Case Studies

Tresco Paving

Smoothing the Ride in Pennsylvania

It’s a promise that has been handed down from generation to generation of Americans: If you work hard, success will come in the end. Sonny Tresco, owner of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Tresco Paving, did exactly just that and is living the American Dream. “When I started Tresco in 1973, my first job was patching potholes at the local supermarket. My dad would let me borrow his pickup truck, and I was pouring tar out of a modified three-pound coffee can that my father had created for me,” reveals Tresco. Tresco has come a long way from patching potholes, as the firm now comprises a staff of dedicated workers whose employment tenure averages 20 years, two asphalt production facilities, a concrete manufacturing plant, and spin-off trucking firm founded in 1994. Tresco explains, “We started the trucking company with two trucks, and now we have a fleet of 57. The company was originally called Princess Trucking, but after 9/11 new rules went into place requiring identification on each truck, so we decided Tar Wars Trucking would be a little flashier than Princess.” Tresco subs out his trucks to other companies if needed, but primarily uses them to transport asphalt, stone and milling for his own projects.

One of the Original “Superhighways”

The company recently just completed a very high-profile project for the historic Pennsylvania Turnpike. “The job was a milling and paving job where we had to mill out [remove existing asphalt] two inches, and then repaved the surface,” Tresco details. The company is drawing rave reviews from Terry Dreher, materials managing supervisor for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, a state official involved in the project. “This turnpike project was the first time we had contracted Tresco Paving, and all I can say is that it was such a pleasant surprise for us. They did an outstanding job, and the transparency was great. Everything we asked for, they went above and beyond our requirements. They are a smaller company than we’re used to working with, but they performed like champions. It’s nice when you check up on a job, on a Sunday night, and you see the owner there, overseeing the work. That section of the Turnpike is now the smoothest section we’ve ever had.” Tresco attributes the success of the job to a couple of key factors. “We designed a new type of asphalt to make it a little smoother,” he reveals, and the numbers back him up. A road’s smoothness is determined by an International Roughness Index (IRI). That value represents the amount of movement a vehicle will experience when traveling. If pavement were made of marble, the IRI value would be zero, but in the real world, there are bumps and dips in roadways, so zero is an impossibility. Per the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s website, the average IRI value for the turnpike is 83. Dreher estimates that Tresco’s portion of the turnpike has an IRI value in the low 40s, with several lots in the 20s.

Management is Very Involved

Tresco attributes some of his firm’s success to his hands-on approach towards management. “My clients know that when they hire our company to do a job that either my son, myself, or both,will be supervising the project until completion. My son Vince, who graduated from Penn. State with a degree in electrical engineering, works in our company. He supervises the mill work and the engineered layout, and I supervise the paving. We’re like an engine and a caboose,” jokes Tresco. “When you own a business, it’s hard to find people who are going to be more vested in the process than someone with a personal stake in the company’s future. Also, it’s easier to put out a fire in the kitchen if you’re in the kitchen already. Unsuccessful owners show up late to put out a kitchen fire and they find the whole house burning down. Fortuanately, the entire staff at Tresco is dedicated to quality, taking pride and treating this company as their own.” Tresco has proven to be a very astute project manager, which is all the more amazing considering he got his start in the industry by accident. In ’73 he was scheduled to enroll in a local college, but the teaching staff went on strike the day he was scheduled to start, and he was forced to consider other options. “Everything happens for a reason; I was supposed to be studying police science, and instead I started patching potholes. I just named my new boat Grazie a Dio, which means ‘Thanks to God,’ because I really do thank God for my success,” Tresco discloses. Tresco Paving, based off of the success of its most recent project, has already lined up future jobs, reinforcing the company’s smooth future. The entire Tresco family has worked hard for, and earned, their right to live the American Dream.

Published on: June 7, 2011



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