In Bradenton, Fla., Armour Tight Concrete recently entered the ready-mix concrete business with the opening of a new state-of-the-art concrete plant.
The new Con-E-Co plant, which went into production last May, has a capacity of about 800 yards per day. It boasts a pair of 535-ton barrel silos to ensure an adequate supply of raw material.
Armour Tight Concrete was established by Jim McLeod of McLeod Land Services (a Sarasota, Fla.-based site development contractor handling commercial and residential projects in an area that generally extends from Port Charlotte on to south to the northern part of Hillsborough County (Tampa) to the north) and Jim Parker of Armour Tight Gunite.
Established in 1990, McLeod Land Services, Inc. specializes in complete site development including land clearing, excavation and placement, grading, base asphalt, striping and signage. McLeod Land Services, with close to 300 employees, is also a Florida state licensed underground utility contractor capable of installing any size water, fire, sewer and storm system.
In addition to the company's site work operation — which draws on a fleet of more than 30 on-road dump trucks — McLeod Land Services has more than 15 concrete crews handling residential and commercial concrete footing and slab projects.
That requires a lot of concrete.
"Jim was doing such a high volume of concrete work," explains Parker, "that it was proving difficult to get enough concrete when and where he needed it." The solution was to launch his own concrete production operation, and today it's going strong.
Besides making sure that McLeod Land Services' concrete needs are met, the plant will help meet the growing need for concrete among other area contractors.
To deliver the concrete — whether to McLeod's own projects or to those of other customers — Armour Tight fields a fleet of six Mack transit mix trucks.
The new concrete plant joins Armour Tight Gunite on the site. The gunite operation, which was established there more than five years ago, also utilizes Mack trucks that deliver the gunite to area customers, primarily pool contractors. Each of those trucks is equipped with an Ingersoll Rand compressor to power the gunite placement system.
"We keep two to three gunite crews busy," Parker says, adding that the crews constructed "close to 1,400 pool shells last year."
To handle raw materials used in concrete and gunite production, Armour Tight utilizes a pair of Kawasaki excavators — a Kawasaki 70Z-III and a new 70Z-V.
"We bought the 70Z-III as a used machine when we opened the gunite part of the operation," says Parker. "It had 9,000 hours on it when we purchased it. We put in a new transmission and engine, and it has been a nice machine."
The second loader working at the site — the Kawasaki 70Z-V — was purchased new.
Both machines are equipped with 3.5-yard buckets, which have proven to be well suited to the material handling demands of the site's two operations.
McLeod is no stranger to the Kawasaki loaders; in fact, he uses eight other Kawasaki loaders (ranging from 65s to 80s) in the McLeod Land Services fleet.
When parts of the Florida market are hurting from slowdowns, was McLeod hesitant about entering the concrete business? McLeod saw the demand — not only for concrete for use on his own projects but also to meet the concrete demands of other area contractors — and decided that a new plant would be a good bet.
Armour Tight is clearly proud of its new production facilities. Even in this day of attention to plant appearance, the Armour Tight operation is noteworthy for the cleanliness of its grounds and equipment. Customers even comment on it, McLeod says.
But that's not the only thing he feels will help make the operation a success.
"We are the only locally owned concrete plant in the area," McLeod says, "and people say it's nice to do business with someone who lives here and works here."