At a Glance
Heavy concrete paving
Projects Per Year
The economic climate of 2009 and 2010 taught businesses a harsh lesson: you can evolve or you can die. Evolving is not always an easy thing, though, especially in the heavy-construction industry. Despite major advances in technology, little has changed when it comes to pouring and shaping concrete.
Glenn Thurman, Inc., a Texas-based highway and road contractor, had been around for almost 40 years and was already a major player in the public, municipal, and single-family development markets when the recession hit. However, rather than buy into the gloom and doom that swirled around its industry, the company decided to see the downturn as an opportunity to take a more aggressive approach toward its goal of diversification. Glenn Thurman saw this as a strategy that would bring in more of the private-sector work the company prefers.
According to Chris Harp, the vice president of operations at Glenn Thurman, when you’ve been in the industry for 40 years, you learn the importance of pushing into different sectors. “The past four years really reinforced our belief of how important it is to diversify if you want to remain competitive,” Harp says.
Top 5 Heavy-Construction Tools that Glenn Thurman Uses
1. The Caterpillar D8T Dozer is a favorite because it’s just the right size and provides the right amount of power.
2. The Caterpillar 621G Scraper is paired with the D8T dozer and can be used for almost any application.
3. The Vince Hagan Central Mix Batch Plant is portable and has excellent performance.
4. The GOMACO 2800 Paver is versatile and consistent.
5. The GOMACO 9500 Trimmer/Placer is dependable and adds value to the production process.
Diversification has likely been easier for his company than it has for others. The firm is largely made up of employees who have remained loyal for more than 20 years, and these long-term employees have rooted the firm’s reputation, helping clients trust that they’re working with a company that is solid and reliable. “I think it’s fair to say that owners enjoy working with us because of our reputation in this area,” Harp says. “We’re trusted because we’ve been around a long time and we’ve proven ourselves. We’ve struck the right balance between quality and quantity as far as production’s concerned. Others may pride themselves on how many projects they take on each year, but that never lasts very long. You need the right balance.”
Glenn Thurman made the wise move to simultaneously pursue work in the municipal and private sectors as well as with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This meant there were no gaps between jobs, but one thing the company didn’t count on was how fierce its competition would be, even as the economy improved. “For many companies, it’s hard to push into one of these sectors, let alone three,” Harp says. “Our reputation and experience helped us through the bad times, and it’s bringing us back around to the good times.”
Entry into these new industry sectors has come with new obstacles. The municipal and TxDOT work has involved a lot of bureaucratic red tape, so Harp and his team have sometimes found the private work to be more preferable. Often, for such jobs, the firm works with one owner, and decisions can be made without a lot of back-and-forth paperwork.
The recent $9.5 million expansion of the Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, Texas, is a project Glenn Thurman conducted in the TxDOT aviation sector, and it mostly involved concrete paving—the company’s specialty. In just 130 calendar days, Glenn Thurman constructed a new 108,000-square-yard runway for the airport, which required the use of 4,300 tons of Lhoist Group-manufactured lime, 25,000 tons of asphalt, and 50,000 cubic yards of concrete pavement. The company finished a week early and came in under budget.
“This is the direction we want to continue heading,” Harp says, referring to the Collin County Regional Airport. “Every day we’re working toward becoming a smarter, more efficient company.” ABQ