Customers in Action

Crush-It, Inc.

THIS FLORIDA GULF COAST CRUSHING/RECYCLING FIRM SPECIALIZES IN DOING QUALITY WORK IN TIGHT SPACES

November 03, 2015

“Our operators like to run the Komatsus”

In 1991, Dave Richardson started Two R, a site work company in Osprey, Florida, south of Sarasota. In 2002, he switched the focus of his company to crushing/recycling and renamed the firm Crush-It.

“I was working with a trucking company and saw a need for crushing and recycling, which I suspected would grow in the coming years,” Richardson recalled. “I started with one crusher and maybe a couple of employees. Today, we have eight crushers and crews. Much of our work is for companies in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, but a lot of our customers travel throughout Florida. If a good customer has a big job in Miami, Jacksonville or anywhere else in the state – and they want us to crush and recycle for them – we’re happy to be part of their team. We’re all about relationships.”

Crush-It recycles asphalt from roads, parking lots and waste from asphalt plants. It also recycles concrete from highways, building demolition and wash-out from ready-mix trucks. Crushed material gets re-used, typically as road base, fill material or paver product. In addition to crushing and recycling on-site for customers, Crush-It also has a recycle yard in Tampa where it accepts clean concrete and asphalt rubble, millings, block, tile and brick, which it crushes for future use.

“Asphalt producers, concrete recyclers and site developers are our main customers,” said Richardson’s stepson and Vice President, John Wohlwend. “They build stockpiles at their locations. When their stockpile gets big, they bring us in to crush.

“Recycling is important because it’s good for the environment and it saves money,” he noted. “Take site development that includes demolition, for example. When a structure is torn down to be replaced with something new, and material is hauled off and disposed of in a landfill, virgin material has to be brought in as base. When we recycle, we process the demolished material for re-use on site. It’s cheaper and easier because there’s no trucking and no need to purchase new material.”

Crush-It’s jobs vary in size from 5,000 to 120,000 tons of material or more. The company then creates product that can be as fine as sand, or as large as 4 inches.

“We take pride in producing a quality product,” said Wohlwend. “We want to hear from quality control engineers so we can make adjustments, if necessary, to ensure that we’re achieving proper spec. Communication during and after the job is important because we want to learn if there’s anything we can do better.”

“We treat our smallest customer the same way we treat our largest customer – same respect and same quality of work,” said Richardson. “I think one of our greatest strengths as a company is that we’re self-sufficient and turnkey. Customers just have to tell us what they want and we’ll get it done. We also have a good safety record, which is very important to customers.”

“Something else we’re really good at is working in tight spaces,” said Superintendent Gabriel Galeano. “Sometimes, a customer will warn us that there’s not a lot of room. I tell them, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll find a way to get it done.’ And we do.”

A team effort

Richardson credits the staff for much of Crush-It’s success.

“We have great employees. We hire people as laborers and train them up. I believe every foreman we have started as a laborer. We want them to learn the ‘Crush-It Way,’ but beyond that, I like to give our employees a career path. Promoting from within gives our employees a challenge and hope. They know if they do a good job, they can get a better job.”

Richardson relies on Wohlwend, Galeano and Purchasing Manager Andrew Fernandez to help him manage operations.

“Dave is the brains of the operation,” said Wohlwend. “He has the experience, the vision and a great mind for finances. Andrew, Gabriel and I take care of much of the day-to-day workload. Job titles are deceiving. We’re all ‘hands-on’ managers. The mindset here is we all do whatever needs to be done. If one of us needs to be a parts runner, operator or laborer for a day or a week – that’s what we do.”

“It’s a team effort that extends to our individual crews,” added Fernandez. “We don’t have any prima donnas. We’re all here to help each other and make one another’s lives and jobs easier. We have some of the best employees anywhere – hard working, trustworthy people. We don’t have much turnover, so our crews are highly experienced. Because of the atmosphere of opportunity that John and Dave promote, our employees know they’re important. As a result, they treat the company like it’s their own.”

“Dependable” Komatsu equipment

Each Crush-It crew uses a mobile crusher, a hydraulic excavator and a wheel loader, plus ancillary equipment as needed. The Crush-It fleet includes seven Komatsu excavators (three PC290s and four PC300s) and seven Komatsu WA380 wheel loaders.

“Komatsu equipment makes up a large majority of our fleet today,” said Richardson. “For us, it’s about uptime. We count on our machines to work every day. Komatsus do that better than anything else we’ve tried. They seem to be built stronger, so they rarely break down. We’re in a tough environment, and our Komatsus stand up to it.”

“Komatsu excavators and wheel loaders are good, tough machines that are very fuel-efficient and last a long time,” added Galeano. “Also, our operators like to run the Komatsus. That’s important because if they like their machine and they’re comfortable in it, they’re more productive.”

Also important to Crush-It is the support it receives from Linder Industrial Machinery. Sales Rep Greg Woodard, Customer Support Manager J.D. Goff and Plant City Service Manager Mike Meadows are all involved in ensuring that Crush-It receives the sales, parts and service it needs to be successful.

“The Linder Customer Service Manager program works very well for us,” said Fernandez. “John and Dave deal with Greg, but when we need parts or service support, I call J.D. He’s familiar with us and our operation. I make one call and he takes care of the rest – contacting the right people at Linder and making sure they get right on it.”

“Dealer support is very important to us, and Linder does an excellent job providing the support we need,” said Richardson. “Linder is so good, we often use them to service our other brands in addition to our Komatsu machines.”

Steady growth

Crush-It has grown considerably since Richardson started it 13 years ago.

“We had some nice growth, then like everybody, we lost ground during the Great Recession, but we’ve bounced back,” said Richardson. “Since about 2011, we’ve grown steadily and I think we’ll continue to grow.”

“The key for us will be to continue to provide the type of service that our customers have come to expect,” added Wohlwend. “About 80 percent of our work is for repeat customers, so it’s crucial that we do a good job for them and continue to earn their business. In addition, we’re always looking for new customers who want a crushing partner that’s reliable; will provide a quality product at a reasonable price; and is easy to work with. As long as we keep working hard and meeting our customers’ needs, I’m optimistic about what the future holds for Crush-It and our employees.”