Terry Wenger, president and owner of Tri-County Paving Inc. in DeForest, WI is a man on the go. Over the 23 years of his business, he's added services to position his company as the one-stop source for customers in need of paving, gravel, grading, excavating, residential and commercial milling, pulverizing, soil stabilization and foamed asphalt recycling.
And while other contractors may have experienced the economic jitters of 2007, Wenger saw it as the right time to expand his service capabilities by adding asphalt production to his offering.
Prior to launching his own business 23 years ago, Wenger worked for another Wisconsin asphalt paving company. He started out as a driveway paving contractor and soon expanded into the excavation market.
"We do site work with our grading and excavating capabilities, but today approximately 75 percent of our business is tied to asphalt work," Wenger says. "In 2006 we placed 80,000 tons of asphalt that we purchase from other producers. Last year after we brought our new plant online, we placed 80,000 tons with our own paving crew and sold another 80,000 tons to outside customers."
Not a bad start for an asphalt contractor deciding to move into the production side of the business. Wenger, in particular, was pleased with the first year of operation, noting that it takes time for "a new producer to gain the trust of customers who've been buying from other producers."
But Wegner also notes that the investment in such a substantial plant should help convince his potential customers that he's serious about being the producer of choice in his competitive market northwest of Madison.
"There's a lot of competition out there, but we made a substantial investment in a plant that is capable of delivering whatever our customers need in the way of quantity, quality and type of mix designs," Wenger says.
Tri-County's new plant is set up in a quarry near the community of Arlington. Yahara Materials leases the mineral rights and processes all the material pulled out of the quarry, with Tri-County having exclusive rights to all the processed material produced at the site. Yahara also provides crushing and screening of the reclaimed asphalt pavement Tri-County uses in its production.
"We looked at purchasing a used plant, but then Dillman came up with a package that included new and used components, and at a price that just made it work for what we wanted," Wenger says.
Tri-County installed a Dillman 400-tph skid-mounted Unified counterflow drum mixer equipped with Hauck EcoStar ESII-125 (125 million BTUs) burner that can burn either natural gas or waste oil. Tri-County is currently firing the burner on waste oil alone.
The used equipment in the plant package included a refurbished six-bin aggregate cold feed system with a refurbished 5' x 14' single deck aggregate screen and a refurbished 30" x 70' aggregate scale conveyor. Other used components included a refurbished two-bin recycle system with a refurbished 4' x 10' single deck recycle screen and a refurbished 30" x 70' recycle scale conveyor; and a refurbished control module with controls and a refurbished PM-96 blending control system with a new I.C.E. loadout. Tri-County uses one of the bins for RAP and the other for recycled asphalt shingle (RAS).
"We produce a lot of RAP on our own projects and when working for other contractors, so we have a good available supply for our production needs," Wegner says. "We also purchase ground recycled shingles (tear-offs) from a local supplier and we're beginning to incorporate that material into the mixes we produce."
With the cost of liquid asphalt cement binder at $400 per ton (Tri-County paid $350 per ton in 2007 during the first year the plant was in operation), RAP and RAS have taken on a significant value to both producers like Tri-County and customers.