Komatsus have impressed Concrete Technologies, Inc.
The Des Moines metro area is growing at
a healthy annual rate. Two of the nation’s
largest interstates converge there, several major
companies have established operations in the
area and it regularly appears on the lists of the
“Best Places to Live.” Concrete Technologies,
Inc. (CTI), located in the Des Moines suburb of
Grimes, is perfectly situated to handle all the
growth and attention.
“We’ve been very fortunate to grow along
with the Des Moines area,” said President and
Owner Brad Baumler. “We started in 2001 with a
handful of employees doing small concrete jobs.
Today, we have three divisions and nearly 200
employees. We perform 80 to 100 highway and
commercial concrete projects a year, ranging from
$10,000 to $15 million – all within approximately
60 miles of Des Moines.”
CTI excels in heavy highway construction
work, mainly on nearby Interstates 35 and 80 as
well as the mixmaster interchanges that connect
them. The company’s first large highway project
involved redirecting a 3.6-mile section of I-35 in
Ankeny, a northern suburb of Des Moines. CTI
took the existing interstate and shifted it to the east,
adding an exit and a bridge as well as pouring the
pavement underneath it.
“Ankeny is growing rapidly, so the new exit
was needed to help alleviate congestion,” said
Vice President of Operations Andy Denker.
“To create the exit and not interfere with what
already existed, we curved it to the east. It is
the main artery to Des Moines from the north,
so we ran a number of different shifts – mainly
at night – to keep the commute running smoothly.”
The company also tackled another
high-traffic stretch of I-35, this time south of the
I-235/I-80 West interchange. This project featured
the construction of a new bridge adjacent to an
existing one. CTI handled the paving work on the
interstate and collaborated on the project with two
separate contractors – one that constructed the
new bridge and the second, which handled the
“The biggest challenge on that job was keeping
two lanes of traffic open in each direction,” recalled
Denker. “It was very tight. There were several
traffic switches as well as weekend and night shifts
needed to complete the job.”
The company’s list of well-known projects
includes more than major interstates. The
growing population of the Des Moines metro area
makes it attractive to prominent companies like
Facebook and Microsoft. When they decided to
build data centers in central Iowa, CTI was ready.
“Our sweet spot is vertical-integration
construction,” explained Baumler. “We are
well-equipped to build large, wide-open
structures, like warehouses, which is what
Facebook and Microsoft needed for their
While those two customers are recognized
around the world, Baumler points to two local
jobs that put CTI on the map and prepared it for
the tech companies’ projects. In 2004, CTI started
work on sections of the Jordan Creek Mall – the
largest shopping center in the state of Iowa at
1.34 million square feet.
At the time of the Jordan Creek construction,
CTI also began working on warehouses for
“The mall and Firestone work put us on
the map and really accelerated our growth,”
said Baumler. “When we started we had 30
employees, and we more than doubled in size
during the two years it took to complete those
projects. They helped us leap to the next level.
Without them, I don’t know if we would have
landed the Facebook or Microsoft work.”
Baumler says CTI’s ability to handle large,
high-visibility jobs with success has made it a
sought-after company on similar endeavors.
“We are proud to be associated with
high-visibility projects, but we are thankful and
don’t take it for granted. We know there is a lot
of pressure to perform on those jobs, and we
like that challenge.”
The company’s list of noteworthy
accomplishments also includes work on Iowa
State University’s Jack Trice Stadium, EMC
Insurance Company’s new offices in downtown
Des Moines, and several Kum & Go gas stations.
Diversification spurs growth
While building an impressive client list can spur
growth, oftentimes diversification is necessary
as well. To fuel CTI’s development, Baumler
expanded his business in two ways. First, in 2005,
he purchased a concrete company and then in 2014,
he opened a crushing/recycling division.
“We were looking for a way to grow and be
competitive, and both of those moves made
sense,” said Baumler. “We bought the ready-mix
company when we started doing large, heavy
highway work, and nine years later, we added the
The addition of the ready-mix business also
helped the company expand; it has about 60
employees in that division today.
“Our main focus was commercial concrete, so
buying the ready-mix plant was a sound decision,”
explained Baumler. “I also felt that highway
construction was a market we needed to get into,
so I bought a paver at the same time, and we went
The addition of the crushing/recycling division
coincided with the company’s move to its Grimes
location two years ago. With this division, CTI
accepts material from other companies looking
for disposal services, in addition to material from
CTI Ready Mix.
“The crushing/recycling division has been
positive from a cost-savings standpoint,” said
Denker. “We’ve benefitted from having it, and we
have had significant use from other companies.
Right now, the division is running at nearly
60 percent of its total capacity and processing
1,500-2,000 tons of material per day. “We believe
this level of production is the most efficient for us,”
noted Recycling Division Manager Jerid Shryock.
“It’s a nice steady pace, and it allows us to keep up
with what we need to do.”
RMS a big contributor
To ensure that all of its divisions are running
smoothly, CTI enlists the help of Road Machinery &
Supplies Co. and Sales Rep Bob Newman.
For large highway projects, CTI uses a GOMACO
GHP-2800 slipform paver. The company made the
purchase in 2008 when it began the I-35 project in
Ankeny. The machine can easily pave up to 3,000
yards a day. It is the largest paver in CTI’s fleet,
but its efficiency is what makes it so valuable.
“The main benefit of the 2800 is its double
sliders; we can do changeovers twice as fast,”
said Supervisor Rick Byrkett. “The technology
on it is awesome. We can enter all the data –
footage, crown dimensions, and width – and it
handles it automatically. This takes out a lot of
At its crushing/recycling operation, CTI uses
a Komatsu PC210LC excavator to process and
separate material and a Komatsu WA470 wheel
loader to feed its crushing spread. Both machines
are less than six months old, but have already
impressed those at CTI.
“The Komatsu equipment has been awesome,”
said Denker. “We purchased the PC210 in
December 2015, and it has been a workhorse.
We demo’d the WA470 and loved it, so we have
rented it since April.
“Two big selling points for us were
Komatsu CARE and KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s
remote machine-monitoring system,” added
Denker. “To have the ability to track our machines
through KOMTRAX and have RMS perform
complimentary service for the first three years or
2,000 hours through Komatsu CARE provides
Having RMS as a partner in the purchases was
another bonus. “Knowing that RMS will take
care of us by having equipment and service ready
when we need it is important,” said Baumler.
“We rely on their expertise, and we trust them.
Bob does an amazing job.”
Better is better
CTI has experienced tremendous growth, both
in size and reputation, during the last decade.
Baumler doesn’t anticipate that type of growth
in the future for his company; instead, he simply
wants it to improve each day.
“I don’t think we will aggressively look for
growth like we have in the past,” he said. “If an
opportunity comes up and it makes sense, then
we’ll do it. Bigger isn’t always better. Better is
better. We have great people working here, and
we have a solid reputation. If those two things
remain constant, we’ll be successful.”