Donna Floyd, construction coordinator, has been with Astec for 13 and a half years. She moved to the Construction Department from her position as a parts tech in the Parts Department. “There are a lot of people here with more than 30 years under their belt,” Floyd said when asked about the length of time she’s worked for the company. “Anthony Caldwell, the construction manager, has been with Astec for 30 years this February.”
After working in the shop for 27 years, 11 of which he spent running the drum bay, Caldwell definitely brings experience with him to the Construction Department. The department is comprised of 10 permanent employees, though occasionally the department will borrow guys from the shop. Floyd explained the team’s vision for the department: “The Construction Department is not new, but we’re new to the Construction Department. We’re just trying to revamp it and run it like it needs to be run.”
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
When a client wants a new plant, the Construction Department provides a quote. Once the equipment is built and shipped, Construction is on-site for the equipment arrival. “Our guys are there as soon as it arrives to the customer. They get it offloaded and put together,” said Floyd.
The Construction Department also helps customers make sure their equipment is functional and that it will stay up and running throughout their busy season. “A lot of times, the customers want to set equipment up on their own,” said Floyd. “They’re more than welcome to do that, but with any equipment that is sold through Astec, Construction will come out and set it up for them. We’ll do everything that needs to be done—connecting old equipment with new equipment to get everything working together and get all the electrical components lined up and working.”
The Construction Department’s busy season correlates to the asphalt industry’s slow season. “We’re in our busy season right now,” Floyd explained. “Summer is the slowest, because that’s when our customers are making asphalt. So, winter is the busiest for us.” It’s imperative that Astec’s customers have functional, reliable equipment during peak season. If a piece of equipment breaks in the middle of being used, it can throw a customer’s schedule off by anywhere from hours to days—creating a domino effect all the way down to the bottom line.
“A lot of places just shut down in the winter. That’s what they do when they’re not making asphalt—they’re working on their equipment. It’s the same as it is with a car: Every once in a while, a car needs new tires and you don’t want that to be in the middle of a trip when you’re on vacation,” Floyd pointed out. “So, you do it beforehand. It’s the same thing when working with asphalt equipment—you do it when you’re not making asphalt.
DIFFERENT ROOM, SAME ATMOSPHERE
Oftentimes, when switching from one department in a company to another, there’s a learning curve. But, for Floyd, the atmosphere of the Construction Department was the same as anywhere else in the company—work hard and make the customer happy. “I think in general, the guys in the shop and the guys on the road are some of the most hard working, dedicated people I’ve ever worked with. They’re more than willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and make the customer happy,” explained Floyd. “Even though they might not come from a customer-service background or job, they’re working in front of the customer now and they do whatever it takes to make that customer happy. That’s just part of the atmosphere in any job at Astec.”
The longevity of employment and overall atmosphere of dedication to customers are proof that Astec doesn’t take its employees—no matter in what position—for granted. “Really, ever since I’ve been here, I’ve never even thought of going anywhere else. It’s a good place to be,” Floyd said. “If you’ve worked very long, you’ll come away with some bad experiences; there are places you’d never go back to—this is NOT one of them.”