Photos: James Dyrek

Material hauling and earthwork companies are plentiful. Finding that edge is what sets certain companies apart. For the last 50 years, Buesing Corp.’s emphasis on providing value add services such as recycling has literally left its competition in its dust.

The company started out in Minneapolis as a material transportation company servicing road construction, municipalities and commercial developers. Thirty years ago, the company moved down to Phoenix for a job, and as of 1988, had completely relocated operations to the desert city. Today, it provides much more than hauling and earthwork services to several states in the Southwest.

Jerry Buesing, the company’s owner and CEO, started the company after high school. At first, he did much of the work himself, including driving a material transportation truck, operating the equipment and estimating. Buesing says he always desired to be a leader in the industry and made sure to surround himself with skilled and talented individuals. Hard work has been key to his success, but another trick Buesing has up his sleeve is that of being an innovator.

“I decided to add supplementary services to the company that were similar or related enough to my core business, but services that afforded Buesing a strategic advantage,” he says. “Deciding to recycle concrete and asphalt in 1998 has proven to be helping in winning demolition and construction work as well as providing steady recycling revenue throughout the year.”

As a specialty contractor, Buesing performs subcontractor work in many areas including mass excavation, site grading, earthworks, backfill, importing and exporting dirt, materials hauling, shotcrete and supplying virgin aggregates. Subcontractor work makes up about 85 percent of the company’s work. The other 15 percent is performed as a prime general contractor.

As part of the subcontractor work, the company also handles crushing and screening of native soil and rocks and recycles concrete and asphalt at a recycling yard in Chandler, Arizona. This site, which opened in 2000, is close to the freeway and provides ample room for the scale, crushing equipment, raw debris piles and piles of recycled material aggregates, according to Buesing.

Two mobile horizontal impact recycling crushers with built-in multideck screens and a mobile jaw crusher are used to recycle concrete and asphalt. One of the mobile impact crushers is at the Chandler plant the majority of the time, but is mobilized for on-site recycling occasionally.

“The other two recycling plants remain mobile and are transported from project site to project site as needed,” says Buesing. “Some of our project sites include the local sand, gravel and ready-mix pits in the area. Several times per year upon contract requests, we will mobilize and recycle either concrete wash-out to produce ABC (aggregate road base) or RAP (recycled asphalt pavement) within their pit.”

Buesing says in these scenarios, “The sand, gravel and ready-mix pit owners recognized the making these products that are reusable and resalable on the market in lieu of burying or just wasting the debris was of tremendous value to their operations.”

VALUE ADDED

The company recycles around 300,000 tons of concrete and asphalt per year for the Arizona market. The recycling of concrete and asphalt make up only about 6 percent of the company’s business revenue directly and another 4 percent indirectly through trucking.

“This value-added service helps Buesing win work because of our multiple services we can provide our customers and the ability to assist them with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) on their projects,” explains Buesing.

Buesing Corp. primarily performs surface demolition and removals. “Often we collaborate with the local demolition subcontractors/trade partners and also general contractors to help manage concrete and asphalt debris for recycling purposes,” Buesing says. “When cost effective, Buesing will mobilize the recycling operation to the job site to provide value engineering (VE) savings to the project.”

Savings can come in the form of elimination of disposal fees from exported demolition debris and elimination of importing aggregate to the job site. If cost effective, Buesing will transport the debris to its fixed plant in Chandler for recycling. (See sidebar “Shining example” to learn about a recent project Buesing performed in Arizona.)

THE EARLY DAYS

While recycling to make aggregates is commonplace today, it took some effort for the idea to be accepted. Buesing was instrumental in helping get ABC approved by the local quasi-government agency, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the city of Chandler in the early 2000s. Thanks in part to Buesing, a blend of concrete and asphalt is now included in MAG specifications and is used in many area projects.

“MAG’s review and acceptance of the recycled aggregates that met their gradation requirements, allowed these recycled products to be used in lieu of virgin aggregates at a significant savings,” explains Buesing.

Diverting the material from the landfill created savings by avoiding the cost to landfill as well as extending the life of the landfill. Recycling also cut down on transportation costs associated with hauling the material to the landfill, which was further away from the recycling facility.

Moreover, recycled materials are often less expensive and cheaper to deliver than virgin materials. LEED credits are also earned from the recycling of the asphalt and concrete through landfill diversion and through the use of recycled materials to offset the use of virgin materials.

SET APART

Since the rebound from the recession—about one year ago for the company—Buesing says recycled concrete and asphalt markets have improved. Sales of the materials are also as the construction activity has picked up.

Competition from both virgin aggregate suppliers and other recycling operations in the area have affected unit pricing and the potential for sustainable profit margins, notes Buesing.

“Deciding to recycle concrete and asphalt in 1998 has proven to be helping in winning demolition/construction work as well as providing steady recycling revenue throughout the year.” – Jerry Buesing

However, Buesing says, “We will maintain a stable position in the market as the need for concrete and asphalt recycling will continue to increase as virgin aggregate supply is consumed and building green continues to grow as an important construction industry goal.”

Buesing Corp. takes the initiative to upgrade its recycling equipment. “Throughout the year, the company often discusses our current position in the marketplace and potential opportunities for an added strategic recycling location,” Buesing says.

As well, the company notes, it owns the majority of its equipment fleet that includes a variety of earthmoving, trucking, crushing, screening and recycling, drilling, shotcrete and shoring equipment. It rents equipment less than 5 percent of the time.

“Buesing Corp. has a reputation for our professionalism, quality, reliability and customer service,” says Buesing. “Our equipment is relatively new and well maintained which translates into more uptime or production.”

The company says it prides itself on doing what it says it will do and standing by its work.

Buesing emphasizes, “We also believe we communicate with our project partners well along the way, from the bidding phase through the execution/completion phase.”

Buesing says he enjoys the challenge of each new project and being a creative thinker to perform construction and recycling work faster and more cost effectively. That would not be possible without “the hardworking, skilled people that help run the company,” he concludes.

The author is editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling and can be reached at ksmith@gie.net.