Case Studies

Superior Asphalt Inc.: One of the Southeast’s Largest Paving Contractors

  • Written by: Superior Asphalt Inc.: One of the Southeast's Largest Paving Contractors
  • Produced by: Superior Asphalt Inc.: One of the Southeast's Largest Paving Contractors
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

The largest public works project every undertaken in the U.S. was the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, otherwise known as the Interstate Highway System, which was launched during the Eisenhower Administration in 1956. Asphalt and concrete paving companies across the U.S. successfully tied hundreds of paving projects together to connect freeways, highways and expressways. Superior Asphalt Inc. (Superior) – headquartered in Byram, Miss., part of the Jackson metropolitan area – is a reliable and frequently used paving contractor that assists the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) in maintaining this vital infrastructure within the state.

Superior was founded in 1991 by Mac Johnson and has grown to become one of the state’s largest paving contractors with 150 employees operating from its two permanent plants and one portable plant in central Mississippi. Superior is now also a wholly owned subsidiary of Philadelphia, Miss.-based the Yates Companies – the second-largest general contracting company in the Southeast, according to the Mississippi Business Journal.

Superior has established its position as one of the leading pavement contractors with its dedication to providing clients with outstanding customer service and high-quality projects completed on time and on budget. In addition to roads and highways, Superior is well-versed in the construction of parking lots, industrial, transportation and residential projects. Johnson, who remains president of Superior, has amassed a group of employees who have extensive experience in hot plant-mixed production, paving and project management services.

Largest Private Paving Contract in Mississippi

Nissan Motors, one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers, recently decided to build a manufacturing facility in Canton, Miss., and it selected Superior to build its access roads and parking lot. The project was the largest private paving job ever conducted in Mississippi and was completed in two phases; phase one required over 330,000 tons of asphalt alone.

In conjunction with its joint venture partners, Superior met all of the project’s short deadlines and completed the access roads and parking lot on schedule. Johnson, who is the third generation of his family in the paving industry, is proud of his company’s performance on the Nissan plant project.

Superior also recently completed a 22-mile extension to Interstate 55 located 40 miles north of the company’s headquarters in Jackson. Superior Asphalt installed and tested a new plant manufactured by Dillman Equipment to help it complete the project.

“We started setting it up in July 2010,” Mic Dwyer, area manager of asphalt operations for Superior was quoted as saying. “But we have not done much production with it yet because we have been waiting until we start working on a 265,000-ton paving project on I-55 North. That job will extend 22 miles north of our plant site, which is at the south end of the project. We will be working that job until October of next year.”

Prototype Asphalt Plant Exceeds Expectations

The Dillman plant, which was the first of its kind tested by Superior, exceeded Dwyer’s expectations. He reflected, “I have been in this business for quite a few years – more than I like to admit sometimes – and I’ve helped put up a lot of plants. With this one, the first day that we tried it, everything was fine. We cranked it up, ran a couple hundred tons of mix, and then tested the mix for quality. We didn’t have a single problem at start-up. We were very surprised because there are a lot of things that can misfire the first time you try to use brand new equipment.”

Dwyer was pleased that the new plant incorporated the use of recycled asphalt in its manufacturing process, saying, “Superior is looking forward to producing recycled-asphalt pavement, along with environmentally friendly warm-asphalt mixes, through our Dillman plant.”

The MDOT is Superior’s largest customer, and when the state agency needed to repave Highway 25 in Leake County, Superior unsurprisingly was the paving contractor that was awarded the project. Johnson is proud to note that the project required over 100,000 tons of asphalt and the project was completed without a single lost-time injury.

This feat is possible because Superior is completely dedicated to safety and regularly trains employees with weekly toolbox meetings. Projects without a lost-time injury are not uncommon for Superior and Johnson notes that the company’s mod rate for insurance is well below the industry average.

It’s surprising, considering Superior’s dominance as a regional paving company, that Mac Johnson only founded the company 20 short years ago. With its dedication to excellent customer service and its emphasis on safety, Superior Asphalt Inc. has leapfrogged past its competition in a record amount of time and established the resources to expand further into the future.

Published on: March 13, 2013

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