Case Studies

Superior Asphalt Inc.

Michigan-made and -owned for dependable, local service

Jeff Kresnak, owner and CEO of Superior Asphalt Inc. (SAI), is a firm believer in keeping business in his home state of Michigan. “We’re extremely proud to be the only Michigan-owned and -headquartered operation in the state that also manufacturers asphalt,” Kresnak shares. “Most of our competition is based out of state and that’s worked to our advantage, because towns, cities and municipalities want to trade dollars that are going to stay in Michigan.”

Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., SAI and subsidiary company Lansing Asphalt (Lansing), located approximately 60 miles away in Lansing, Mich., together serve residential homes, commercial businesses, utility companies, government offices and municipalities, schools, hospitals and churches. “Our niche is western Michigan from Lansing to the shore of Lake Michigan and north and south 40 miles each way,” explains Kresnak. “Geographically, our plants are set up 60 miles apart and this positioning allows us to cover a 100-mile service radius.”

Paving the way for rapid expansion

Born and raised in Michigan, Kresnak entered the industry when he was just 16 years old. “I began my journey in the asphalt industry 30 years ago with little more than a broom, a bucket and an old pickup truck,” he recalls. “I started my own driveway sealing business in 1983 and in 1993 formed SAI.”

As the operation began to take off, SAI built its first asphalt manufacturing facility in 2010 in Caledonia, Mich., allowing for further expansion and complete control over its asphalt product supply. In 2013, SAI expanded into the Lansing market, building a second asphalt manufacturing facility.

“We are the only asphalt company in the last 23 years to not only build one, but two brand-new facilities that remain 100 percent locally owned,” details Kresnak. “Once we had the Caledonia plant under our belt and understood the engineering, structure and legal channels of assembling a functional plant, it was much easier to pull off the second time in Lansing.”

State-of-the-art facilities at work

Between both locations SAI and Lansing employ a team of 130 dedicated professionals, who Kresnak says he couldn’t have built the business without. “I credit our success to our staff,” he adds. “We pride ourselves on being a full-service contractor, doing everything from a pothole in a residential driveway to paving state highways and emergency repair situations. We’ve developed great relationships over the years with the Michigan Department of Transportation [MDOT]. When something goes wrong, they know we’re here to help.”

The company’s two state-of-the-art facilities are operated by highly skilled and experienced plant managers. The Caledonia site is a Gencor Plant capable of producing 300 tons of asphalt per hour, storing 800 tons of product in four silos. Lansing is an Almix plant that produces 400 tons of asphalt per hour and store 400 tons of product between two silos. Both locations are technologically advanced, highly efficient and MDOT-certified and every batch produced is formulated specifically for a client’s individual project needs.

Approximately 50 percent of SAI and Lansing’s workload is comprised of federal, state, county and city jobs. “Over the years, we’ve learned how to deal and work with municipalities and road commissioners,” explains Kresnak. Additionally, SAI and Lansing run recycling machines at both locations. “We use the recycled asphalt for street repairs, selling it to cities and municipalities,” adds Kresnak.

Investing in people and in-house service

Kresnak says it isn’t out of the usual for SAI to run crews around-the-clock until a job is complete, because the customer’s needs come first. “We came to the rescue of a contractor in Lansing that needed to complete a parking lot in a matter of days,” he recalls. “We went way above and beyond the call of duty and brought in three crews, working day and night to make sure the project was completed on time. We probably broke even on the job but it was worth creating a satisfied, life-long customer.”

“We were just hired to pave a new sports facility in Rockford, Mich., the Art Van Miracle Field,” continues Kresnak. “It’s a baseball field specially equipped to allow children with disabilities to play.”

SAI continues to be recognized as a local leader, from small-scale paving to extensive highway infrastructure. “We received an award of excellence for our work at the Kent County International Airport from the Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan,” adds Kresnak.

Part of being a proud Michigan business owner is giving back to the communities that have helped foster success for SAI and Lansing. “We’re active in the local market – from the chamber of commerce to 4-H programs and youth athletic leagues – we’re giving back,” ensures Kresnak. “SAI donated 200 tons of asphalt to the Eaton County fairgrounds to pave the parking lot surrounding the community building.”

To deliver even better service, Kresnak says the company’s next step is to bring as much in-house as possible. “Our newest venture is to mine our own aggregates,” he shares. “We often buy aggregates from other sources, but we purchased 250 acres to manufacture our own sand and stone. This will help secure the future and put us in control of the material we use to produce our asphalt.”

Kresnak says he also envisions the company expanding its excavating capabilities. “We already own two bulldozers, five backhoes and six or seven loaders, so we’re in a great position to grow on the dirt end,” he adds. “We’re setting our sights and the only direction we can go is up.”

After 30 years, Superior Asphalt Inc. and Lansing Asphalt have emerged as trusted names in the asphalt industry, synonymous with what it means to be Michigan-owned and -operated.

Published on: July 9, 2014

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