A&A Paving’s finest buyer purchased the entire enterprise; has since constructed upon a legacy of nice service

When Bob Olson began A&A Paving in 1960 he had a aim of operating the perfect little asphalt paving and sealcoating firm within the Chicagoland space. With a terrific work ethic, personable fashion and progressive practices, Olson earned a cadre of loyal prospects for the higher a part of six a long time.

However when Olson began excited about retiring a couple of years again, he realized he couldn’t simply flip over this fine-tuned machine to anyone. For Olson, the plain selection was his finest buyer.

Enter Todd Eichholz, a self-described serial entrepreneur. Eichholz owns a business actual property growth and property administration agency and had employed A&A Paving to do parking tons at his varied properties. The 2 males had nice respect for each other and had each been honored as Enterprise Particular person of the 12 months by the Roselle Chamber of Commerce. 5 years in the past they sat all the way down to lunch and Olson popped the query: “I’m searching for a accomplice and any person to ultimately take over the enterprise.” Eichholz instantly stated sure. For Eichholz it was an opportunity to mix two of his favourite issues: entrepreneurship and heavy tools.


Trendy administration

Eichholz set to work analyzing the enterprise parts and searching for alternatives to realize efficiencies. He additionally introduced fashionable administration considering to bear on the enterprise to assist it develop. Eichholz remembers the times within the not-too-distant previous when A&A Paving had secretaries with yellow authorized pads and typewriters.

“So we began bringing in know-how,” Eichholz says. They began utilizing drones to file parking zone layouts and take pictures for advertising functions. “Bob embraced the know-how faster than guys 20 years youthful,” says Eicholz. “He taught himself Excel and created our multi-tab bidding workbook for paving sealcoating and excavation and concrete. Bob’s son Nate Olson joined us, and we began instructing individuals alternative ways to do issues.

“Bob and I took the corporate and shook it onerous. He’s very cautious and I’m all about calculated threat. However for us to be polar opposites and produce ourselves collectively has been among the best experiences of my life.”

Within the area, A&A Paving added a setup crew to extend efficiencies so the roles might be prepped forward of time for the bigger paving crew. “We ventured into multi-state sealcoating and not too long ago accomplished virtually 50 jobs for Walmart,” Eicholz says. “I added a concrete division to higher serve our prospects by self-performing extra work and hold the scheduling management and high quality.” Eicholz additionally instituted an tools substitute program and has been buying and selling as much as larger and extra environment friendly machines.


Character and elegance

Eichholz is adamant about breaking down communication boundaries within the firm. He constructed a breezeway that connects the workplace and the store to strengthen the concept that crews have been welcome within the workplace and workplace personnel have been welcome within the store. “We’re one group,” says Eicholz.

He additionally had all people within the firm take a persona stock after which used the outcomes to assist staff cope with one another in a means that made sense for his or her personalities. That enabled the individuals who have been keen and outgoing to grasp that those that could also be extra introverted or gruff weren’t been damaging – that was simply the way in which they have been wired.

One of many stunning advantages to Eichholz’s administration fashion is that the corporate is gaining a fame as a woman-friendly workforce. “We simply employed our first feminine pavement guide and feminine venture coordinator,” Eichholz says. “They see the tradition and the way in which we deal with individuals they usually wish to work right here.”


Rent for character, practice for ability

A&A Paving, each Olson’s and Eichholz’s model, doesn’t a lot rent for expertise because it does for character. Considered one of its finest salespeople, Roy Johnson, was a retired faculty principal who appreciated the job and stayed for 30 years. When Johnson handed away in 2018, the corporate honored his legacy by naming its annual gross sales award after him.

Dave Pawelek, the corporate’s newly promoted president, got here on board in 2018, as vp of operations after working in administration for the Disney firm. Pawelek hadn’t labored in building earlier than, however his operational genius has been key to releasing up Eichholz’s time to tackle extra big-picture duties.

“I’m a very good entrepreneur, a good suggestion man and a very good 30,000-foot chief, however I had means an excessive amount of on my plate,” says Eichholz. “Now with Dave operating operations, I can delegate and belief my group.  We’re doing way more than I ever thought we might, and I’m half as pressured as a result of I belief the individuals who work for me are doing their jobs nicely.”

Eichholz can be eager on evaluating what staff are finest at and turning them unfastened. “Worker self-evaluation performs an enormous function on this course of to assist determine the place their passions are,” says Eicholz. “We could change seats on the bus, however all people stays on the bus.”


Buyer satisfaction

Craig Cooksey, of Northwest Neighborhood Hospital, says A&A Paving is the perfect he’s seen in 21 years on the job. “We repaved half our campus a couple of years in the past, 17 acres, and we got a restricted time to do it,” says Cooksey. “A&A achieved the job in two days with minimal disruption to the site visitors movement out and in of the hospital. These guys went out of their means to verify every thing went good. Once they weren’t truly laying down asphalt, all people had a job, and all people was busy.”

That two-day turn-around for the hospital was a file. “They ended up portray all of our fireplace lanes and doing a variety of striping work that wasn’t within the scope of the venture just because Tom Swinger, the account supervisor, wished to make it look proper,” says Cooksey. “He felt like if they simply left it as clean asphalt, it wouldn’t present the workmanship they wished to perform. They striped fairly a bit greater than they have been requested to do, or that we paid for, simply because they wished it to look good.”


Discovering a distinct segment

Eichholz readily admits that A&A just isn’t the most cost effective, nor does he wish to be, and that requires educating the client. “We regularly educate our workers on what meaning and tips on how to promote it,” says Eicholz. “That’s what Nate does now. He created our Asphalt 101 program that we use to teach property and facility managers.”

“We wish to become involved within the hardest conditions, just like the high-end residential owners affiliation jobs,” says Nate. “They are often tedious and disturbing jobs as a result of all people is trying over your shoulder. However we do it nicely and it offers us an opportunity to have relationships with individuals.”

At A&A Paving the relationships that begin with asphalt usually department out into joint efforts to assist and enhance the group, a course of the corporate calls “Pave it Ahead.” These tasks embody funding for backpacks and college provides for native youngsters, volunteering to arrange a low-cost “Vacation Present Mart” so struggling mother and father can afford to purchase their youngsters Christmas presents, and dealing with the Shriners, church buildings and different organizations, prepared to pitch in.

“You by no means know what that relationship goes to show into,” says Nate. “That’s why each relationship, each chilly name, each potential buyer, each present buyer is necessary. It’s possible you’ll get an opportunity to share your religion or discover a new sponsor for a group venture. Our aim isn’t just the job. It’s to do the job after which ask what’s the following step on this relationship. You by no means know what sort of worth you possibly can carry to them.”