VOL 23 ISSUE #1
Chris Colwell, President, Carlson Paving Products
Chris Colwell, President, Carlson Paving Products

In December, 2017, a copy of Astec Industries, Inc.: A Proud Heritage of Innovation and Unparalleled Customer Service was placed on my desk. Flipping through the pages, the rich history of our company comes to life, chronicling the dedication of all individuals who have made this company and its subsidiaries what it is today. What struck me most, however, was the depth our core values run in the Astec Industries story.

Reflecting on my six years at Carlson Paving Products, I can see the direct impact our core values have played in our own success story and that of our customers. No more so than our fourth that states “Preserving entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and focus through decentralization.”

Innovation Through Decentralization

In an industry of Goliaths, Carlson is an anomaly. With nearly all major paver producers designing and building their own screed platforms, the thought of a manufacturer that only builds screeds ought to be seen as fantastical. Yet, today Carlson is the North American market leader in screed sales and development, regardless of the tractor decal. How did we get here?

 
Carlson’s innovative platforms are designed from the grassroots of the industry.
 

One answer to that question is the unwavering devotion, hard work and pride our employees showcase every day in producing world-class products. Another, an underlying yet ever present fact, is the ability for Carlson to forge its own path through decentralization. With an ability to create solutions and innovations generated from jobsites and contractor input, Carlson has been able to pursue new technologies that enhance roadway and worker safety, prolong lifecycle of asphalt roads, and give contractors reliable platforms with greater uptime and bonus awards. Rather than a top-down approach, Carlson’s innovative platforms are designed from the grassroots of the industry and have helped solidify the brand as the market leader in highway-class asphalt screeds.

The freedom granted to Carlson has also lent to our ability to push boundaries, achieve innovations and enter into new markets. In 2008, we released the CP90 commercial asphalt paver, an organic design that addressed many of the long standing complaints of contractors in this underserved market. Fast forward to today and Carlson is now a major influencer in the trajectory of the commercial paver market, introducing heavier duty platforms, attaining higher quality asphalt mats, and bringing innovations once reserved to highway-class contractors to the commercial market. Now with a full line of four commercial platforms, all of Carlson’s pavers are born out of the independent initiative and entrepreneurial spirit that decentralization lends us.

Value Driven Growth

While decentralization has allowed Carlson to grow its product lineup to meet the needs of its customers and attract new ones, it has also allowed the company to grow in other areas. From 2012 to 2017, Carlson has doubled its sales, a testament to the dedication and hard work of everyone at the company, but also to the ability of the company to fully capitalize on its entrepreneurial spirit.

That success has translated to a need for physical growth to maintain pace with demand. We are excited to announce the ground breaking in the coming weeks on a massive new expansion to our facility that will see our factory increase 80,000 square feet to a total of 125,00 sq. ft. right here in our hometown of Tacoma. With this new expansion, we are poised to write a new chapter in Carlson’s history to meet the needs of more contractors here and abroad

Since that first day I was hired by the late Dr. Don Brock, I have been immensely proud to be a part of this story and this company. With continued growth, opportunity and optimism, the story of Carlson’s success is poised to continue, driven by the Core Values we proudly espouse. I am excited for what is still to come, and equally excited to have Carlson play a continued and growing role in the history of Astec Industries for years to come.

Sincerely,
Chris Colwell
President, Carlson Paving Products

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