Driver’s Seat

When Concrete Products first visited Gossett Concrete Pipe Co. Inc. in 1994, A.C. Gossett III reflected on a new plant representing what was by far his

Don Marsh

When Concrete Products first visited Gossett Concrete Pipe Co. Inc. in 1994, A.C. Bo Gossett III reflected on a new plant representing what was by far his family’s biggest business investment to date: Although our main objective is to have a lean operation with capability for daily orders and big jobs, we feel delivering a quality product at a competitive price is raising concrete pipe’s position over steel and plastic.

Fourteen years on, there’s little doubt the Greenville, S.C., producer has done its part to advance the industry’s value proposition of extended product service life, structural performance, and installation ease. Sustained, positive market conditions have given the company an opportunity to show that an independent operator can compete in a segment of concrete production that has seen as much, if not more, consolidation than any other since the mid-1990s.

Greenville’s fortunes in that time have turned on an assembly plant for BMW of North America LLC. The region has been bursting at the seams for more than a decade, explains Bo Gossett’s son-in-law, David Marchbanks, who joined the business to head up sales following a four-year tour of duty as pitcher with the Florida Marlins. Greenville used to be the third-largest metro area in South Carolina. Now it is the most populated.

Completed in 1994-95, the original BMW Manufacturing Corp. of America plant, for which Gossett Concrete was a key drainage product supplier, ushered in a host of supporting businesses that spawned commercial, industrial and residential development. That coincided with another business catalyst challenging Gossett Concrete to keep its yard stocked with small and medium bore pipe: extensive South Carolina Department of Transportation work on Interstate 85, the main artery linking Greenville to Atlanta, two-and-half hours away.

Census figures further underscore the BMW effect on the Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, S.C. metro area, which logged a nearly 16 percent population increase from 1990 to 2000. In Greenville County alone, the trend continues, with the Census noting a nearly 10 percent population boost from 2000 to 2006. Reinforcing future development, BMW of North America is commencing work on a second Greenville assembly plant, larger than the first.


In order to play on contracts for BMW and related operations, along with SCDOT jobs, Gossett Concrete had to invest in automation and prove quality assurance according to private and public owner guidelines. Much more recently, the company has based its QA/QC on the American Concrete Pipe Association’s Q-Cast program, joining the list of certified plants.

Gossett Concrete broke from the past in 1992 by replacing a 40-year-old packerhead machine with a McCracken PH 48, which since has anchored the company’s medium- and small-bore pipe operations. Steady production growth, coupled with prospects tied to the second BMW of North America operation, drove Gossett Concrete’s recent move to build Plant #2.

Leading up to the latter construction, which took place in late 2007, the company acquired eight homes neighboring its original site, adding six acres. The result is an elongated site running parallel to railroad right of way, with yard storage progressing from small- to medium-bore pipe.

Plant #2 is equipped with a successor to the McCracken line Û a Besser A-36 Advantage Series bi-directional machine Û and runs on the latest Advantage controls, matching those Gossett Concrete used in a Plant #1 upgrade. We designed the new facility to emulate the original line so that production and maintenance crews could easily switch from one plant to the other, depending on schedules and output requirements, affirms Bo Gossett. Having the new plant has allowed us to be more efficient and have longer production days, running multiple sizes with less changeover time.