Aggregate industry optimistic about the months ahead

By |  January 4, 2022
Photo: P&Q Staff

Construction materials should continue to flow at growing rates in 2022 based on passage of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act and other factors. Photo: P&Q Staff

The aggregate industry is ringing in the new year with a renewed sense of optimism.

Despite the surprises and challenges 2021 brought, industry stakeholders tend to agree that last year was – all things considered – a solid year for business. And as producers, equipment suppliers and others embark on 2022, they’re ready for additional action.

Utah-based Whitaker Construction Co., for example, is fully booked 12 to 18 months out. John Sather, vice president of aggregates at Whitaker Construction, says business has been “booming” of late, and he does not expect a slowdown anytime soon.

“You’re seeing a lot of the dam projects going on, reservoirs being put in, new water infrastructure being put in,” Sather says. “It has absolutely been great. Then, with the housing market, houses last year only [were on the market] a day or two and they were sold. They cannot build housing fast enough for the demand.”

Manufacturers anticipate more success, as well. At Haver & Boecker Niagara, president Karen Thompson says the company is positioned for “conservative growth” this year. For manufacturers, business is typically dependent on customer performance. Thompson says Haver & Boecker Niagara’s producer customers expect an active 2022, which would, of course, bode well for her company.

“Everybody we talked to has a cautiously optimistic outlook for 2022,” she says. “And in some cases, we’ve even been told to expect an exceptionally busy year from some of our aggregate customers.”

Similarly, Micah Tysver of General Equipment & Supplies says his company is approaching 2022 “optimistically” and budgeting for increased business. The North Dakota-based equipment dealer is seeing some large projects come up in the Midwest that will require a good deal of equipment and resources.

“I am cautiously forecasting some large projects going on that are going to take a lot of dependable equipment to run,” says Tysver, the company’s aggregate business development manager. “I do think us – as well as dealers across the country – are going to be positively impacted by that, and that does excite me for 2022 and going forward.”

Karen Thompson Haver & Boecker Niagara


Driving factors

The increased activity for the industry is driven, in part, by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) that passed with bipartisan support in November.

For Haver & Boecker Niagara, the bill’s passage means customers are more willing to make capital expenditures in equipment. Many were holding off on purchases prior to the infrastructure bill’s signing, she says.

“A lot of people in the last year have been extending the life [of equipment],” Thompson says. “We always say: ‘You’re holding the machines together with duct tape and a prayer trying to get them to extend.’ But you need that confidence in order to see the aggregate producers invest in capital equipment or in new processes, and I do think we’re seeing some of that confidence returning.”

Tysver says passage of IIJA provides General Equipment additional footing to budget effectively.

“It gives us more ammunition to increase our expected budget for 2022,” he says. “Because here’s something we all know now [spurs] money [to be] pumped back into the industry, back into infrastructure.”

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About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) is a former Associate Editor for Pit & Quarry.

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