Aggregate Construction


July 3, 2012

Rugged work calls for reliable Komatsu equipment

A Ask Bob Cogdill about any project Aggregate Construction has done over the past 28 years and he can easily give you the particulars. That’s because Cogdill, Owner of the Minot-based company, keeps a diary that lists where every product the company produced went.

“It’s something I did even when I worked for another crushing company before Aggregate Construction was formed,” explained Cogdill. “It’s a way to not only tell what we’ve done, but a map to where we can access the materials to make the products our customers need. It’s one of my most valuable tools.”

Referencing the diary, Cogdill noted that the first job Aggregate Construction ever did was producing a few thousand tons of road gravel for Williams County. At the time, Cogdill and then Co-owner Robin Funke — Cogdill bought out Funke about four years ago — moved a crusher, loader and dozer to a site near Williston to produce their first product.

Since then, Aggregate Construction has produced millions of tons of materials for a variety of customers with its custom crushing services. In addition to road gravel for counties and municipalities, the company supplies ready-mix asphalt and concrete plants. Products, coming from about 25 pits Cogdill owns or leases, range from washed sand and concrete rock to riprap. The company also has a wash plant.

“We work closely with customers to meet their specifications, and we provide testing to ensure that it does,” noted Cogdill. “That, along with the quality we provide, helped us develop a solid reputation. It’s allowed us to gain a sizeable number of repeat customers who turn to us as their supplier of choice.

“Of course, we do quite a large amount of bid work for governmental projects, such as highway construction,” he added. “When that work is let, we provide contractors with a material price. We also bid as a prime contractor on projects where rock is the primary portion of the contract.”

Taking chances pays off

Quality products and a solid reputation helped Aggregate Construction grow well beyond the western North Dakota area it originally served. While most of its work in the past couple of years has been within about a 100-mile radius of Minot, the company has traveled as far as Arizona. It’s also worked in Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana.

“That Arizona job came about as a result of another job we were doing for a customer in Wyoming, and it allowed us to do some work we otherwise wouldn’t have had in the winter,” Cogdill pointed out. “For the most part though, we’ve stayed fairly consistent in terms of work through the years. About 75 percent of our work in the last few years has been right here in North Dakota, and most of the other 25 percent in South Dakota. In the past, it’s been just the opposite.”

One big reason for the shift has been the boom in North Dakota’s oil industry. With it has come a huge demand for rock used to build well locations in the western part of the state. Aggregate Construction supplies railroad ballast and crushed rock.

“While we have a good reputation with local customers, the oil companies didn’t really know us when they came in,” recalled Cogdill. “We had the pits and materials, so we set up and started crushing with the idea in mind that they would need those materials eventually. We took a chance, which I’ve always been open to. The oil companies came, and we’ve continued to work with them. That’s become a large element of our business.”

Like other customers, the oil companies have a choice of how they get materials delivered to their sites. “Some customers choose to come to the pit with their own trucks, and some want us to truck the material for them. On projects we bid, such as road work, the trucking is part of the project. Sometimes, we’ll crush and stockpile and customers will come with their own loaders and trucks and haul it out. We do whatever the job and the customer call for.”

Hardworking, award-winning staff

Cogdill estimates a typical project calls for about 250,000 tons of material, and Aggregate Construction usually has six or seven projects going at once. To meet demand, the company operates four crushing spreads that are run by Superintendents Tim Meckle, Kyle Pelton and Bob’s son Josh. Other key personnel include Safety Director/Materials Engineer Max Schriock, Estimator Terry Sanders, Parts Manager/Truck Superintendent Rick Olson and Office Manager Marilyn Lundy.

“Hard work has been one factor in this company’s success, but just as important is who does that work,” said Cogdill. “Several people have been here a decade or more, including Tim, who’s been here more than 20 years. The people who work here are among the best you’ll ever meet. There’s absolutely no way Aggregate Construction would be where it is today, or able to do what we do, without them.”

Cogdill notes they’ve helped Aggregate Construction garner recognition through the years, including Quality Awards from the North and South Dakota Departments of Transportation, as well as Safety Excellence Awards.

Appreciates Komatsu, General

In addition to a hardworking staff, Cogdill credits Komatsu equipment for ensuring operations run productively. His first machine was a WA500 wheel loader, purchased about 15 years ago. He now has about a dozen of the machines for stockpiling, charging crushers and loading trucks. In addition, he has five D155 dozers, used to remove overburden and reclaim pits.

“This business requires equipment that can not only stand up to rugged conditions, but do it without costing us downtime,” said Cogdill. “From the time we started using Komatsu, it became our machinery of choice. There are several reasons we continue to use Komatsu equipment, including ease of operation and productivity, which both the wheel loaders and dozers provide. Another standout feature is fuel efficiency.

“For example, we’ve compared our D155 dozers to competitive brands of comparable size,” he continued. “Komatsus routinely use about 40 percent less fuel and, over the course of time, that’s a huge savings that benefits our bottom line. Plus, they have excellent power. Much of the work we do in South Dakota involves harder rock, which means we have to rip it. The D155s get through it with no problem.”

In addition to Komatsu equipment, Aggregate Construction recently purchased a Cedarapids MVP 380 cone crusher. All Komatsu and Cedarapids machinery was purchased from General Equipment & Supplies’ Minot store with the help of Sales Representative/Branch Manager Dave Solper. “As much as we like Komatsu and Cedarapids equipment, we appreciate Dave and General even more,” insisted Cogdill. “They’ve been excellent about finding us the equipment we need. For the most part, we handle service, using parts purchased from General. Whenever we’ve needed parts or service assistance, they’ve been right there to help.”

It remains about quality

Much has changed through the years, but at Aggregate Construction, there is one constant — quality products. Cogdill intends that to always remain the case, even as his business booms along with the ever-expanding oil industry in North Dakota.

“It still comes down to making quality products to specifications — always has, always will,” observed Cogdill. “Just because the oil industry brought additional business, doesn’t mean we can sit back and relax our standards. If we do that, customers will go elsewhere.”

With his son Josh working full time now for Aggregate Construction, Bob’s passing along that commitment. “Of course, we have the diary to fall back on, and that would give him a good start if he wants to take over the business someday. I hope that’s the case.”