Generalist Asphalt

Athens-Atlanta Asphalt Company is making its mark in the North Georgia paving industry by specializing in being a generalist. By Steve Hudson

There are few more competitive markets for the asphalt paving contractor than Atlanta, Ga. The widespread construction in the metro area presents numerous opportunities for the paving contractor. Many companies have moved to tap that market, developing specialties to tap the various niches it has to offer.

One company that has taken a different approach, however, is Athens-Atlanta Asphalt Company. Founded in the early 1980s by Danny Wood, Athens-Atlanta has taken the path of the generalist in an area where specialists have previously prevailed.

These days, "generalist" is a scary word, notes Wood. But his company's keep-things-in-house approach - which emphasizes not only quality of work but also flexibility and responsibility to customer needs - has paid off. Among other things, he says, it has allowed Athens-Atlanta to develop its generalist's niche in the asphalt field while efficiently and profitably completing projects ranging from large Permaflex parking lots and related earthwork to small paving repairs and sealcoat jobs.

Wood's start in the construction business came soon after college, when he purchased a dump truck and a roller and began subbing patch work for local contractors. Ads run in the yellow pages and in the sports section of the local newspaper soon brought the fledgling company a steadily increasing amount of business, however, and by 1980 the company had acquired its first paving machine - a Puckett 450 self-propelled paver.

Thereafter growth came more rapidly, and with it the company's equipment fleet steadily expanded too. The current list includes three Lee Boy 1000 spreaders and a Cat AP 1200 paver, plus rollers, motor graders, loaders, dump trucks and pickup trucks (all equipped with cell phones and digital radio paging systems), a 2,500 gallon water truck and a sealcoat tanker, among others.

Athens-Atlanta also has its own concrete curb and gutter crew and has added line marking equipment in the last few years.

"It all comes down to keeping everything internal," Wood says.

Among the key items in the Athens-Atlanta inventory, says Wood, are the company's lowboy trailers. Hooked to one of the company's dump trucks and loaded with a spreader, a roller and perhaps a small grader, the dump-truck-and-trailer combo provides a flexible and easy-to-move package that greatly simplifies the task of mobilizing and makes it cost-effective to mobilize for even small jobs.

Flexibility is evident in the capabilities of Athens-Atlanta's employees too. Case in point: almost everyone - including Wood himself - has a CDL.

"If somebody's sick," he says, "I can jump in the dump truck and drive it myself," he says, adding, "We don't say to a customer that we'll be there Monday and then show up on Wednesday because no one could drive the truck."

This flexibility extends to virtually every part of the company. For example, the striping crew also handles concrete sawing.

To provide further hands-on control, Athens-Atlanta crew members take care of many day-to-day details themselves - even such things as filling their own propane tanks. Subcontractors are used for specialty items such as thermoplastic striping. But generally, Wood says, "we don't sub much of anything out."

Wood adds that his employees understand that they are expected to be versatile. Besides the obvious benefit of on-site flexibility, he says, this versatility reduces lost productivity in the event of delays caused by factors such as the inevitable rainy days.

"If it rains all week," he says, "our crews are able to work 40 hours a week in our shop."

Athens-Atlanta underscores its commitment to quality with an unusual profit sharing program. Crews share in the profitability of the company, but crews that make mistakes find those mistakes charged against their portion of the profit sharing plan.

Needless to say, this is a great incentive for quality work.

"We don't get those calls to go back out to a site to fix sloppy paving," he says


Athens-Atlanta is the most pleasant asphalt contractor in which I have ever had the pleasure of working with on such a large job. Thank you again for the great job... [Read more]

Stephanie Davis

Northridge Business Park


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Athens-Atlanta Asphalt Co., Inc.
Address: 2095 Marietta Blvd Atlanta, GA 30318 Phone: (404) 352-3644 / Fax: (404) 352-8277