Jim Meckstroth saw this day coming years ago to Barrett paving materials.
About 15 years ago, that is.
At the time, Meckstroth envisioned Barrett Paving one day stepping away from his dragline and turning to a dredge at operating the business in Fairborn, Ohio. Investments in dredging, however, do not happen overnight. In the case of Barrett Paving, a number of events had to unfold over several years to validate the cost of a dredge.
“We were able to capitalize and add more reserves,” says Meckstroth, regional manager of Barrett Paving, who has been with the company for 41 years. “We have been buying properties that have surrounded us for years. We finally got to a point where we had enough reserves to justify doing this. “
Meckstroth says Barrett Paving once operated about 200 acres in Fairborn, which is about 13 miles east of Dayton, Ohio. Mining now covers 800 acres, and the abundant reserves awaiting Barrett Paving have necessitated a new mining strategy.
Make the case
Before making an investment decision, Meckstroth explored the usual manufacturing suspects and the equipment options available for his business. An ongoing conversation that Meckstroth has had over the years was with Supreme manufacturing, a manufacturer of clamshell dredgers and a variety of support equipment.
Supreme Chairman Neil Hoobler said officials from his company recorded a pickup with Meckstroth almost every year in the Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals AssociationAnnual meeting of. These discussions have become more serious in recent years, with Barrett Paving engaging corporate decision-makers in launching the budgeting process over the past three years.
Barrett Paving, a Colas company, was first to explain to corporate decision makers why a floating clamshell dredge was the way forward for Operation Fairborn. The influence of corporate decision makers or small business executives, for that matter, is usually one of the biggest manufacturers of obstacle dredges like Supreme Face.
Yet despite the large initial cost of a dredge, there is a long-term argument for dredging.
“It’s convincing companies that they’re already spending at least as much as they are going to spend on a pick-up,” Hoobler says. “It’s just about the dragline repair, a dragline operator, throwing [material] on the ground, a loader, a repair loader, a loader operator, two or three transport trucks and a portable crusher. They spend the money. He just spent 50 cents here and a dollar there, rather than investing in one machine to do it all.
Meckstroth, for his part, recognized the benefits of dredging early on. And as he nears retirement, he’s been looking for a way out of Operation Fairborn better than he has found.
“I want to make sure I left a life for everyone who works here,” he says. “I would hate to leave the next generation in bad shape. I would like to leave them good equipment, better than what we had.