Crushcon Aggregates

KOMATSU AT A CONCRETE RECYCLING OPERATION

Jun 16, 2008

This Hampton, Va., company has found an immediate market for recycled concrete

With more than three decades of experience in the construction industry, Kenny Taylor had a first-hand perspective on a niche he could fill when he decided to launch CrushCon Aggregates in February of 2006.

Located in Hampton, Va., CrushCon Aggregates is a concrete recycling operation that takes in demolished concrete material that previously would have been taken to a landfill. When about 20,000 to 30,000 tons of material is accumulated, a crusher is brought in to process that concrete into one-and-one-half-inch-minus road base and three-inch stone. That finished product is then sold and used for road projects, erosion control — or anywhere else a virgin aggregate would be used.

“Crushed concrete has a tendency to be stronger and go back together because of all that cement,” Taylor said. “When it gets wet, it tightens back up. I think it’s a superior product if it’s done right.”

Industry experience

Taylor knows the value of that material, having formed CrushCon’s parent company, M.K. Taylor Contractors, Inc. in 1973. That company, which Taylor continues to oversee as President, provides excavation and site preparation, demolition, grading, paving, site concrete, specialty concrete work, storm sewer installation, hauling, site cleanup and snow removal services. Both M.K. Taylor and CrushCon do business mainly on the Virginia Peninsula, where their Hampton headquarters is located.

With no quarries in the immediate area and the high cost of hauling, Taylor saw a niche he could fill for companies looking to get rid of their demolished concrete — and wanting to purchase aggregate.

“We were having a difficult time getting rid of concrete,” Taylor said of the work done by M.K. Taylor. “Plus, we’re probably 80 or 90 miles from the closest quarry, so the demand for the material CrushCon produces is high.

“I noticed nobody was doing a really good job working with companies that wanted to get rid of their demolished concrete,” Taylor continued. “Nobody kept regular hours. Sometimes they wanted it and sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they’d charge for us to dump it and sometimes they wouldn’t. Sometimes they had the aggregate we needed; sometimes they didn’t.”

Mutual benefits

Taylor and M.K. Taylor Vice President Randy Parrish set up CrushCon Aggregates on property leased from Waste Management, which operates a landfill on adjacent land. While Waste Management is committed to recycling, it would prefer not to have concrete go into its landfills. By accepting the demolished concrete that would have gone to the landfill in the past, CrushCon Aggregates creates a win-win scenario for all the parties involved: haulers avoid the tipping fees associated with the landfill, landfill operators receive less material that will never decompose, and CrushCon Aggregates can recycle and resell material that was being thrown away.

In addition to overseeing M.K. Taylor and CrushCon Aggregates, Taylor and Parrish are also co-owners in a third business, Taylor Waste Services, which owns several dumpsters and provides solid-waste removal for its customers, from corporate to homeowners. Rick McPherson manages the waste division while Donald Summers fills a valuable role for all three companies as Shop Foreman.

In only two years of operation, CrushCon Aggregates has already doubled its output of material. Two employees are able to handle the everyday operations of CrushCon Aggregates, while a total of 25 employees make up the contracting services provided by M.K. Taylor.

Taylor said the formation of CrushCon illustrates a willingness and ability to adapt that has played a crucial role in the continued growth and success of his business enterprises.

“We’re always evolving,” said Taylor. “Some people might see it as leaving their comfort zone, but we look at it as making things a little more comfortable by diversifying.”

Productive equipment

Another major force behind the growth of CrushCon Aggregates has been the productivity of its equipment. Taylor said nearly all of his machines are Komatsu equipment from Rish Equipment Company, including WA200-5 and WA380-5 wheel loaders, D39PX-21, D39EX-21 and D68-E dozers, a PC160LC-7 excavator and a WB146-5 backhoe loader.

Taylor said his Komatsu WA380 wheel loader, acquired in January of 2006, plays an integral role at CrushCon Aggregates, loading and stockpiling material. “It has good balance and great power,” Taylor said. “The operators love its ease of operation.

“I also get a chance to run our D39s,” Taylor continued. “Those are probably as well-balanced as any dozer I’ve ever been on — and I’ve been on a lot of them. Those dozers sell themselves.”

“The D39 is a comfortable machine,” added Jerry Tarr, who has worked as a foreman for M.K. Taylor for 24 years. “It has a lot of room, especially for a bigger man, and that’s what I like about it. In the old days, the cabs were small with a little seat and we were always crunched up. Now, the cabs are roomy, which makes us more comfortable. We have air conditioning — which is a plus — and we have heat in the winter. Overall, I like the way it sits, the way it rides, the way it grades, the way it pushes, the power — everything. I like the Komatsu equipment.”

Taylor said he’s also been pleased with the durability of his Komatsu equipment. “I don’t think we’ve ever lost an engine, a final drive or a hydraulic pump.”

“The uptime is just awesome,” added Shop Foreman Donald Summers. “We have very little downtime with the Komatsus and that makes my life easier. We might have some normal hose breakage or other routine stuff, but that’s all it is — routine maintenance.”

For issues that aren’t routine, Taylor and Parrish said Rish Equipment has been extremely responsive. “Another plus for dealing with Rish Equipment is definitely the service,” Parrish said. “We have a service maintenance agreement with them and they come out and do service on the machine right on the jobsite.”

A sense of trust

Beyond the service, Taylor said developing a feeling of trust with his distributor is a big reason why he continues to purchase his machinery from Rish Equipment. “I’m a relationship guy,” he said. “To me, that’s very important. It’s about honesty and working with somebody I can trust and count on. And, if I have a machine down, I know they’re going to find one for me.

“We have a good relationship with Rish Equipment and our Sales Representative, Lee Parker. I trust him and I can honestly say I’ve never had to question any of our repair bills. With other distributors, I questioned everything.”

Having filled a niche in the market, there’s no questioning the bright future of CrushCon Aggregates. Taylor said the demand for crushed concrete appears to be unlimited. Getting that demolished material to its yard can be more of a challenge — CrushCon does some hauling, but Taylor said most of his customers either haul themselves or he’ll arrange trucking for them. To help with that issue, Taylor sees the possibility of opening a yard at another location sometime in the future.

It’s another way Taylor can adapt to the changing needs of his industry, as he’s done before. “Randy and I felt we needed to diversify and it was easier for us to diversify than to keep getting bigger in the construction business,” Taylor explained. “None of the three divisions we operate makes a real killing, but when we put them together, it’s a pretty comfortable living.”