P&Q Profile: Pro Lawn’s Darian Houssain

By |  July 30, 2021
Darian Houssain


Although the company name isn’t a dead giveaway, Darian Houssain’s Pro Lawn is very much an established contract crushing business with six crews that regularly cover chunks of Indiana, Ohio and northern Kentucky. P&Q recently visited Houssain on a crushing job at an Indianapolis-area quarry, where the 38-year-old son of a Guyanan immigrant shared his American dream story.

Your company, which is based in Richmond, Indiana, is obviously now very much focused on contract crushing. But what is the origin of Pro Lawn, and how did the company find its way into contract crushing?

When I got out of high school, I started doing commercial landscaping. My dad cut grass and started off in mowing. He retired, and I took it all over.

We did our new jail in town and the city building. The city building had a sidewalk project come up that involved rehabilitation work, so I started bidding that. The way to get rid of the concrete and curbs was to take it to the landfill. I was like: ‘We can do something with this.’ We had a 3-acre yard. So we started piling it up, and I said we’re going to crush it.

We rented a crusher and an excavator. I didn’t know anything back then about stackers or screen plants, so we crushed everything down to 2-in.-minus. We tried to use that material on projects, but I started doing more research.

Later, we bought an old Pioneer with a Stedman on it. That Grand Slam was doing about 100 tph with a triple-deck Cedarapids electric screen plant. That’s how we really started it all. I ended up getting a Powerscreen 4242 impactor five years ago. After that, everything snowballed.

How did Pro Lawn ultimately find its way into crushing for quarries?

I started off recycling, and we still do a lot of recycling. But what we do mostly now is quarries.

I went to a trade show about three years ago. I met the regional manager for an aggregate producer in Ohio and Indiana. We started talking, and I mentioned how I have a crusher.

He said: ‘The guy we have now is not dependable. He comes and works a little bit and disappears.’ So he said: ‘I’ll give you one shot. If you can do it, I’ll give you all the crushing you can imagine.’ And he backed it up.

It’s been non-stop for three years. We started with one crusher – one portable on tracks, and in three years we [own] 10 pieces. We have five on RPO (rental purchase option) and four rental units that are supported by Powerscreen Crushing & Screening Indiana.

As we understand it, you have your own pit where Pro Lawn is crushing as well?

Pro Lawn works closely with Powerscreen Crushing & Screening, a dealer that recently opened a facility in the Indianapolis area. Photo: Powerscreen Crushing & Screening

Pro Lawn works closely with Powerscreen Crushing & Screening, a dealer that recently opened a facility in the Indianapolis area. Photo: Powerscreen Crushing & Screening

It was an old gravel pit that was closed down. [The owner] was a friend of a friend. I said: ‘Call him to see if we can work something out.’ We went one day, and [the owner] said: ‘I like you. I want to let you try it. Just pay me a royalty on it and it’s yours.’

Now, it’s going nuts. I have 15 trucks hauling out every day. Before that, it was vacant for 15 years. But that’s how we got our MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) training and the hours we needed to help us get established as a mine contractor. That’s why we’re always in high demand. It’s hard to find people who have the proper training.

Where do you think your annual tonnages are now versus when you started?

I started small scale, making 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 tpy. Now, we’re up to 500,000 tons a year – easy. This year is going to be a record. We’re probably going to do 600,000 tons.

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