Staying profitable with a diverse portfolio of businesses

By |  January 11, 2016
Three generations of the Gendron family include, left to right, John, Del, Dave and Todd.

Three generations of the Gendron family include, left to right,
John, Del, Dave and Todd.

For Gendron & Gendron, a family-owned operation in New England, it all began in 1971 when Dolard “Del” Gendron bought his first pit from a company called Lewiston Crushed Stone. “It’s a site we still operate today,” says his grandson, John Gendron, company vice president. Del had taken over his family’s gas station business when his father passed away in 1953, and had no construction or mining experience of any kind before purchasing the sand-and-gravel operation 18 years later.

Today, Gendron & Gendron is much more than an aggregates company, with interests in real estate, site development, construction (including concrete foundations and steel erection), rental businesses and even self-storage. And the company’s headquarters is just a mile from that original pit on River Road in Lewiston, Maine.

Del is now retired, and the company is operated by his son Dave, who purchased it from his father in 1998. At that time, yearly revenue had reached $2.5 to $3 million.

The Alfred Plourde Parkway operation makes a variety of products.

The Alfred Plourde Parkway operation makes a variety of products.

Dave is presently company president, and the family’s third generation is transitioning to the top. Dave’s sons John and Todd (project superintendent) are involved in the everyday operations, and working to purchase the company and expand.

“Since 1998,” John says, “we have expanded yearly revenue to $10.5 to $15 million, and hope to keep it going with increased profitability.”

Gendron & Gendron operates three rock quarries and four sand-and-gravel pits, with the main facility on Alfred Plourde Parkway. It is about 65 acres in size, with about 13 million tons of rock to floor elevation.

“We process stone products, crushed gravel products, recycled asphalt and stone dust,” John says. “We have numerous customers, ranging from someone looking for a five-gallon bucket of material to our largest customer, which buys about 100,000 tons of material a year from this facility.”

Operation details

A Volvo L220G wheel loader fills a customer’s truck.

A Volvo L220G wheel loader fills a customer’s truck.

The Alfred Plourde Parkway site has been operated since 2009, and John says about 25 years of reserves remain. Equipment at the site includes a Kolberg-Pioneer jaw crusher; two KPI-JCI cone crushers; KPI-JCI screens; two Volvo L220G wheel loaders; two Volvo excavators; a Volvo EC290B LC excavator with a 6,000-lb. hydraulic breaker; and two Volvo A30 articulated haul trucks. On occasion, the site also employs the use of tracked portable plants – a KPI-JCI GT200DF portable cone crusher; a Komatsu BR550 portable jaw crusher; and a Terex Finlay 693+ Supertrak portable screening plant.

Maine Drilling & Blasting (MD&B), handles that part of the process, and blasting is conducted three to four times per month. MD&B does business in New England and the Mid-Atlantic area.

Material at the face is loaded by the Volvo excavators into the haul trucks for charging the primary jaw crusher. At times, it is loaded directly into the jaw using the wheel loaders.

The Volvo L220G wheel loaders have a breakout force of 51,000+ lbs. and a bucket capacity of 7.3 cu. yd. These forces are all generated from Volvo’s rehandling buckets, specifically designed for easier pile penetration to increase fuel efficiency and performance.

They are equipped with Volvo D13 Tier 4 Interim engines featuring Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT) to comply with EPA exhaust emissions legislation. V-ACT provides the engine with higher torque at lower speeds, leading to higher fuel efficiency. These six-cylinder Volvo turbocharged engines also operate with low levels of noise and exhaust emissions with on-the-go regeneration.

John says the Volvo equipment has made a difference in terms of production and cost savings. “I believe the best thing about Volvo is the service. They give us equipment when we have a breakdown,” he says. “They help keep costs down on service calls, and they are very responsive when we do have issues.”

“All small repairs are completed in house,” John says, “but since we own so much Volvo equipment, we usually use Chadwick-BaRoss, a local dealer, when it comes to major repairs.” Gendron & Gendron maintains warranties on all of its equipment for five years (5,000 hours).

Power shift

A birds-eye view of Gendron & Gendron’s Alfred Plourde Parkway site.

A birds-eye view of Gendron & Gendron’s Alfred Plourde
Parkway site.

One change that has made a difference for the company is the switch away from generators. “We have recently switched our power source from generators to [the power grid],” John says. “This has allowed us to lower our fuel costs and have less pieces of machinery that need to be serviced.”

The site produces between 150,000 and 300,000 tons of aggregate per year, depending on market demand. This includes:

  • 1/4-in. crushed stone
  • 3/8-in. crushed stone
  • 3/4-in. crushed stone
  • 1 1/2-in. crushed stone
  • 3/8-in. gravel
  • 3/4-in. gravel
  • 1 1/2-in. gravel
  • 4-in. gravel
  • rip-rap
  • stone dust

John says about 10 percent of the final product from the Alfred Plourde Parkway operation is recycled asphalt pavement (RAP). A small amount of concrete is also recycled at the site.

All products are shipped out by truck, and customers, mostly in a 40-mile radius, include mom-and-pop companies, paving companies, the city of Lewiston, and Gendron & Gendron itself. The company is a major developer in the area, and the Alfred Plourde Parkway operation will eventually house a 600,000-sq.-ft. warehouse.

Safety and community relations

Shiny flakes of mica are a common sight at aggregate operations in the area.

Shiny flakes of mica are a common sight at
aggregate operations in the area.

The company operates the Alfred Plourde Parkway site about nine months a year, and, company wide, maintains 60 to 70 employees.

“We do annual safety training for all employees in the month of February, including MSHA, OSHA and new equipment training,” John says. “We also have training for all new employees who operate in the pits and quarries.” This includes videos, as well as actual location training.

When it comes to community relations, Gendron & Gendron takes on a number of unique projects. “As we speak, my father and sister are helping to start a new charter school in Lewiston,” John says. “He will be buying the building and doing renovations, because the school doesn’t have the money to get started.

“We have always been a large part of the local community, “ John adds, “because we believe we should give back to those who helped us along the way, and we will carry this trend through future generations.”

Take note

All mobile equipment at the Alfred Plourde Parkway operation, including excavators, wheel loaders and haul trucks, is from Volvo.

Photos: Alred Plourde Parkway

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About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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