Busy Streets and Small Windows, Paving: Non-Parking Lot Award 2023

The 2023 award for Best Paving Job: Non-Parking Lot, goes to the Howard Companies for going above and beyond expectations for The City of Fishers project

The award winning paving crew from Howard Companies.
The award winning paving crew from Howard Companies.

Although the Howard Companies were just formed in 2018, the company has a much bigger legacy in the Indianapolis area that goes all the way back to the 1960s. Previously, they were known as the Harding Group, but after they came under new ownership, they rebranded.

Mike Isaacs, Director of Quality Control, said that, "With the rebrand, we felt it was important to emphasize our core values as a paving company and quality is one of those values." And they shown their commitment to all of their values over the last four years by adding a wealth of new team members with many decades of combined experience.

The year 2022 presented difficulties in most markets across the country, and Indianapolis was not immune to them either. They were faced with shortages in liquid asphalt, aggregates, and the diesel prices too. One unique way they tackled these issues is in the organizing structure of the company itself. They are the only vertically integrated asphalt paving company in the area. Fishers 6Provided by Howard Companies

"We own our trucking fleet, asphalt plants, milling operation, asphalt maintenance & preservation crews, concrete crews and site preparation crews," Isaacs continued, "we believe these are distinct advantages."

Wining the Bid

"We understand what it takes to bid work, win work, and execute work to the highest quality," Sean Rizer, Howard Companies CFO, said. "The project we received the award for, City of Fishers 2022 contract, came together in February 2022 and the base contract was completed in October 2022. The City was impressed with our product and partnership they added additional scope with which we were able to complete the project with change orders by the end of 2022."

Their pre-construction and operations teams assessed the mainline city streets and subdivision neighborhood roads. It was a large project at almost 40,000 tons of mill and resurfacing, would take several months to complete, and required constant communication between the field, their offices, and the city administration to ensure a safe, prompt, and on-budget delivery.

In addition to the milling, replacing, patching, and straight paving; the company would also need to pave round-abouts, cul-de-sacs, bike paths, and walking trails. The job had a little bit of everything. However, the team was confident they had formulated a plan that was efficient, safe, and would be able to achieve all the goals and deadlines outlined by the city.

There was also one other key hurdle that pushed this job and Howard Companies even further, and that was a tight six-hour window to work within each day. From 9:00am to 3:00pm every day--that's it. Fishers is a community that is still growing, and has seen an uptick in motor traffic in recent years. So, the small work window was needed to keep the bustling streets moving as much as possible. Fishers 1

But in the end, not only did they satisfy the demands of the City of Fishers, they exceeded them. "The city was very impressed with the work we performed," Rizer said proudly, "So much so, additional scopes were added, and we performed several additional streets which were not initially planned to be done."

That is a pretty big vote of confidence for not only the quality of the work performed, but also "how" the work was carried out. Navigating a city administrations needs, along with the community residents daily transportation needs, is no small feat. 

What Sets Them Apart

Howard Companies describes themself as an employee first company. "We know without quality employees there is no chance of producing a quality project," Rizer said. "Our people are our greatest resource and we look for ways to provide the top tier benefit package as well as fun activities like a huge summer party that includes employees and all family members."

That's helped them stay ahead of the game in the Indianapolis area, with staffing shortages being a major issue in the industry nationwide for the last year. They keep meeting deadlines and performing above expectations, and that might be due to their overall company cultural outlook, according to Sean Rizer. Over the last four years since their rebranding, even through the pandemic, Howard Companies has experienced steady growth both organically and through some acquisitions. 

"We embrace change," he said. "In an industry that is generally tagged as lagging behind We are constantly looking for ways to provide best in class HMA plants, new construction equipment, new fleet of approximately 75 triaxle and quadaxle dump trucks to service our projects. This award is the crowning achievement of a successful 2022 year for Howard Companies.