Pave-Rite Inc. started as a residential paving company with just three employees and three pieces of equipment. More than 64 years later, Pave-Rite consists of 25 employees and is a full-service site work contractor handling land clearing, earthwork and grading, utility installations, retaining walls, curbing and sidewalks, final paving and landscaping. Located in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Pave-Rite serves the central New Jersey area and maintains a full fleet of more than 40 pieces of equipment.
Founded by Donald H. Stires in 1952, Pave-Rite has remained a family-owned business since its inception. Producing a high-quality product at a competitive price has enabled the company to expand in experience, personnel and services. Donald continued to run the company until 2001, when an ownership change agreement was signed with Peter, one of Donald’s seven children. Peter, who was the President of Pave-Rite, was able to purchase the company over the next few years and became the CEO of Pave-Rite in 2005.
Peter grew up surrounded by the company and worked for Pave-Rite on the weekends and during school vacations. After high school, he went off to Lehigh University where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Upon graduating, Peter began his career working for a highway contractor for a few years before returning to nearby Somerville to work for his father’s company. Pave-Rite prides itself not only in the longevity of the family business, but also in the fact that the company employs three full-time licensed professional engineers, one of whom is Peter.
Pave-Rite provides a turnkey service to its clients and self-performs a majority of its own work. “The only thing that we will sub out is the final planting, concrete, curbs and parking lot striping,” Peter explains. “And we manage the entire project.”
Pave-Rite’s target market includes a wide array of clients. The team is currently building a new subdivision roadway for a residential developer. Other customers include numerous school systems. “We help support clients like the boards of education, YMCAs and medical centers with things like pavement maintenance,” says Peter. “We constructed an AstroTurf field last year for our local school as well.”
Pave-Rite also keeps its ear to the ground with planning and zoning boards to remain current with new industrial projects. “We try to target any new work that may be coming down the pike that might include things like parking lot construction and expansion,” Peter adds.
Preparation equals success
Through the relationships and long-term customers that Pave-Rite has created, the company has been able to survive numerous economic downturns throughout its existence. While many construction companies were forced to downsize or shut down completely during the recession that hit the economy in 2008, Pave-Rite experienced one of its busiest years. “We were the busiest we had ever been because at that point, we had been developing the jobs that we were working on during that time period for a couple of years,” recalls Peter. “We didn’t have the rug pulled out from us because these projects were going to go through regardless of how well the economy was doing.”
The ability to remain strong in such a competitive industry is an aspect of Pave-Rite that Peter finds rewarding. To manage his father’s company with the grace and ethics that were instilled in him is what motivates Peter when he enters the office every day. “Anybody can go out and complete a project,” he says. “To complete it within budget and time frame and make money doing it really helps you sleep at night.”
With the capacity to have four to five projects running concurrently, Pave- Rite has also recently been involved with Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, New Jersey. This project included the construction of a new project works building on the college campus. Pave-Rite performed the setup tasks, which involved earthwork and storm sewer construction.
“This was an interesting project because the school received a grant to construct the hands-on learning center, which is aiming to educate college students in the trades, such as construction,” says Peter. “That’s important because the industry needs more good young people.”
The formula for success that Pave-Rite has created is one that will not be changing any time soon. “We like to keep it simple,” says Peter. “We’re not looking to be the biggest contractor in the state. I’ve stuck to the business plan that my father created and we’re able to take care of our employees that way.”
Pave-Rite is now positioned to be on the cutting edge of technology, which is permitting the company to become more efficient in areas such as estimating. With the infusion of a younger generation of employees, Pave-Rite is able to remain current on the new trends of the industry, while passing on wisdom from the more seasoned employees. The combination of experience and youth will help Pave-Rite Inc. to remain a well-balanced company for future generations.
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