Contractors are always looking to maintain their competitive edge whether it is with customer service, quality work or enhanced marketing plans. Located in Hermantown, a suburb of Duluth, MN, KTM Paving is always seeking out opportunities to remain competitive in its market. Investing in employees is one of the areas KTM Paving has been able to enhance the company.
“What separates us from our competitors is that we invest in our employees,” says Steve Emerson, sealcoating superintendent. “We attend the National Pavement Expo so that we are on top of new techniques and the latest equipment available. Every year we put at least 80 hours of training into our employees.”
By investing in training and education courses, KTM has been able to maintain a higher retention rate. “We keep our employees and have a low turnover rate,” Emerson says. “Roughly 50 percent of our work force has been with the company between 6 to 10 years. In the long run, this keeps us be competitive because we have quality workers.”
Steady growth over the years
Started in 2002 by brothers Tim and Ken Maki, KTM Paving serves Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin, working within a 150-mile radius.
The company started out with 10 employees growing to 40 employees over the past decade. It has always placed a focus on diversification offering services such as paving, excavating, septic systems and gravel. Now, the company is owned by Tim Maki.
Currently, the breakdown of services is 60 percent paving, 25 percent underground utilities, 10 percent truck rentals for other area companies and 5 percent sealcoating. The pavement maintenance division operates two four-man crews—one striping and one sealcoating. While the company continues to offer the original services it has expanded into pavement maintenance division including sealcoating and striping services.
The pavement maintenance division has enhanced KTM Paving’s relationships with existing customers. “The pavement maintenance crews are able to service our old customers by keeping up with their maintenance schedule,” Emerson says. “We can go from gravel to paving to maintenance work to have repeat customers.
“We look at the full scope of the project so that customers have years of a quality parking lot. We always follow up on projects so that the customers can keep the quality and not have to replace it.”
Serving both residential and commercial customers, KTM Paving has completed work for several resorts, property management companies, and the Department of Natural Resources repairing bridges for all-terrain vehicles.
Along with those projects, KTM Paving completed some emergency repair work to roads after the flooding that occurred in spring 2012. “The disaster that hit us in the spring caught our utilities off guard,” Emerson says. “With our equipment and manpower we were able to capitalize and fix up the areas quickly.
“We would prep the site in a day and within a week or two we would be back to pave it in a day,” Emerson says. “We would close the road down, work on one side of the road and then the other side. We had to install all of the signage.”
As for the future, KTM Paving is hoping to maintain its steady growth, expanding into services that utilize larger equipment such as excavators. “We are in a good place to grow,” Emerson says. “Our plan is to continue to grow and diversify our services.”