“Komatsu checked all of our boxes”
Everett Dykes Grassing Co., Inc. has evolved with the heavy highway and asphalt paving industry. Everett Dykes started the company in 1961 with a focus on erosion control – or grassing as it was called then – around the newly constructed highways in central Georgia. Once those roads were completed, the emphasis changed to include surface treatment work, such as slurry seal and soil cement. Eventually the business grew into an asphalt company that performs light grading, asphalt laydown and surface treatment.
“We’ve done a little bit of everything, except for bridges,” said Everett’s son, Van Dykes. “Dad started off with a small grassing company, and today we have 130 employees and handle some large projects. It’s been a fun life.”
Van and his brother, Ricky, took over the company in 1989 when Everett passed away. In 2011, they sold the business to Construction Partners Incorporated (CPI), a construction management firm that owns several companies throughout the Southeast. The firm continues to do asphalt and surface-treatment projects in southern Georgia and South Carolina under the Everett Dykes Grassing name. The brothers’ presence is still felt at the firm, as both serve as Project Managers.
“Ricky and I stay involved – but we get to wear shorts and sandals to the office now,” joked Van. “Last year, we promoted Steve Raffield to President. He’s been with us forever, and he’s doing a great job. We have so many terrific people, and that’s been key to our success.”
Today, Everett Dykes Grassing has three asphalt plants and a pair of soil cement plants. The bulk of the company’s work occurs in a 60-mile radius of their asphalt plants in Surrency, Oak Park and Cary. The facilities make five different grades of asphalt and combined to produce 270,000 tons of asphalt last year.
Successfully managing projects is a hallmark of Everett Dykes Grassing, and two of their recent assignments are shining examples of that. The first was a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 16 in Georgia. This effort saw the company mill 120 lane miles of shoulders, reclaim the soil cement base and complete nearly 1.1 million square yards of cement-treated base.
“The I-16 project was a great one for us,” said Steve. “We removed the existing material, mixed cement in the sub grade and finished it for plain cement concrete. We started in late 2012 and finished in 2015. It was a large job, but we were able to perform on it.”
The company’s full array of services was on display at the Eastman Bypass job in Dodge County, Ga., as it handled the grading and laid the soil cement base as well as the asphalt on a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of roadway. The two-year project also earned Everett Dykes Grassing some flashy hardware.
“Each year the state of Georgia presents a smoothness award for paving projects, and we won the asphalt award for the Eastman Bypass,” said Steve. “It was another solid effort for us. It was new construction, so we were able to control most of the job on our own, which helped. We did it all with the exception of the specialty items, such as guardrails and striping.”
This year the company is busy with another massive undertaking, the $23-million Cochran Bypass widening. The six-mile project is a bridge and railroad overpass. Everett Dykes Grassing will widen the existing roadway and do the grading, base and asphalt work.
TEC, Wirtgen Group and Komatsu
When it comes to building a fleet to handle those large projects, Everett Dykes Grassing turns to Tractor & Equipment Company (TEC) and Vice President, Regional Sales Manager Tony Daughtry for Wirtgen Group products, Komatsu machines, Etnyre equipment and Superior Brooms.
“We consider TEC a partner in our business,” stated Steve. “Tractor Equipment holds itself to a higher standard. Its sales and service are phenomenal, and it’s a pleasure to work with everyone there.”
On road projects, Everett Dykes Grassing crews run Vögele 5203-2 pavers and Wirtgen WR 2400 cold recyclers.
“Our operators love the Vögele pavers,” shared Steve. “They give excellent rides and they hold up. One of our crews has been using the same paver for six years. We’ve laid a lot of asphalt with them, including the Eastman Bypass.
“The same goes for our Wirtgen milling machines,” he added. “We’ve been using them for 20 years, and they continue to produce. They do a lot for us, and we can depend on them. That’s valuable to us.”
Everett Dykes Grassing also deploys a fleet of Komatsu equipment to its assignments. The company has a PC290LC excavator, two D39PX dozers and a WA200 wheel loader.
“We purchased the PC290 in 2016 after we stacked it up against the competitors,” explained Raffield. “Our operators preferred it over everything else. Load times, ease of operation, comfort – Komatsu checked all of our boxes.
“Our dozers have been awesome for us as well,” he continued. “We’ve had them for 10 years, and they continue to perform. We use our wheel loader to load trucks, and it’s fantastic. Overall, we’re extremely happy with our Komatsu machinery.”
As Everett Dykes Grassing continues to grow and tackle new projects, it is a safe bet that TEC will remain a trusted partner.
“We’ve had a very positive relationship with TEC and Tony for many years,” said Van. “The support we receive from them is outstanding. Anyone can sell a machine, but we appreciate that TEC continues to go above and beyond for us after the sale.”
“If we have an issue, TEC steps up and handles it quickly,” added Ricky.
Everett Dykes Grassing has enjoyed success throughout its 56 years of operation, and the company's leaders are confident about a future that appears to be even brighter.
“We’ve built a solid reputation, and we are in a great position now to see even more success in the coming years,” noted Steve. “In our location, especially, there are some factors that make us optimistic. We are in a rural area, and there are a lot of lane miles that need maintenance work. Thankfully, our state and local representatives have passed measures to ensure that those jobs get done. There is plenty of work and now there is a budget to complete it, which is just as important.”
To meet the needs of a growing job list, the company has begun to recruit and expand. Last summer, it added a new, full-time surface treatment crew of 15 employees and anticipates hiring more qualified personnel.
“We are fortunate to have such a great group of employees; we have some of the best people in the business on staff,” said Steve. “We hope to be able to keep bringing in good people to work here. Technology has changed some things, but I think that is going to help us attract the younger generation.”
Recruiting and retaining quality employees has been a key part of Everett Dykes Grassing since 1961, and Ricky and Van plan to stick around to make sure that continues.
“We have a group of young people coming up in the organization who will keep us strong,” predicted Van. “Ricky and I are going to be here for a while – we’re invested in seeing the new generation succeed.”