Updated: Jul 22
As the fourth-generation owner of a fifth-generation family owned and operated business, Chris Beaver puts a lot of thought into growing the business to benefit the next generation. He believes the best method is to create what he calls “bolt-on companies,” products or services that are closely aligned with the core business and provide new revenue streams for the company.
Beaver, owner of Beaver Materials in Noblesville, Indiana, has already created several bolt-on companies, and he has more in mind. Equipment from KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens plays a crucial role in several of those services.
Beaver Materials began in the late 1940s when members of the Beaver family started maintaining gravel roads and producing sand and gravel. As each successive generation took over, they expanded the company’s footprint.
"We work hand-in-hand with Columbus Equipment Company. They have been awesome to work with, in large part because of their technical expertise."
Chris Beaver; Owner, Beaver Materials
Today, Beaver Materials operates a clean fill site, processes aggregate, recycles concrete, and runs a ready-mix plant and trucking company. They also develop and lease land.
The company began using KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens crushing equipment in 2005, starting with a FT4250 tracked impact crusher. “Because we had a ready-mix company and a clean fill site, we had a strong desire to start recycling concrete rather than simply put it in the landfill,” Chris Beaver said. He realized the same customers who brought in concrete to dump would buy concrete that had been crushed into #53 crushed concrete. He saw it as a win-win: The company could extend the landfill’s useful life and become a crushed concrete supplier. In other words, it represented a “bolt-on” service.
“We went with the KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens crushing equipment because it felt like the total package—the balance of the machine, the ease of running it with a remote, which was a big deal back in ’05. It also gave us a cheaper-per-ton product” because the 4250 offered lower fuel and maintenance costs than competing crushers, he said.
Since then, the company has purchased several additional crushers and related equipment. In addition to replacing the original 4250 impact crusher, Beaver has worked closely with Columbus Equipment Company and KPI-JCI to figure out how to produce more products.
“We’ve married a 2650 jaw crusher with a GT165 screen to expand our range of products” to include #2, #8 and #11 recycled concrete. (Yes, that’s another “bolt-on” revenue stream.) Using the jaw crusher helps reduce production costs, he added.
Beaver has been extremely impressed by the range, compatibility, and versatility of KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens equipment. “They have a variety of different equipment that you can marry together, whereas if you buy different brands, they don’t marry. Columbus Equipment Company can help me combine multiple units to get different products, and this way one person can run multiple machines,” he said. “Because of KPI-JCI’s engineering, we’re able to do more with the product by adjusting rotor speed and screen size.”
Beaver Materials produces about 285,000 tons of recycled concrete each year, which represent both added revenue and 285,000 tons of concrete that is not taking up space in the company clean fill site.
After working with several dealers, Beaver has found Columbus Equipment Company to be the best for technical help, maintenance and parts. “We work hand-in-hand with Columbus Equipment Company. They have been awesome to work with, in large part because of their technical expertise.”
He also knows that Columbus Equipment Company and KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens stand behind the equipment they sell. Beaver had problems with his GT165 shortly after delivery. “Within two days, I had a new one that they had taken off of their lot just to make sure I was producing, no matter what.” He kept the loaner until his machine was repaired.
“Jesse Garber [Environmental Division sales representative] and all the service guys are great,” Beaver said.
Beaver’s next idea for a “bolt-on business” involves pulverized soil, and he’s working with Garber to explore the additional equipment needed to process dirt.
Beaver Materials has about 62 employees, including a dozen of Chris Beaver’s relatives—his brothers, cousins, daughters, and son-in-law. Having so many employees with lifelong ties to the company results in a business where people have worked their way up and understand all the industry’s ins-and-outs. They’re also committed to the success of the company and its customers.
Beaver family members also have deep ties to their hometown, where Beaver Materials sponsors ball teams and sports fields that benefit many local youths.
With so much riding on the company’s continued success, it’s easy to understand Chris Beaver’s efforts to create new revenue streams and his appreciation of a distributor and equipment brand that help him meet those bigger-picture goals.