"You have to show the powers that be why it's a good idea — from a tax revenue standpoint and from an infrastructure building cost standpoint. And you must hit the environmental concerns head on, putting forth more of a concern for the environment than yourself. After all, there are many plants that actually win environmental awards. This new asphalt plant technology is very clean," says Bevilacqua.
"There's definitely a learning curve in operating a plant the first year," says Bevilacqua, who adds that he was fortunate to have hired a veteran asphalt plant operator with nearly 20 years of industry experience. "Our operator, Roland Noury, is a big part of our success," he says.
Plant operator Noury says he has learned to make the plant 'talk,' especially when he's logged one of his 2,500-ton days. As his workday is from 5 a.m. until the day is done, he likes the fact that the ADM plant is very easy to start and very easy to shut down. "After you turn everything on, it's basically two buttons, then light the burner, open the damper on the exhaust, and you're good to go," he says. "I also like the recovery system. There are no leaks or fumes," he says adding that this was the first time he had actually seen a recovery system working on a plant. "The last plant I operated before joining Bevilacqua Paving didn't even have the system connected to the plant. It was just sitting on the ground unattached. Some producers just want to get the plant running. If they know they can cut the recovery system and be operating in two days rather than two weeks, they often just forget about that recovery system," he says.
As to the silos, Noury likes the simplified flop gate system. "Simple is better on these plants. The silos are set up so that it's just a couple of pistons running the whole show — and you're just making an easy switch from one silo to the next. I have three silos and I try to keep one of them open in case I need a special mix," he says.
In most cases, Bevilacqua Paving has structured its operation to make its ¾-inch binder mixes all in one day; and its topcoats or ½-inch road top mixes on other days.
After some months in operation a RAP system was added to the plant. And again, due to the ADM counterflow design, Bevilacqua can normally add RAP to its mixes at levels from 10 to 40 percent.
Securing market share
Presently the Bevilacqua Paving operation consists of 60-percent residential and commercial paving projects; and 40-percent public roadway contracts. "I believe we are the only company in the Boston area that owns an asphalt plant and still does a good share of private work. I did not want to turn my back on a market that we can now really own," says Bevilacqua. "Since we've bought our own plant, we're in a league of our own. We're bidding against guys who don't have their own plant and we're really dictating the market. We're now competitive enough that we can pick and choose the project areas that really interest us the most. That's put us in the driver's seat."