Recently, I attended the Norfolk-Bristol-Middlesex Highway Association show in Wellesley, MA and got to talking with Peter Marino.
Marino was there representing his second generation family business – The Felix A. Marino Company, otherwise known as FAMCO.
Felix A. Marino, the founder of the company, was father to nine children. As a chemical engineer, after graduating from Northeastern University, he did extensive research on plastic materials for the General Electric Company during the war.
Eventually, Marino’s formal educational background served him well when he started his own contracting enterprise. He was responsible for the early development of the majority of the systems performed by FAMCO today. All six of his sons were involved with the business up to the time of his passing a few years ago. Four sons still remain in the management division of the company.
Today the company specializes in pavement technologies and has been serving government, utility and commercial customers in the New England region for more than 50 years.
During our discussion, Peter Marino described the newly developed paving materials that incorporate synthetic resins that have resulted in rugged and durable colored surfacing products that can be textured to create the aesthetic appeal of hand-laid paving products on roadways, sidewalks or driveway aprons.
I was amazed at how this almost maintenance-free “plastic compound” came in so many colors and textures that resembled conventional masonry like brick pavers, granite cobbles or stamped cement concrete.
Marino describes the product as “synthetic colored asphalts, using polymer-modified plastic resins that can be textured to resemble the aesthetic of conventional masonry like brick and cobblestone.”
Marino said the most popular product used in his company today is “MARIMIX, a premium permanent, recyclable patching material that can be used at ambient temperatures or in conjunction with the company’s multi-heating system 'hot boxes.’” With its enhanced formulation, MARIMIX is ideal for the permanent repair of potholes and utility cuts. When used as an admixture with thermal recycling systems like infrared patching, it will substantially extend the life cycle of those repairs.
Marino also talked about what role FAMCO plays when it comes to green technology. “FAMCO’s introduction of the infrared patching process in the 1960s represents one of the first 100-percent pavement recycling initiatives. In 2001, we developed and built a 'hot-in-place’ recycling train in southwest Canada which, along with re-using all of the existing pavement, utilized a patented heating system that recaptured the energy and emissions generated during the heating stage of this process. This train most recently has been in use in Beijing, China,” Marino said.
According to Marino, “MARIMIX premium permanent patching material is manufactured at substantially lower temperatures than the conventional 'hot mix’ and can be applied at ambient temperatures at sufficient depth. Even when heated in asphalt storage boxes for thinner applications, MARIMIX remains a model of the Warm Mix technology, which is becoming popular nationally to conserve energy. A combination of proprietary additives allows for more flowability at lower temperatures, resulting in a considerable reduction in energy costs.”
And of course, any conversation these days almost always goes back to the economy. I asked Marino what his company is doing to survive the slow times.
“Weak economies drive innovation,” Marino said. “A business like ours that thrives on the latest technologies must focus our efforts on offering the best 'value’ for our customers. We have responded with a comprehensive, or as we refer to it, a 'menu’ approach to pavement preservation. We can provide our customers with any combination of specialized materials and equipment (with or without trained operators) to suit their individual needs. Recently the more cost effective 'bundling’ of contract services together like crack filling with patching and surface sealing has gained in popularity. Of course, it goes without saying that maintaining quality is now more important than ever.”