C.R. Jackson Continues South Carolina Growth with Award-Winning Longevity
BY Sandy Lender
C.R. Jackson Inc. began in 1972 as a small landscaping company working primarily in Columbia, South Carolina. Over the past 44 years the company has grown in scope, capacity and geographic footprint to become one of the state’s premier highway heavy contractors. Today the company owns five asphalt plants from Columbia to Myrtle Beach and has the resources to pave in over half of South Carolina’s 46 counties.
Upper management at C.R. Jackson said the company’s growth is supported by a strong commitment to safety and building a corporate culture based on respect and integrity. They’re aware of the impact construction can have on the surrounding environment and their team is focused on maximizing their recycling capabilities by using recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) as often as possible in their mix designs and achieving the Diamond Achievement Commendation at each of their asphalt plants. This commendation is given annually by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) to companies who emphasize continuous improvement in their environmental practices, safety, community relations, and operations. Each of C.R. Jackson’s asphalt plants has received this commendation every year for the past decade.
C.R. Jackson Inc. can directly relate its sustained success and growth to a commitment to excellence in the quality of the work performed by its employees. The company garnered the Carolinas AGC 2013 Pinnacle Award for Best Highway Project after successfully tackling 13 intersections for a federal aid design-build project across Aiken, Clarendon, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland and Sumter counties. C.R. Jackson was responsible for design, permitting, right of way acquisition, utility relocation coordination, land clearing and asphalt paving for all 13 projects, under one contract, in a condensed timeframe.
C.R. Jackson Inc. has also been awarded several Quality in Construction (QIC) Awards for excellence in construction of an asphalt pavement project from NAPA. The latest project which earned this award was on I-95 in Santee, South Carolina. The job involved significant patching of an aged concrete road before placing an asphalt overlay. The crew placed as much as 3 inches of overlay on the center line to make the correct crown for the existing road. In addition, they placed two strengthening lifts of asphalt topped with a lift of open-graded friction course (OGFC).
Manufacturing and placing the asphalt that brings quality awards takes attention to all the details. C.R. Jackson Inc. has long-term employees with excellent skills and good ideas for monitoring those details. One of the key components of the company’s success has been the ability to hire and retain a very talented and knowledgeable workforce. On average, the field superintendents have worked with the company for 14 years; at the project manager level, the average length of employment increases to 20 years.
Visiting with Larry Owens put some of that into perspective. Owens is the equipment manager in charge of all the physical equipment. He’s been with the company for 36 years and remembers when they acquired an asphalt company to get into mix production.
Owens said. “We took over an asphalt company and that’s about when I started using Kenco.
It is a great value for the money, reducing downtime, and cost per hour.”
Kenco Engineering Inc., Roseville, California, provides wear parts for C.R. Jackson. Specifically, Gary Pruitt of Kenco Engineering works with Owens to keep equipment up and running. Pruitt still services his customers in the old-fashioned way of going to the site to visit and make sure all is well.
“That personal relationship is important,” Pruitt said. “Larry’s about 10 or so years older than I am, and we treat each other with mutual respect. It’s a good marriage. He can trust me to tell him when I see something wearing.”
Of course the company is proactive about equipment maintenance and upkeep. Barry Feagin and Dale Floyd, the company’s asphalt plant managers, are at liberty to order from Pruitt directly for their operating needs. Owens and Brad Peters, C.R. Jackson’s equipment manager in Darlington, make the decisions at the paving and equipment level.
“Larry will send a text with a picture if he sees something he has a question about,” Pruitt said. “They have multiple locations. All the facilities have a plant foreman. I have my notes on each facility on my iPad, and I’ll know which items I want to double-check when I visit. Then I may give them some information on some new technology we [Kenco] have. Around September, I’ll ask what plans they have for rebuild season and I’ll assess what their priorities are for the down season for capital winter maintenance projects. Mr. Jackson gives Larry the leeway to take care of what’s under his supervision. If I can give him something that gives less maintenance, I’ve helped overall.”
One of the reasons Owens has his owner’s confidence is his track record. “I understand wear components,” Owens said. “I know what carbide is and the hours of service it will add. But it was Kenco’s guarantee that got me to try it. We use quite a bit of Kenco product on our machinery.”
Owens listed everything from chutes to carbide cutting edges and side edges on loaders to screed plates on pavers to wear plates inside the Shuttle Buggies to carbide plates on milling machines and more. They don’t skimp on shoring up their machinery for longer life.
Pruitt discussed the Shuttle Buggies specifically. “The first thing we jumped on was the discharge conveyor floor, which gets a significant amount of wear,” Pruitt said. “We developed a package that lines the hopper assembly with a 550 to 700 Brinell hardness rating. Since we’ve been installing our wear parts, I see a decrease in repeat orders for Shuttle Buggy parts. We do the auger assemblies, which are large augers. We use tungsten carbide augers with a cost-effective guarantee. It’s been three years since we sold the first set to C.R. Jackson.”
Owens said the company hasn’t tracked any change in fuel use in the machines since installing heavier wear parts. The savings in maintenance and wear part life outweighs any increase in fuel use due to machine weight, in his opinion. At this time, he’s pleased to keep everything running for C.R. Jackson Inc. with longer life with the wear parts his long-time supplier provides.
C.R. Jackson, Inc. Produces
Each of the C.R. Jackson asphalt plants has achieved the Diamond Achievement Commendation from the National Asphalt Pavement Association, proving environmental stewardship and employee safety are priorities for the company.
Myrtle Beach Asphalt Plant
Located on Winyah Road in Conway
Florence Asphalt Plant
Located on Campground Road in Florence
Jefferson Asphalt Plant
Located on Ogburn Road in Jefferson
Sumter Asphalt Plant
Located on Eagle Road in Sumter
Columbia Asphalt Plant
Located on Independence Boulevard in Columbia