P&Q Profile: McLanahan Corp.’s Mark Krause

By |  February 16, 2022
Mark Krause


Mark Krause, who’s now been with McLanahan Corp. for eight years, always has a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the aggregate industry. P&Q caught up with Krause to capture his latest observations as the spring production season approaches.

How would you characterize the state of the aggregate industry at this moment in time?

There are a lot of things going on. One positive thing we just heard from our steel producers is that the price of steel is coming down in the second quarter. That’s being offset a little bit by the high price of freight, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel on that.

We are all suffering from supply chain fatigue. We’re tired of talking about that, too. But I will say that I wrongly predicted that, after [Jan. 1], we would see people pull back [on purchasing].

There’s this whole idea of where are our deliveries these days. You hear people talking 30 or 40 weeks for equipment. We’re not quoting that bad, but I initially thought we would see people not buy in hopes that prices might be less in the fall and that they’ll still get [equipment] for 2023.

In part because of the infrastructure bill, people are already planning for 2023. They wouldn’t have planned that far out otherwise, but we have certainty. The economy certainly looks like it’s going to be strong no matter what the Fed does. Everybody is pretty optimistic that the consumer is in good shape. Business is good, and most of the industries we serve are in good shape. Heck, even coal is up.

What steps are you seeing producers take for 2022 if they cannot access the new equipment they covet?

We’re seeing people say: ‘What do I have to do to make sure this equipment lasts one more season?’ They’ll do the repairs now, but they’re putting the equipment on order to make sure they get it early enough – in the fall or winter – to ensure it can be installed during the downtime so they’re ready to go in 2023.

That’s a different approach than what I’m used to. You would start doing your budgetary process in July or August for the following year. To think people are buying equipment now to make sure they are ready to start in March 2023 is a testimony to where the industry is.

Do you think that more outward approach to budgeting will continue beyond 2022, or will budgeting return to its old norms?

I would think we’ll get back to the normal of doing your budgeting closer to the next year so you’ll have a better feel for what that year is going to look like. But we’ve had two years of uncertainty, and people are champing at the bit to get out and buy things. They feel pretty good.

McLanahan's Mark Krause, pictured here at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020, says he expects AGG1 2022 to be well attended. Photo: P&Q Staff

McLanahans Mark Krause, pictured here at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020, expects AGG1 2022 to be well attended. Photo: P&Q Staff

Trade show season is in full swing. What are your expectations for AGG1? What have you and your McLanahan colleagues seen thus far in terms of turnout at other shows you’ve attended?

We started with MINExpo, and it was pretty much a ghost town. But with each of the events along the way, you’re seeing more people come.

I was at [the] AED [Summit] in Orlando, [Florida], and I’d say we probably saw 75 percent of the normal attendance there. I anticipate AGG1 will be a killer. It’s in Nashville. It’s always a great place to come anyway. People want to come here, and there are a lot of great education sessions on tap. NSSGA (the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association) continues to evolve that.

People are just done with COVID. We know it’s here, but we know our lives have to get beyond it.

What sort of turnout do you expect we’ll see at AGG1 from the bigger producers? We did not, of course, see most of them at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020. Then again, it was a much different time then.

I think it’s going to be different. Businesses learned through Zoom or [Microsoft] Teams that you can effectively communicate on a somewhat regular basis without getting on an airplane, costing time and money. I think we’ll see some of that at the shows, as well.

Maybe we won’t see the number of people that we saw before, but the people coming won’t be there to ‘kick the tires.’ Those at MINExpo were there to buy things.

Those who want to see what’s new will still be able to do so through social media and communication pieces. They’re going to get the news they want and see all the new things that come with it. But I think we’re going to see a high-quality show, and the people who go will be serious buyers.

We’re hearing some sentiment that aggregate material availability may be an issue to kick off the spring season in some regions. Have you heard any of that?

The weather late last year was nice, and that allowed operations to run longer. Thanksgiving was always kind of that stopping point, but with stone production extending, there was also more construction taking place. We’re seeing this in lots of places with the inventory on the ground. They’re hoping for an early spring to get piles on ground.

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