ANDERSON CONCRETE MARKS A CENTURY OF FAMILY, CUSTOMER COMMITMENT
One of the Buckeye State’s oldest and largest ready mixed producers, Anderson Concrete Corp., is celebrating a century of being the backbone of infrastructure and development for Central Ohio. Part of an elite group of operators that have seen a continuity of leadership from one generation to the next, the producer kicked off its centennial year with the appointment of Jessica Anderson, a fourth-generation owner, as its fifth president and the first female in the role.
She takes the helm of a family business with six plants, a 90-truck fleet and payroll of 150, and succeeds cousin Doug Anderson, who transitioned to chief executive officer after serving as president since 2002. In total, five Anderson cousins—brothers Doug and Bill, Mike and Jessica (fourth generation), plus Mike’s nephew Shawn (fifth generation)—are currently part of the leadership team for the Columbus-based company.
So how do the family members maintain harmony and balance decision making? “Every family member that has worked for the company comes in at the ground level and works their way up through the ranks,” explains Jessica Anderson, who got her start in the accounting department of sister business Buckeye Ready-Mix in 2001 before proceeding to treasurer posts with ALD Precast and Columbus Bituminous Concrete Corp., both allied operations.
“This helps us earn respect, learn about all aspects of the company, develop our skills and discover what we like to do,” she continues. “Each of us has developed our own niche within the company, and we have unique strengths and perspectives, which helps with problem solving and decision making. Most importantly, we treat each other with respect, which has been vital to our long-term success.”
It’s not just founding-family members that have spent their entire careers at Anderson Concrete. The producer has a long history of employee loyalty and longevity. It is not uncommon for employees from all departments to stay at Anderson Concrete for several decades, and even encourage members of their own families to come work for the company as well. In fact, there are several sets of fathers/sons that have worked for the producer over the years.
“I have worked with so many talented and hardworking people in my 40 years with the company,” says Doug Anderson. “Our entire team feels like part of the family. It has been exciting to see all the changes that have taken place in the industry over that time. It has also been exciting to support the contractors who have built so many fantastic projects around Columbus. Watching our company grow and adapt has been very fulfilling.”
ADAPTING FOR GROWTH
“At an early age, I saw in my grandpa, Richard D. Anderson, the kind of man I wanted to be. For me, working with the best people and products as well as pushing forward in a continually evolving industry is what makes the company Anderson Concrete,” says Shawn Anderson, the first fifth generation member to become active in the business.
When they founded the company that spawned Anderson Concrete in 1921, his great great grandfather and great uncle, Walter Earnest Anderson and Willis Anderson, started with a single truck—hauling sand and gravel exclusively for American Aggregates Corp. During the pre-World War II building boom, W.E. Anderson & Son Trucking Co. evolved from a trucking and hauling company into a ready mixed concrete producer. Over the decades, it has made numerous improvements to its fleet and plants, and deployed technology to formulate, test and upgrade its products—and to develop exciting new ones.
“With the advancement of technology in society (not just construction), people and companies began wanting immediate feedback and definite information,” says Rod Jenkins, vice president of Production. “This trend was heavily felt in the ready-mix industry, even by our own employees. Those in production roles wanted to take advantage of technology that would give them immediate information on deliveries and batch weights from loads.”
Jenkins continues, “Highly technical ready-mix producers around the country were moving in the same direction, and we wanted to be at the front of this movement. We added laptops for field reps to monitor deliveries and orders in real time; software to monitor loading that would send immediate feedback to QC and dispatch in the event of an error; smartphones and apps for smartphones to monitor deliveries that could pull weights for individual loads; apps that customers could use to track deliveries; and, a move from not just computer-controlled batching, but the latest in Windows-based batching systems, which further modernized our plants. All of this has happened in the last decade.”
Further, over the past couple of years Anderson Concrete has made several updates to its on-site quality control lab, including purchasing a cylinder grinder from Hoskin Scientific and a fully automated computer testing system from Controls Group that allows for multiple automated tests on different concrete specimens. The Automax Multitest System also lets the company break higher strength concrete and conduct Modulus of Elasticity Testing on high performance mixes.
Jenkins believes that the company is well positioned in a mid-sized city that is experiencing an above average growth rate. “Columbus, being the capital city with a large public university, drives a lot of growth,” he explains. “Geographically we are centrally located, which is logistically ideal for companies that need to ship across the country. Also, our city is attractive with sports, arts, festivals, music, a lively downtown, so many people feel Columbus is an exciting place to live. Our truck fleet is positioned to grow if work demand would make it necessary.”
“From a plant perspective, we have always had capabilities that greatly exceed any demand that we encounter,” Jenkins notes. “Operating five large central mixed plants that can produce 250 cubic yards per hour gives us enormous production capabilities; we rarely push all our plants at the same time. Our plants could probably handle 40-50 more trucks than we’re currently running. In fact, two decades ago, around 120 trucks were running out of the same plants.” Anderson Concrete also heavily invests in yearly maintenance and upgrading of its plants and equipment, he adds, to stay at the top of the industry.
“It makes me really proud to see all the projects we’ve been a part of over the years and then to think of all our employees past and present that have contributed to these projects and played a hand in growing Columbus to the city it is today,” observes Bill Anderson. Some landmark projects include the Columbus Crew Stadium, the Veterans Memorial & Museum, and the Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Inpatient Hospital.
THE NEXT CENTURY
The unique challenges of 2020 helped the company tap into its collective strength. Standing firm through a global pandemic, the producer’s vision is clear and its priorities are in order. As Anderson Concrete celebrates its centennial anniversary this year, the company says it is eager to start building for the next century “as a family business on a mission.”
“The ‘Anderson Concrete Family’ includes every person at Anderson Concrete, and it is that family that has made it possible to become 100 years old,” says Mike Anderson. It will be that valuable tenet that will continue to strengthen and grow Anderson Concrete for another 100 years.
Commitments to family, employees, customers and tradition, combined with astute management, have netted Anderson Concrete Corp. a rare level of continuity for a family owned business beyond the second generation. Founder Walter Earnest Anderson’s son, Ralph H. Anderson, brought three sons into the business: Richard (Dick) D. Anderson, David W. Anderson and Ralph W. (Andy) Anderson (third, fourth and sixth from left). They are joined here, from left, by Michael D. Anderson and Shawn Anderson (Dick’s son and grandson); Jessica P. Anderson (David’s daughter); and Douglas T. Anderson and William E. (Bill) Anderson (Ralph W.’s sons).