Atlantic Southern Paving Heads West
When Michael “Mickey” Curry started Atlantic Southern Paving and Sealcoating, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the early 1990s, he had to borrow $1,500 from a friend to buy a pickup truck and a few 5-gallon buckets of sealer.
After three decades of hard work, the company has not only grown to offer its services nationwide, but it has also begun to acquire additional paving and sealcoating companies to continue its growth. In January 2021, Atlantic Southern acquired Emerald Paving Company, Westminster, California, to expand its operations in the western United States.
Atlantic Southern performs paving and pavement maintenance services in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its clients range from retail, hotel, restaurant and other chains, small and large, regional and national. Roughly 70 percent of the company’s work is asphalt paving.
“The appeal of Atlantic Southern is that we are a one-stop shop that can handle a large volume of projects,” said Michael Curry Jr., CEO of Atlantic Southern and Mickey Curry’s eldest son. “Instead of dealing with multiple contractors on multiple projects and the headaches that can entail, the client only has to deal with one contractor for all of their projects.”
Curry Jr. has been involved in the business since the beginning, offering an “extra pair of hands” whenever the crew was short a worker on weekends and during school breaks.
Although he was never pressured to go into the family business, Curry Jr. started working at the company full-time in 1998 after finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida. Then, in 2004, Curry Sr.’s son, Dan, joined the family business and helped expand its operations around southern Florida. In 2010, they hired Terry Smith as its chief operating officer and decided to take the company national.
“Many of our clients had been asking us if we could do jobs for them outside of southern Florida,” Curry Jr. said. Atlantic Southern began performing work for its clients in a wider region and eventually across the nation. “They enjoyed working with us, and we wanted to grow with them, so it’s been a good business relationship.”
A National Approach
Before the acquisition of Emerald Paving, Atlantic Southern employed 160 employees. With the acquisition, that has expanded to nearly 200 employees, roughly 120 of them on the company’s crews.
Atlantic Southern’s in-house crew performs work regionally, around the company’s Florida offices in Sunrise, Fort Myers, Orlando and Cocoa. The majority of Atlantic Southern’s work across the nation is contracted out to local companies and managed and overseen by an on-site Atlantic Southern project manager.
“The fact that we not only manage work on a national level, but that we also perform the work in-house in Florida, is definitely an advantage,” Curry Jr. said. “The company’s project managers are already well-versed in paving and pavement maintenance. They know the ins and outs because they’ve physically done the work before they manage it.”
Emerald Paving had a similar approach. Both companies served a similar group of clients and performed work nationwide, though Atlantic Southern didn’t do much work out west and Emerald didn’t do much in the eastern and central parts of the country. Curry Jr. had known Derek Davis, CEO of Emerald, for years before the two began to discuss the acquisition.
Curry Jr. said: “By working together, we could leverage where each of the companies is, geographically.”
Curry Jr. said the company plans to continue to acquire other paving and pavement maintenance companies, particularly in the American south, Sunbelt and mid-Atlantic regions.