Ruston Paving uses its vast experience and culture of teamwork to deliver paving projects on time, safely and with quality.
Success in the construction industry primarily depends on quality execution of projects, a focus on the schedule and a strong dedication to safety. Ruston Paving has become a valued partner to numerous contractors because it delivers on all these fronts and more. Coming to each project with more than 75 years of experience, Ruston Paving remains focused on providing complete and personalized service.
“One of the things we’re recognized for is our ability to meet the client’s schedule and work around things that they need to happen in order to keep their business up and running,” Vice President Lang Butler explains. “We take a lot of pride in being agile with our equipment and resources, and we do that by sharing resources among our offices. We can send manpower and equipment from one division to another to meet customers’ needs as best as possible.”
Combining state-of-the-art equipment and a knowledgeable and skilled workforce, Ruston Paving operates from seven locations in New York, Virginia and North Carolina. It is capable of all types of asphalt paving projects, ranging from minor repairs to major rehabilitation work and new construction in the commercial market. Always sensitive to the needs of its clients, Ruston Paving has been successful by suggesting and utilizing innovative techniques, such as pavement reclamation and soil stabilization, to help provide an improved pavement structure at significant savings.
“I have to echo Lang’s statement – our offices are set up geographically so we can support one another,” says Don Barry, director of business development. “If a customer has a project that is unique or a timeline that has to happen out of the ordinary, we will shift resources to meet their schedule.”
Barry notes Ruston Paving just finished a hospital project where it needed to work at night and on weekends, so it adjusted its schedules and pulled crews from other locations to ensure the work was completed on time. It helps that Ruston Paving self-performs 95 percent of the work it does and owns more than 400 pieces of equipment across its divisions.
“By using our own crews and resources in all of our market areas, we are able to meet clients’ needs quickly,” Barry says.
A major part of meeting clients’ needs is how Ruston Paving delivers quality work. The company takes a lot of pride in the work its people deliver, and stresses “teamwork is not a buzzword for us.” Each division has a brick-and-mortar office, and the locations are staffed by local workers who enjoy completing projects for local customers. Ruston Paving focuses on limiting disruption for its clients, getting in and out quickly while providing high-quality work.
“We really value all of our employees,” Barry stresses. “We organize different activities to foster camaraderie. For instance, sometimes our management team will come in early and make breakfast for everyone. It’s about showing our employees that we appreciate them because they are such an integral part of what we do. Our management team does a great job getting all the work lined up, but it’s the crews on the ground who help sell the company and continue our longevity.”
Ruston Paving uses apps like Yammer and Fieldlens to maintain communication between management and workers in the field. It also hosts an annual leadership retreat that brings together the company’s managers from all of its divisions so they can learn from each other and focus on professional development. Barry adds the company is “constantly trying to sharpen the saw” because it wants to always improve the services it provides, while also retaining its skilled staff.
“There is a shortage of skilled labor, so we’re doing everything we can to attract people to this industry,” Butler explains. “Construction in general is not necessarily glamorous, but we try to keep it light. We’ve been successful in working with existing employees to make sure they are enjoying their job. We want them to share this culture outside of work because it helps us to pull additional employees in.”
Barry notes a strong referral program has helped Ruston Paving attract new employees. “We are proud of who we have working for us and we are confident their friends and family are cut from the same cloth,” he says. “We incentivize employees to recommend their friends and family members to apply for positions here, but we also provide the opportunity for employees to move from one location to another.”
Proactive on Safety
Ruston Paving demonstrates how much it values employees by taking a top-down approach to safety, and it has paid off for the operation. This involves weekly safety meetings and daily job site meetings to identify potential pitfalls because the company’s aim is to be proactive with any obstacles or hazards on its job sites.
“Safety drives everything we do,” Barry says. “We have a big focus on getting employees home at night. We recognize employees who see things in the news about accidents that happen at other sites and then implement strategies to keep that from happening here.” He adds Ruston Paving is happy to implement feedback from employees. One example is the implementation of the company’s stretch-and-flex program that was suggested by several foremen. “Workers get limbered up before they tackle a project, which helps to reduce injuries,” he says.
Ruston Paving also has a safety audit program. “A random employee in each division is selected on a daily basis to do an audit of the site they are on,” Butler says. “They will audit the site, vehicles, equipment and make sure everyone is working according to our policies on things like PPE and making sure everything is in the right place. By doing it daily, everyone keeps current as to what we’re looking for and the type of safety culture we want to maintain.”
They stress there is “quite a bit of tenure in the organization,” and this is something Ruston Paving wants to maintain going forward. With this experienced workforce, it performs roughly 500 jobs each year, and it enjoys being able to deliver that volume of work with high levels of quality and safety.
“The fact that we are so mobile and agile is great,” Butler says. “We are doing that many projects in one year and keeping it safe while also keeping our strong culture alive. To be able to do that while moving from one job to another is something that’s not easily done, but that’s where our experience and longevity comes in.”