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Barrett Paving enjoying its difference-making dredge

By |  October 7, 2021
Barrett Paving Materials, a Colas company, is now up and running with its Supreme Manufacturing clamshell dredge in Fairborn, Ohio, following years of planning. Photo: P&Q Staff

Barrett Paving Materials, a Colas company, is now up and running with its Supreme Manufacturing clamshell dredge in Fairborn, Ohio, following years of planning. Photo: P&Q Staff

Jim Meckstroth saw this day coming years ago for Barrett Paving Materials.

Roughly 15 years ago, that is.

Back then, Meckstroth envisioned Barrett Paving someday shifting away from its dragline and to a dredge at the company’s operation in Fairborn, Ohio. Dredge investments, however, are not made overnight. In Barrett Paving’s case, a number of events had to transpire over several years to validate the cost of a dredge.

“We were able to capitalize and add more reserves,” says Meckstroth, the regional manager at Barrett Paving who’s been with the company under multiple ownerships for 41 years. “We’ve been buying property surrounding us for years. We finally got to a point where we had enough reserves that we can justify doing this.”

Meckstroth says Barrett Paving at one time operated on about 200 acres in Fairborn, which sits about 13 miles east of Dayton, Ohio. The operation is now up to 800 acres, and the plentiful reserves awaiting Barrett Paving called for a new mining strategy.

Making the case

Barrett Paving’s Jim Meckstroth says the clamshell dredge is one of the largest capital investments Colas has made in North America. Photo: P&Q Staff

Barrett Paving’s Jim Meckstroth says the clamshell dredge is one of the largest capital investments Colas has made in North America. Photo: P&Q Staff

Before making an investment decision, Meckstroth explored the usual manufacturing suspects and the equipment options available to his company. One continuous conversation Meckstroth had over the years was with Supreme Manufacturing, a manufacturer of clamshell dredges and a variety of support equipment.

Supreme president Neil Hoobler says representatives from his company checked in about a dredge with Meckstroth just about every year at the Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association’s Annual Meeting. Those discussions got more serious in recent years, with Barrett Paving bringing corporate decision-makers into the mix to start the budgeting process within the last three years.

Barrett Paving, a Colas company, first had to illustrate to corporate decision-makers why a floating clamshell dredge was the way the Fairborn operation should go, though. Swaying corporate decision-makers or managers in a small company, for that matter, is generally one of the bigger hurdles dredge manufacturers like Supreme face.

Still, despite the significant upfront cost of a dredge, there’s a long-term case for dredging.

“It’s convincing corporate that they’re already spending at least as much as they’re going to spend on a dredge,” Hoobler says. “It’s just on dragline repair, a dragline operator, throwing [material] onto the ground, a loader, loader repair, a loader operator, two or three haul trucks and a portable crusher. They’re spending the money. It’s just spent 50 cents here and a dollar there, rather than investing in one machine to do it all.”

Meckstroth, for one, recognized dredging’s benefits early on. And as he nears retirement, he sought a way to leave the Fairborn operation better than he found it.

“I want to make sure I’ve left a life for everybody else working here,” he says. “I’d hate to leave the next generation in bad shape. I’d like to leave them with good equipment – better than what we had.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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