“They’ve been working with me since they were 16 years old,” he says. “My sons and I are very hands-on. We work alongside our employees on every project, and we treat our crew like they’re part of the family.”
In addition to its asphalt production crew, J & J has one paving crew, which uses eight Hamm rollers and two Vgele pavers. Within the last few years, Wagner has considered adding a second paving crew but has held off due to economic uncertainty.
Despite slower economic times, J & J has maintained a steady workload. “We haven’t done as many new housing developments lately, but we’re doing more restaurant and hotel parking lots,” says Wagner. “The tourism industry in the Black Hills is growing, so we’re getting new commercial jobs to replace our residential ones. We probably pave about 80 percent of the new parking lots in Rapid City.”
Furthermore, the city government has increased spending, which has also helped the cause for J & J. “Rapid City went from a $700,000 yearly paving budget to a $2 million budget,” says Wagner. “That’s helped take up some of the slack.”
In addition to its core projects, J & J has picked up several well-known customers throughout the years, such as Mount Rushmore, which has contracted with J & J multiple times to perform repairs and do an overlay. The company also does maintenance for nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base. “We have a five-year maintenance contract with the air force base,” says Wagner. “We do shoulder work, runway paving and taxiways, as well as streets on the air base.”
Wagner attributes much of his success to the family values of the company, and he’s proud to carry on the family-owned tradition with his two sons. He also gives some credit to ADM’s tradition of service.
“I’m pleased to have partnered with ADM for more than 25 years,” he said. “I’m very happy with their products and their personnel … It’s been a great relationship.”