Case Studies

Gehring Construction & Ready-Mix Company Inc.

Paving the World
  • Written by: Gehring Construction & Ready-Mix Company Inc.
  • Produced by: Gehring Construction & Ready-Mix Company Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Walter Gehring founded Gehring Construction & Ready-Mix Company Inc. (Gehring) in 1949. Walter, a World War II veteran, started working in the concrete business after the War. He and a partner built block and concrete foundations out of the company’s original location in Columbus, Neb. The business grew and was incorporated in 1971 when the partners established their first ready-mix concrete plant. At that point Gehring expanded into the retail market, while also maintaining the construction end of the business.

Gehring has stayed in the family over the years, as Kevin Gehring, Walter’s grandson and current vice president of Gehring, has proudly followed in his grandfather’s path. “Today we have three concrete plants,” says Kevin.

And Walter would be proud, as Gehring’s geographic footprint has grown to cover a 200-mile radius around Columbus, while also expanding in other ways. Aside from concrete production and sales, Kevin says, “We do flatwork concrete and we have a few paving machines.” The team at Gehring has established a presence in several markets, and regularly performs highway and subdivision paving projects.

Concrete Catalog

Gehring offers cement and concrete products, as well as tools for a variety of applications. Customers can view the company’s catalog online as well, and the website also offers volume calculators to make ordering easier for contractors. As seen on Gehring’s website, the business offers three cement types: Portland Cement and Fortipave from LaFarge, as well as Nebraska Fly Ash. To help contractors determine the best materials for a project, digital specifications and MSDS sheets can be downloaded directly from the company’s online catalog.

Clients can also find an offering of fill, additives and tools in Gehring’s inventory. The company stocks admixtures from W.R. Grace, including water reducers, accelerators, superplasticizers and air entrainment solutions. Gehring also offers Kraft brand tools for paving, finishing and more, allowing contractors to pick up trowels, lines and curb tools in the same place concrete is purchased.

Sometimes preformed concrete is the best solution for a build. Therefore Gehring offers precast solutions for retaining walls, parking lots and drainage solutions. The company’s Design Pro Landscape Blocks are two-feet high, four-feet long and two-feet, three-inches deep. With tongue and groove interlocking components, walls come together easily with the use of cranes and even forklifts. Other precast items include curb stops for parking lots and splash blocks, used under waterspouts to redistribute rainwater away from foundations.

Paving Projects

Gehring maintains a steady flow of infrastructure projects on top of the retail business. “We just finished the North Arterial Bypass in Columbus,” elaborates Kevin. “We did five miles of a new, four-lane highway.” The construction was partially funded by federal stimulus money and the several phases were completed over the span of a few years. The company has also completed several recent subdivision projects, all of which have garnered media attention for technological innovation.

The company’s talent has not gone unnoticed. Kevin and the Gehring crew have gotten publicity for the use of high-tech equipment that speeds up paving schedules exponentially. “We’ve started using new systems from Topcon Positioning Systems,” explains Kevin. The team utilizes GPS technology interfaced with equipment that has saved the company and its clients both time and money. “Normally a paving contractor sets up a string line to run the paving machine off of,” elaborates Kevin. “This GPS uses satellite technology combined with laser technology, so we’re paving with no string line. It saves us a lot of time, and it also virtually eliminates our surveying costs.”

The new technology is highlighted in a video on Gehring’s website as well, documenting the process of the West Brook Subdivision project in Hastings, Neb. “It’s been something people are talking about it,” Kevin explains in a video where his pavers are hard at work utilizing Topcon’s Millimeter GPS system in the background. “I don’t know of anyone else in Nebraska using this system on concrete pavers,” continues Kevin. He then also adds that the project’s engineers and inspectors have been impressed with the results. “Subdivision developers notice the difference,” explains Kevin.

Just as Walter would have dreamed, Gehring has remained a family affair. Kevin has two brothers in the ready-mix aspect of Gehring, and the company is slated to continue on as a successful family business for years to come. “We keep growing a little bit every year,” says Kevin modestly. “We’re bidding bigger jobs all the time and expanding our fleet of equipment.”

Gehring’s found well-deserved success, and this has allowed the team to diversify over the years. According to Kevin, he would like to see the company rely less on subcontractors by expanding site preparation and dirt work capabilities, only enhancing the Gehring reach.

The company has prioritized service through keeping an experienced, knowledgeable staff and by closely following the innovations in the industry that make the biggest difference in efficiency. Much of the company’s business is comprised of return clients and referrals, which is a lot to say in today’s market. With over half a century of experience in the concrete industry, Gehring Construction and Ready-Mix Company Inc. is a one-stop shop for developers and concrete contractors alike.

Published on: July 15, 2013

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