Casey Greinermiller never set out to be in the asphalt industry. It wasn’t until he took a summer job at RS Asphalt Maintenance, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, between school years studying fine arts at Kutztown University that he began to consider it as a career option. Art and asphalt may seem two completely different industries, but that’s not how Greinermiller sees it.
“Being an artistic person, my attention to detail helps in this business,” he said. “I’m a real perfectionist and I have an eye for spotting things, which helps with the quality of our work.”
Greinermiller is now the president of RS Asphalt Maintenance. He purchased the business in January 2015, but the deal has been on his mind since graduating from college almost a decade ago.
“I saw what might be an opportunity down the road,” he said. He knew former owner Robert Stanley was looking to sell the business.
“He was ready to retire after 30+ years in the business,” Greinermiller said. He wanted to stay in the business, and he saw how much Stanley wanted the legacy to continue. “He wanted to sell, and I wanted to buy. It was opportunity meeting opportunity.”
Behind RS Asphalt Maintenance
RS Asphalt Maintenance began in 1977 as Robert Stanley Asphalt Maintenance Inc. When Stanley sold the residential part of the business, he continued to offer commercial asphalt services as RS Asphalt Maintenance.
The full-service asphalt maintenance contracting company will keep its name under new ownership, Greinermiller said.
“We want to make [the transition] as easy as possible for our customers,” Greinermiller said. Besides, he added, all the vehicles and t-shirts are ready to go. “And it’s hard to rebrand.”
In fact, Greinermiller plans to keep most aspects of the business the same, but wouldn’t be opposed to growth.
“Being small and efficient is very good for us,” Greinermiller said. “There’s not a lot of overhead, everyone knows everyone else and I can be involved as much as possible. If we get too big, it might be a little tough to be so involved.”
RS Asphalt Maintenance has five seasonal employees, as well Greinermiller and office manager, Gail Frey, who work year-round. Frey has been with the company since the early 1990s. RS Asphalt Maintenance has a tradition of employee longevity. Not only did Greinermiller work for the company for a decade prior to purchasing it, but he said all of his employees are typically returning employees from the previous season.
RS Asphalt Maintenance offers linestriping, residential and commercial sealing, crack repair, patching and infrared seamless patching. Although its most popular service is residential and commercial sealing, Greinermiller said the company’s efforts are fairly well split among its services.
Greinermiller said his favorite projects are ones that require the full extent of RS Asphalt Maintenance’s services, from patching and crack repair to sealing and line striping.
“I like seeing the transformation of what [the property] was to what we made it look like afterwards,” he said. “What was broken down and deteriorated looks almost like a brand new lot when we get done with it, for a fraction of the cost [of repaving].”
“I firmly believe your parking lot is the welcome mat to your business,” Greinermiller said. “Having a well-maintained lot or driveway says a lot about your business and your home.”
Initiate Infrared Use
Located in Pennsylvania, RS Asphalt Maintenance is very seasonal, from April to November.
“Infrared seamless patching gives us the ability to work in the winter when the plants are closed,” Greinermiller said. “Having that in the winter is very helpful.”
RS Asphalt Maintenance’s 6-foot by 4-foot propane-powered heater heats the asphalt and allows the crew to re-rake the area and add more asphalt as needed.
“It’s been great for high-traffic parking lots where oil drips in the front will deteriorate the asphalt,” Greinermiller said. Instead of milling it out, Greinermiller said his team can use infrared patching to remove saturated asphalt and then replace it. “It’s a lot more cost effective than bringing in a milling machine and grinding that asphalt, and it does a very good job.”
Despite the value of infrared patching in the northeastern winters, Greinermiller said it’s not very common among his competitors. “Not everyone is doing it, so it’s something that can stand out,” Greinermiller said. “It’s something new to offer.”
Greinermiller also hopes to expand to offering asphalt stamping, using their infrared patching heater. He also would like to begin offering thermoplastic in addition to striping.
“It’s much more durable than painting each year,” he said about the process, which involves placing and heating a stencil. “You can do arrows, crosswalks, decorative crosswalks like you see in some townships, logos, decals. The options are pretty endless.”
Other than expanding those services, Greinermiller said he plans to operate RS Asphalt Maintenance in much the same way Stanley did for more than 35 years.
“It’s worked really well, so we aren’t going to change it.”
One long-standing company tradition is the use of an oil-based sealer called LN-11 Equinox, rather than a water- or latex-based sealer. Greinermiller said the petroleum-based sealer, which is the same type of oil mixed with asphalt, replenishes what’s been lost to oxidation, soaking into the asphalt rather than staying on top.
“The LN-11 Equinox is not an asphalt cement or maltene, it is an asphalt based sealer that is made up of asphalt, mineral spirits and Gilsonite,” Greinermiller said. Gilsonite is a naturally occuring hydrocarbon bitumen also known as asphaltum.
“I’ve been told, from our supplier, that we’re one of the largest users of our sealer in central Pennsylvania,” Greinermiller said. Stanley had been using LN-11 Equinox since he got started in the industry.
“All of our equipment is based on that sealer,” Greinermiller said. “Since it’s different from water-based sealers, it requires totally different types of equipment to apply.”
RS Asphalt Maintenance transports the sealer in 200-gallon Marathon skid tanks permanently attached to utility pickups. The tanks are outfitted with petroleum pump seals and powered by Honda engines.
“If you ran coal tar through it, the sand would eat the system away,” Greinermiller said. The tanks are also heated to keep the material warm and easy to apply
“Since the sealer is oil based, we keep our material heated to between 110 and 145 degrees, just enough to make it a more pliable consistency, which in turn makes it easier to spray,” Greinermiller said. “We apply our sealer by spray, using pumps rated at 10 gallons per minute. I believe spraying gives it the most uniform and finished look.”
Overall, the company has two trucks that it has retrofitted for sealcoating that have been equipped with 5-gallon melters for crack repair, as well as a box van for line striping, a Ford pickup truck for general use and one Peterbilt dump truck for hot patching.
Based in a small town with a population of 11,648, RS Asphalt Maintenance has a legacy of giving back to its community. RS Asphalt Maintenance participates in the Memorial Day parade each year and brings its Peterbilt dump truck to the local library’s annual Touch A Truck event.
“Kids get to see and touch big trucks and equipment, so we bring in our dump truck and raise and lower the bed and show them how it works,” Greinermiller said. “Any time a child sees, up close and personal, how something works, it’ll help them become more interested in that.”
As it did for Greinermiller, maybe one experience is all it’ll take to inspire a future career.