I have a two and a half year old daughter as well, too. And my ultimate goal is for her to find a love within the industry and be actually to look up to girls like you and be like, “Hey, that's awesome, I want to do that.” And I think that’s great. And part of doing that is you’re showing your journey on social media. What sparked your interest to be like– Because first of all, you stepped out of your boundaries like, “Okay. I wanted to do this. Now, I’m going to be a female digger driver. And then also now, I think that I’m going to show this online.” What sparked your interest to be like, “Hey, I should put this on Instagram”? If that’s where you started.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, I didn't mean to start it. I just wanted to show my pictures of me at work. Didn't think anything of it. I came across another guy, Connor the Digger Driver. You probably came across him on Instagram. I came across his page randomly.
Taylor White: Conor?
Amy Underwood: Yeah.
Taylor White: Oh, I love Connor. He's a good lad.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, he's so funny. He always wants credit, so let's give him a bit of credit. Why I started my page was because I came across his page. So there we go. There you go, Conor. So, yeah, I started my page because I've seen him and then just started uploading my own pictures and videos. And then within a year, I had 10,000 followers and then it's just kind of went a bit mental since then.
Taylor White: I mean, you've added so many followers across so many different platforms. The cool thing and what I like about social media as well, too, is it's the people that you get to meet along the journey. You were saying Conor the Digger Driver, and getting in touch and being able to talk to these other people or other females that are digger drivers, that is so cool. Have you built up some kind of relationships with people over the internet that have just been like, “Okay. I wouldn’t have had this if I didn’t get to share my journey doing this.”
Amy Underwood: Absolutely. I've met so many amazing people worldwide. I got really shocked when I came over to CONEXPO and started the year there because I didn't think I'd have a following over there as such because obviously I'm just from Scotland, it's pretty small. But the amount of people who were coming up to me and say that they watched me on YouTube and stuff was really overwhelming. I was like, this is just mental. And people that are just so nice and want to know your journey and genuinely bothered about you, which is really, really nice. It's just pretty crazy. Then the girl thing, there's been so many girls who have actually formed more for the truck inside. It's called girl talk. There's like 80 girls now, part of it across the UK who are truck drivers, which is really good, getting more people together and more girls together. You also find you have so much more in common with them and something to talk about as well, which is nice.
Taylor White: Social media as a business, though, is so cool, too. And I kind of share the same story. It was like I just started out posting what I was doing here at work and then all of a sudden I was like, “Okay, well, you're getting some traction from it. Okay, well, that's pretty neat.” But then it kind of becomes its whole own thing. I mean, now there's so many moving parts to social media. On my end, you have YouTube and then you have brand partnerships, and then you have this, and then you have that, and then you have to schedule this. And then it's Saturday morning and you wake up like, I was supposed to post this and then swipe up and add this link and do that. What's the business side of it? Are you enjoying that part of it? Is that something that's, like I know I asked earlier about you want to go into the family business, but you're doing your own business right now and I'm sure you're uber successful at it and you can continue to do that.
Amy Underwood: I just guess it's happened so quick and it's been something I never had planned for to happen. Just in the last year, it's kind of really took off. So I kind of just still take it every day as it comes. I always say next year there might be someone else. Just got to concentrate what I can just now. I'm very like that with things. I don't believe anything's going to happen until the day it's happening. I don't look forward to the future or anything because I never like to let myself down or anybody else down. But I've got an agent, Dan, who helps me so much to do with all my business stuff. Because not only do I work for my dad, I run The Digger Girl Limited, but I'm also a single mum to two kids. It's pretty hard going, they are five and seven so they don’t really understand– My 7-year old, she does a little bit. But they've got their friends watch me on YouTube and my boy wants to be a YouTuber now when he's older, but it does get tough. So I'm glad I've got someone there on hand to help me when I need a little bit more help. As you see, like forgetting things to post and stuff like that is so relatable.
Taylor White: Yeah, I mean five and a seven-year-old, good for you. That's an unbelievable. You said boy and girl?
Amy Underwood: Yeah, I've got a boy and girl.
Taylor White: That's awesome. Yeah, we just had a boy, he's 14 weeks old now.
Amy Underwood: Oh, congratulations.
Taylor White: Thank you. Just learning what it's like now to have two, and it's completely changing every aspect of balancing business and personal life and family life and all this stuff. And I can only imagine being a single mom doing that. What kind of challenges do you think? Because I find being with children, it's always like the mom is kind of more involved. So is that a challenge that you would say being a woman in construction kind of like has versus over something else or is that like a unique challenge?
Amy Underwood: I think just being a parent, whether you're a mom or dad has loads of challenges.
Taylor White: Good answer.
Amy Underwood: I'm not one. Even though I say I'm like a single mom, my mom and dad fully support me and they're very good help when I'm away and doing trips and stuff like that. So I am very lucky that way. But yeah, there's challenges everywhere I'd say.
Taylor White: 100%. I feel like also, too, though, it's just the representation of women in the trades, I find it's still relatively low. Is there any steps that you're trying to take or you think other people should take in order to kind of broaden the scale or encourage or empower women to enter and thrive in the community?
Amy Underwood: We are getting there slowly, but I honestly think we need to get into schools from a younger age and know that a job construction is a job opportunity for boys or girls. I don't know about over where you guys are from, but here, construction for female and male is just lacking terribly. There's hardly any boys as well, even in school, who want to get into the trades anymore. So it's about pushing females and males as a whole. And I guess the whole social media thing does help because now young girls have got parents who let their kids watch me on TikTok and YouTube and whatever they say now, they know that they can do that, and that is an opportunity. Whereas when I was grown up, social media wasn't really a thing when I was grown up, but there was no one to look up to. So now, hopefully having a few more girls on social media doing that, then it puts that thought into the younger generation, from a young age to get them into it.
Taylor White: Yeah, no, I love that, you're dead right. It gives them something to kind of look up to and see. But I do like also how in a lot of your questions, you're kind of like, well, it's not generally like gender specific. It's like boys and girls in the same. And I totally agree with that and love that because there isn't even over here as well too. The problem with our schools and our education. And if my wife was here she'd roll her eyes because this is where I get into most rants at night if I'm having a beer or a scotch or something. But the problem with education now in school is they're not dominating and pushing the trades as a viable place to actually go and work and make a living for your family. It's like you got to go to school or become a lawyer or a doctor or this, and we need those people. I'm not saying we don't, we need all types, but it shouldn't be like you're either going to university or you're going to be a loser. And it's like, no, those aren't two ways of looking at it.
So what we do here, we do a co-op program. So the local high school, they give us normally like two or three students each semester from grades 11 to 12, and we bring them in and they get to work with us. We put them on machinery, they get to work in the shop, they get to go out on site, they get to see all aspects of the trade to figure out like, “Hey, this is what I want, this is what I not want.” And then when you tell them, it's like, “Yeah, in three, four years, you can be making $100,000 a year, guys.” It's like, “Whoa. What? There's no way I can do that.” So I love that you touched on the training because I'm all for that. The education model, I think, is totally messed up.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, absolutely. It's always kind of been that way as well here. It's like, university, you got to do this. But they don't realize if they don't have construction workers in 10 years time, that the prices of everything, the prices of ground workers, builders, is all going to go up, which means the prices of houses, etc., are going to go up even more. It's just going to get into a sticky situation. I do some work with CITB, who's a training school over here, a training body. So we're trying together to try and get more people through apprenticeships and stuff like that from a young age. I like the idea what you guys do, though, is getting them in because somebody might come in and they might try a joiner and then not want to be and then throw all trades in the bin instead of trying something else, like being an equipment operator or a bricklayer or something else. There's so many different options.
Taylor White: Yeah, 100%. And I think the best thing, too, is putting them with the right company, too. I mean, don't put them with a company that has no ladder per se, where you could start here and end up here, or you got to show them that it is fun. My biggest thing is, as I eat, sleep, and breathe blue collar, I was raised blue collar. I am blue collar. My family eats because of blue collar, my family will eat because of blue collar. I love it. I love what I do, and I love being that. And I hate when it's looked down upon. We are like this savage, crazy industry. We're like, yeah, it is insane what we do sometimes. It's like snowing in -40, and the guys are outside laying pipe. But that's what I love about it. You know what I mean? You have to love being blue collar to be in the industry.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, it's definitely hard; it's not for the faint hearted, that's for sure.
Taylor White: No, definitely not at all.
Amy Underwood: Another thing I think we struggle with, like the whole women in construction thing. And we're definitely not there yet is maternity and women having kids. Because I had my kids when I was 21, so I was very young and I worked with my dad, so I got away with it. I was still back to work four months after, and I was still operating the digger on my due date. But I feel like a lot of big companies don't. It's not really known yet, so once they're pregnant, they get put into an office for health and safety reasons, whatever. And then after they have their baby, then they usually just stay in the office then, and they don't get the opportunity to come back part time. If you're a nurse, you get the option to go back part time here and cut your hours. But if you were going part time on a digger, it's just not known that here you just wouldn't get that opportunity. Which is really unfair as well. I think it should be totally fair for that and make it a bit easier for women who do have kids.
Taylor White: Yeah, I totally agree. You're right. And you can speak from experience on that. And that's what I was saying earlier. With it's got to be more difficult being in women construction because being a dad, I did nothing in the whole pregnancy thing, it was like, bang, boom, whatever. And then the wife, she deals with the next nine months of her life is just taking care of the kid and then the baby's born, and then she like, breastfed. So there's nothing that I could do other than when Kenny starts crying, just pass it off to her. So there's such things. You're right. So what's the resolution to that? How do we fix that, then? I don't know. I want to know as a business owner as well, too because I want to attract women to come and run machinery as well, too. But you're right. Like being away for a year and a half or it's 18 months here. We get for maternity leave.
Amy Underwood: Nice.
Taylor White: So, yeah, what's the workaround on that?
Amy Underwood: It's really difficult because I can see both sides. I can see if my dad's an employee, I can see why it would put employers off employing a woman because my dad was going to employ a girl who is going to be having kids in the next two years. It would put a thought into your mind, being like, she's going to be off for a year to have a kid and that's going to be me, a man down and having to pay maternity for a year. It is a big but I guess that's where maybe the government come in and step in and be like, need to do something more here to help get women into construction. And then going back, it would been really nice for girls to be offered part time work on equipment. Like work three days a week or two days a week, whatever they've got to do. Work around. I don't know what you're like, where you guys are from, but here it's all or nothing. You don't get part time construction workers.
Taylor White: No, it's the same here. There's no such thing as, “Hey, no work–” Like, two times, maybe a truck driver. But machinery operating, if they're not moving, I'm not making money or they're not making money, so it's time to keep moving.
Amy Underwood: But that's going to be a huge thought process, I think, when employers are looking to employ a woman if they're going to have kids.
Taylor White: So what advice then would you give to young women? Young Susie is at home right now listening to this podcast and she's like, “This is what I want to do and I'm listening.”What would you give for advice to be like, “This is how you get in the construction industry. This is what I would recommend” kind of how to do it?
Amy Underwood: If it was a girl or guy, anyone, I would just tell them if there's something they really want to do, then absolutely go for it. Because I feel like if you've got that much determination and dreams and goals for doing something, you're going to do it no matter what. But the construction game is a tough industry. That's another thing you got to kind of get out there as well. Maybe I try to make it look really real on social media. So I'll show the good days, the bad days, when I'm covered in mud, when I'm whatever, when I'm at a cleaning trash show, everything. Yeah, but it's not all glam. It's not all sitting in a nice brand new 50-ton Hyundai, getting pictures taken. Like, you've got to get your hands dirty and get stuck in about it, which is not easy. You've got to be working in rain, hail, snow. But I love it. It's like such a good lifestyle, meet so many amazing people. I just love being outside and getting stuck in about work. So, yeah, I just think if you're going to go for it, then you definitely should.
Taylor White: It's like what I was saying before, like, the love for blue collar. It's got to be there. You got to love it. And it's just the ultimate kind of place to work within. Now, I want to ask you more about, too. Like, what I'm interested in as well, too, is when I see your videos and everything like that. So what kind of tilt rotator do you run? What kind of excavator do you run? I like talking about that sort of stuff because, I mean, I own a construction company as well, too. I love machinery talk.
Amy Underwood: Nice. Well, as I said, we've got, like, five different brands of machines. But my kind of daily one, the one I've made, the_digger_girl one, just kind of without my dad knowing, was a Kubota. I run a KX080-4. I had the KX085-5 in demo for a month there, so I'm getting confused. But it's KX080-4, and I've got a Rototilt on it as well.
Taylor White: What kind of tilt?
Amy Underwood: A Rototilt.
Taylor White: Oh, nice. Rototilt. That's what we have, too. I have an R6 and an R4 on a 325 and a 315 CAT. They're awesome.
Amy Underwood: Nice. Yeah. Mine's an R3 on the 8-ton. They're really good.
Taylor White: That's a great size.
Amy Underwood: It really is. And the backup with the Rototill are amazing. They're such an amazing team as well.
Taylor White: Yeah, Rototill has been nothing but supportive.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, I actually met the Rototill ones over the North American ones when I was over at CONEXPO. They made me feel really welcome.
Taylor White: Were you at CONEXPO this year?
Amy Underwood: Yeah, I was.
Taylor White: Oh, shit. I didn’t even know that. Well, 2026, you got to go next and we'll do a live podcast there.
Amy Underwood: I would love that. I’m definitely going to be back.
Taylor White: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. So what kind of attachments do you have? I'm not done. I like talking about the tilt rotators and the machinery. What kind of attachments do you have? Like, gray beam, sorting grapple, trenching bucket?
Amy Underwood: Honestly, I'm getting a grading beam. We've only got the buckets just now. But the kind of work we do, we don't really need too much. I mean if we did, I'd be sitting kind of doing nothing most of the time. We've got, like, shears and all the different attachments for all the different machines will get used quite a lot. But for the Rototilt, we just kind of have the buckets just now, which is good. As I say, for the kind of work we're doing, it's not too bad. We've got our biggest machine is our Hyundai. It’s our 14-ton hyundai. That's a nice machine as well.
Taylor White: Did you start on an excavator and then get a Rototilt or did you start on a machine with a tilt rotator?
Amy Underwood: No, so I've always been used to a tilty bucket. Do you know what that is? So we have tilty buckets and all our machines, so I've always been used to the one finger, so it was just kind of getting used to my other one. So I honestly didn't find it too bad. I got it in two years already. November we had the Rototilt, is that right? Yeah, I think it is.
Taylor White: You've only been running a Rototilt for two years?
Amy Underwood: Yeah, but two years in November, I'm pretty sure I got it right.
Taylor White: You got onto it pretty quick.
Amy Underwood: My dad, he’s not really been on that machine since I got it fixed. He’s actually on his model and the back rears were docking before they left and when dad built it, it’s now modernized with a public combat and the walls. He used to have the hang of it.
Taylor White: It was so difficult for me. I grew up, we used to build armor, stone walls, and much like you. I've been doing this my whole life. I mean, I'm not saying I remember, like, I'm 28 years old, but we used to build retaining walls, rock walls, do all our work with just like, a thumb and just a straight bucket. And then I remember when we bought we call them swivel buckets, a tilty bucket. We bought that and it was just like, holy, this is the best thing since sliced bread. This is unbelievable. This is a thing that's been sent to us from the heavens. And then we figured out the tilt rotator and we got it. But it was like learning a whole new machine to me, it was so difficult. So many different things were going on with it. And I don't get the joy of running it every day. Now we have operators that are running it, but when I get onto it, I love it. We even have the little grapple that can tear off individual sheets of tin when we demolish a barn or something. It's so cool. I love them.
Amy Underwood: There's so much to do. See, before I got the tilt rotator, I was always like, you can do quite a lot with a tilty bucket. It's not going to put too much advantage to us. But now if I try and jump on one of our other machines which doesn't have a tilt rotator, I'm like, “What way does this go?” And trying to spin it around just that little bit more. And it just doesn't go. But you still get like the old school ones comment in my videos being like, not worth the money. Or I can do that with a normal bucket. I'm like, “Yeah, sure, you probably could do it a normal bucket, but it's going to take you twice as long.” So you're going to have to level the ground out or put the machine to whatever.” You have to level the actual ground. Whereas it's just like a turn of the bucket. Your fingers. Some people just don't quite get it yet. But it does save so much time.
Taylor White: Oh, yeah, totally. What kind of work are you doing mostly with it? Is it like grading work, ditching work?
Amy Underwood: Basically, I do a lot of new house sites, like private house sites, ditch your new roads, that kind of stuff. It's really handy for doing like foundations or put-ins for houses. Don't know what you call them over there. Foundations for sitting in the same place. And just digging them like that. You don't have to move the machine about and put about the site. They're very handy for getting right in at the corners as well.
Taylor White: Yeah, they're super handy whenever we transitioned over because that's again, same thing that we do as well too. A lot of custom new home builds and site work. Like full residential site prep. It was just super handy seeing the way that they can maneuver. Do you guys have septic systems over there? Do you guys do septics? Like putting pipe in the ground and septic beds and stuff?
Amy Underwood: Yeah, I actually follow the little operator, Alexandria. She does a lot of that stuff over in America. Ours is not like that. Like, ours is getting a septic tank. Plastic one in the ground, pipes to it. That's it. There's nothing like what you guys do over there. It's very, very simple, really. And we still complain that the Soakaway has got to be like 6 meters by 6 meters we have it very lucky when I see some of the stuff Alexandria does.
Taylor White: Oh, it's insane. I mean, even the cost out here is just wild. What kind of ground material do you guys have over there? Now, I'm just talking geography, but I'm interested. Is it like clay or dirt or sand?
Amy Underwood: Honestly, from where I'm sitting now to 20 meters along, there can be anything from peak rock, clay, sand, gravel. It just changes. Totally different. A lot of peat up in the hills, of course, and the solid rock, but it just changes. It's such a variety. What about you guys over there?
Taylor White: Yeah, it's about the same. It's like right where our yard is, it's sand, but then where I live it's clay. And then it can be 100 ft behind my house. It goes into a solid bedrock channel that runs all through our city. Yeah, it just varies, I guess. It just changes. Anyways, I got locked up about that stuff because I love the dirt. If you had a memorable project that you could be like, "That one was awesome," what would that be? One that stands out, that comes to your mind as soon as I said that. What's that project?" It's in your head. I know you're thinking it right now. You're just thinking of how you're going to say it.
Amy Underwood: We've done hydro schemes. My dad had done, like, two of them, which was really good and really interesting. There's a lot of work in them. So it was like small ones for estates, private ones. So it's really cool seeing a barn start from nothing, putting your intakes in, getting the pipeline down the hill, the power station getting built at the bottom, the turbines getting put in, and then you're making electricity, which is pretty cool. And that’s probably one of the bigger jobs that we’ve done.
Taylor White: What did you call it? Like a hydro scheme?
Amy Underwood: Yeah. It's like making electricity, basically. Do you not do that?
Taylor White: No, we call it hydro. I've just never heard the scheme thing. That's cool. It's a building that like a power generator plant?
Amy Underwood: Yeah. So up the top, the hill, like a reservoir. You put a dam up there and then a big pipeline comes all the way down the hill. So we've been digging them, putting all that pipe in, and it'd be getting welded on site and stuff by plastic welders doing all that. So them ones have probably been quite the most interesting one. We also do a lot of work for the hydro schemes around here, like maintenance, source, dams and stuff that were built in the ‘60s, which is like some unbelievable engineering, something that they'd probably never manage now. We do all maintenance and recovery and all that kind of stuff as well, which is really, really interesting. There's like, aqueducts that run through Scotland's hills, but you will never know what was there, and dams and stuff. But once you know that there, you get pretty hooked on where they're all going and where they're taking water to.
Taylor White: Is that pretty common over there? Is there a lot of that stuff? You just said, obviously there is, but is there a lot of dams and hydro dams?
Amy Underwood: Yeah, there is. I think it's such a good way to make electricity. One, the work's getting done, I can see why people don't like it because it makes a scar to the hill. But after one or two years, you know yourself, everything grows over and you can't see it's there, kind of thing. But, yeah, there is quite a lot. I mean, we get plenty of rain for it, so we've got no excuse really, not to do it.
Taylor White: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's pretty neat. I've never traveled to Scotland, but I have family. I'm Scottish and Irish. I've never actually gotten to go there. When you see construction on social media from where we are to where you are, does it look a lot alike or does it look different? Does the machinery kind of like– What do you see? I always feel like you guys are more ahead of us, to be honest with you as far as technology and tools and attachments, but what do you think?
Amy Underwood: That’s crazy that you think that. I think we're just plain asset compared to you guys.
Taylor White: I just think you're being nice.
Amy Underwood: No, honestly, I feel like we've just got like– I mean, we're more ahead than Ireland, which is acceptable, but we're miles behind for the tilt rotators and stuff. I love the Irish. My biggest following is Dublin and like in the whole world, the biggest city is Dublin, so I've got a lot of time for them. I'm sure they won't mind me saying that. Last week I flew into– I was over at a show in Dublin and I put a picture on my Instagram. It was a guy in the airport with his slow cooker or something pulling along behind him. I was like, I know we're behind the fame.
Taylor White: No way. That’s hilarious.
Amy Underwood: Going off topic there, but yeah, I think you guys are like all this stuff. I follow quite a few people from over in America and Canada and stuff and I feel like we are a little bit behind the times. We're getting there slowly now, but especially, like, where I'm from, up in the west coast of Scotland, there's not many people with even tilt rotators. I don't have GPS in any of my machines just because of the kind of work I do. We don’t really need it so much just now. I can see how it can be helpful and if you're working with services or house sites or one of my pals, he does golf courses, so I can see why it's useful for all that, but not for the kind of stuff I do just now, unfortunately.
Taylor White: Yeah, I want to go over to Scotland and golf. I like golfing. Ever since I'm a dad, I'm a big advocate for golfing.
Amy Underwood: Where's your family from in Scotland? Do you know?
Taylor White: Oh, jeez, my mom is going to be super mad when she hears that. But yeah, I have no idea. All over. Because my aunts went over and they went– Lidls is the last name. There was like a whole cemetery of Lidls and they were there. And then Ireland, I'm not sure, but I'm not a family history guy. I just know like, “Hey, that's where I'm from.” You know what I mean? You don’t have to exactly tell me the time, but whereabouts in Scotland are you guys located?
Amy Underwood: The easiest way to describe it is 2 hours up from the central belt. We're on the west coast is where you get the ferries to all the inner Hebrides. So your islands like Barra and Uists and stuff like that, literally in the middle of nowhere.
Taylor White: Yeah, well, we used to be in a kind of a small town, but things have grown up so much. Like it's insane. I mean, the past three years, what was it like in Scotland the last three years? Like during COVID times. I mean, construction here and housing market, price of machinery, everything was just like this crazy. It was like wild, full throttle. What was it like in Scotland? Was it the same kind of for you guys? It was like, we can't even keep up the amount of work right now.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, it was the same. Everything's just went absolutely crazy. The house prices are still the same. Don't see them coming down anytime soon. And even the price of second hand machinery and stuff is still crazy.
Taylor White: New machinery went nuts too. It was wild.
Amy Underwood: Everybody was buying their machines, the farmers. And not to play about with during COVID weren't they?
Taylor White: Yeah. Is it competitive over there, too, if you're from a small area, is it super competitive, the construction industry, then, as far as finding work or that sort of stuff?
Amy Underwood: So me and my dad, we've never found it hard at all. Most of the customers dad works for, he's had them for like 40 odd years, since he started out. So it's like the States and the farmers he's done work for. There's very rarely we have new customers as such. It's always like reoccurring ones, which is really good. It's the way you want to keep it kind of thing. There's also, like we go on great with probably 90% of the other contractors roundabout here. You've all got your little bits, like there's McCauley that do forestry, then there's other ones who does other stuff. And you don't really tend to tread in their toes. If somebody asks you to do work and one of them's done it before, there's probably a reason why they're not doing it again. So it's easier to ask other contractors why they're not going back rather than not and then it being an issue. So everybody gets on. Well, 90% of the people. There's obviously going to be a few people who don't, but mostly everybody gets on.
Taylor White: Yeah, they're probably Irish. I want to know what your dream excavator setup is. What is your dream excavator? If I could walk into any dealership, this is what it would be.
Amy Underwood: Do you know what I'd like to do? I don't have a dream brand, but I'd like to pick something from every single brand and make my own. Because everyone always asks me, what is your favorite machine? And I'm like, honestly, I'm not just saying that, but there's something from every machine I like and put them together. Every machine has its pros and cons. You'll probably find that as well. There's always something you would change, isn't there?
Taylor White: What size would you do?
Amy Underwood: I like 8-ton, definitely. I feel like people always go on at me, oh, it's just an 8-ton like a toy, this and that. But honestly, 8 and 6-ton, I find they're harder and you've got to be a lot more skilled to operate them rather than a 50 or a 90 or even a 20. 20 is probably borderline, isn't it? Like you can just still do your house sites and roads and you've still got to be semi neat. But a few months ago, I got the opportunity to go down the DSM with Hyundai and operate a 90-ton machine, which was really, really sick.
Taylor White: 90?
Amy Underwood: 90-ton. Yeah, which was huge, obviously, for me. But again, it was like loading–
Taylor White: For anybody.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, demolition. So it was nice, but it was totally different way of operating compared to an 8-ton machine. Of course.
Taylor White: I mean, you're right, operating an 8 or 9-ton takes way more skill than operating– We have a 36-ton. That's our biggest one we have. And it's like I don't have any tilt pocket or anything on it's a straight production machine. If we got to go in and mass ex, then we’ll send the 336, load the trucks, get as many trucks as we can or get them a tilt rotator in and get them a tilt rotator out. Our 325 is kind of like the max we would use for residential. We send it to larger residential home digs, but our 315– We have an 8-ton as well, too. But the 315 is kind of like the 15-ton. It’s perfect, it’s our residential beast because we do a lot of septic systems as well, too. And we just keep setting that thing out with the tilt rotator on it, grade beam, grading out the top soil around the house and all this stuff. It’s a super super handy machine. What is next for Amy? What is next for the_digger_girl? Or I guess, what’s next for Amy and then what’s next for the_digger_girl?
Amy Underwood: I'm actually going to wait until tomorrow. What time do I need to leave here in six hours? I'm going to go down to London tomorrow to a Rototilt day, actually, which will be pretty cool to try.
Taylor White: No way.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, to try out the latest technology and stuff. So that's my next, next . And then I'm flying over to Sweden at the end of October to see their factory with Rototilt, too. I was over at Steinexpo with Hyundai. In August, I was over there with them and I was over with Wacker Neuson a couple of weeks ago as well.
Taylor White: You're busy.
Amy Underwood: Yeah. It's good though. I'm so lucky with the likes of Hyundai and the different brand partnerships I've got. They all look after me. And it's good getting to go and try different bits of equipment. I'm getting a brand new 14-ton Hyundai demo actually for a couple of weeks as well, which will be kill.
Taylor White: Holy. That is awesome. Good for you for creating this for yourself. That's so impressive. That's super inspiring for me to even hear that. It sounds like you're getting the eyes of the people that you want to get.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, it's actually really funny. When I first started doing the social media, I'd be taking a picture or doing a video and my dad would be like, “Get that going away. You've got work to do.” And now I'm like, “Dad, we've got a 14-ton coming in demo.” He's like, “Oh, great.” And then he's like, “Can we get a cushion bucket?” And I'm like, I'm sure we'll manage something. So he's like, loving all the perks of it now.
Taylor White: Yeah. It was the same over here. I started YouTube first, and I started filming myself plowing snow at our storage facility. I just set up a GoPro on the backhoe and then dad's like, “Hey, this is embarrassing. My friends are asking me why you're filming yourself with a GoPro? This is so weird. And then you’re just plowing snow.” And then all of a sudden, it was like two months later, I got, like, 10,000 subscribers and I can start getting paid. He's like, “What?” He's like, “That's cool.” And then, yeah, the brand started reaching out and he's like, “Okay, yeah, this is pretty neat. Keep doing this.” And then now it's just like– He gets it now, but very hesitant at first.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, it's actually funny you say that. I was on a site I was at today. One of the boys came up in a tipper truck and he started spinning and he was like to me, “Oh, I hope you don't have that in camera.” And they're always winding me up about camera, but then they come up to me afterward being, “Oh, can you send me that if you got that in camera?” I'm like, “Yeah, you all laughed at it, but you actually like it.”
Taylor White: Oh, yeah, 100%. It's hard. Like I said, we have 26 people here that work for us, and I have a full-time videographer now. Didn't always have that. That is definitely something that's a privilege now. I'm super fortunate that we get to have that. For the first three years, it was just me. But then now the videographer, and it's such a dynamic because some mornings some guys don't want a camera put right in their face. And me included. I'm like, “Dude, F off, dude, I got to have a coffee first, or two or three coffees first before I'm even ready to rock here.” So it is kind of hard. And I always find, too, with social media, one thing I know you can probably relate to is some days you're just like, “Man, I just don't know what I want to create today. I feel like I've been making the same stuff. How can I change it up? How can I keep it inspiring?” Because you got to stay interested in it, too. You got to have fun making the stuff.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, absolutely. I just never tend to post on Instagram when I can't be bothered, basically. It is difficult, and people probably don't appreciate how difficult it is. And I find it more with YouTube because I do like a weekly with YouTube. So I'm filming Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday is what I've done. But on Tuesday–
Taylor White: You do weekly?
Amy Underwood: Yeah.
Taylor White: Do you edit?
Amy Underwood: I have an editor, thankfully. But you still got to download stuff from downloads.
Taylor White: No, I'm not saying it's easy yet. I'm not saying it, I know it's difficult.
Amy Underwood: That's the most annoying. Trying to download this content from GoPro, isn't it? And all your different cameras. But if I just wasn't in the mood for filming at all. And I just message Dan, like, “Look, I cannot film today. Or just do something I'm like do you know how hard it is to pull yourself to even talk to people when you can't be bothered, sometimes never mind to film yourself? And people I don't think will appreciate that until you do it yourself. Then you do realize how hard it actually is. Some days we just want to have a day off. Not from filming.
Taylor White: Well, you're always on. That's what I find hard.
Amy Underwood: When you're on a job and something's going wrong and you need the machine up fixed, running, you've got shit to get done, basically, you can't be having a camera on your face 24/7, but it's the joys of it all.
Taylor White: And that's something that from influencer to influencer that you talk about, and it's just like, “Yeah, okay.” And I'm sure there are people that are like, “Oh, my God, I'd love to film myself and get brand deals and stuff like that.” But at the end of the day, some days you're right. When it feels like work, I don't want to do it. That's why I like doing it in the first place because this does not feel like work. This is just something fun that I get to do. And obviously it does turn into a business like we were talking about. But, yeah, there's days where you're like, “I don't want to do this. I'm not even in the mood for it. I just need to chill and not be on camera and not worry about it.” You might be able to relate to this, my favorite days are when I know that we had enough content and my editor has enough content to keep going. And I have a day where I'm just like, I just get to sit in a machine today. I just get to do something and not think about the filming or the posting. And I'm just like, oh, it's like meditation, almost. I'm just sitting there like, this is the best feeling ever.
Amy Underwood: Yeah, that's absolutely right. When you know that everything's under control. I always look forward to every second weekend on a Sunday when I have nothing on, I'm like, nothing. No cameras, no nothing. Just do nothing. It's super good. I say that, but I'm still up at 8:00 in the morning making sure my YouTube's are uploaded for 8:00 in the morning every Sunday.
Taylor White: Seeing how it's performing. Eight out of ten? What the heck did I do wrong?
Amy Underwood: That's it.
Taylor White: Okay, lastly, before we wrap it up. I want you to kind of, like, summarize. What advice would you give somebody that wants to start a career in social media?
Amy Underwood: Do you know what? I find that one really hard to answer because I never meant to start a career on social media. It just kind of happened for me. But I guess you'd have to find something like, I'm very lucky because there's not very much women in construction or digger drivers. So I got quite like a niche thing there to try and promote. So you'd have to try and get something, one, that you enjoy doing to try and promote it, isn't it? And yeah, something that's going to be fun and grab people's attention, I guess. But that's really difficult for me to answer because I still don't believe that this is actually happening, and I just feel like it's a dream.
Taylor White: Yeah, I hear you there. You're doing awesome. I love seeing your stuff on Instagram and everything. I'm going to check out your YouTube. That would be awesome. I didn't know you were doing weekly things. The amount of effort that goes into that, I'll make sure to check that out. Where can people go? Like, what's your YouTube and then TikTok, Instagram. What do you want to promote here at the end?
Amy Underwood: Everything is the_digger_girl, but YouTube - I love all platforms for different reasons - I love YouTube the most because I can show the most on that. You'll know, the same if you put something on TikTok, you get so many haters and heroes because they're seeing a minute clip. When it's YouTube, I hardly get any hate over there because they're seeing the full picture and what's actually going on. I just love being able to share that a little bit more over on YouTube than the rest the other platforms.
Taylor White: So the_digger_girl everywhere.
Amy Underwood: the_digger_girl is everywhere.
Taylor White: Awesome. All right.
Amy Underwood: Even my merchandise.
Taylor White: Even your merchandise, yeah. Because you have a website dedicated– You sell merchandise, correct?
Amy Underwood: That's right. Yeah, I do. We're working on some new things as well, which has been really exciting in the pipeline. And hopefully, by the end of the year or the start of the next, we'll have some more stuff out.
Taylor White: All right, well, I'm after this. You're going to see an order go through for an XL shipped to Canada. I'm going to get–
Amy Underwood: The only thing is I don't actually ship to international, but it's going to change. Yesterday I shipped a cap to a guy in New Zealand. It was just like before Christmas there. There was, like, them cyberattacks and everything was down, and it cost me an absolute fortune. It was like £32 to send something to Ireland, and it just wasn't– And then you had to do all the forms and stuff. But hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will be international because everything seems to have calmed down a lot.
Taylor White: Well, I'm going to send you a message. I'm going to send you my address. You let me know how much it costs, and I’m going to–
Amy Underwood: I’m going to send you one over for having me on here. Okay.
Taylor White: Charge me an extra $50 for it? Let's do it.
Amy Underwood: Get me on your YouTube video and we'll be sound. That's a deal.
Taylor White: Amy, the_digger_girl, thank you for coming on the podcast. This is brought to you by our good friends over at Komatsu. Amy, thank you for coming on today.
Amy Underwood: Thanks very much for having me.
Taylor White: Thank you.