Doing it Right… All the Time

Payne & Dolan

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As a third generation, family-owned construction and engineering company, Payne & Dolan Incorporated, a Walbec Group Company, has been serving the needs of its customers for eighty-five years. The majority of the company’s clients are private and commercial customers requiring infrastructure solutions, but the Payne & Dolan name is synonymous with municipal, state and federal projects as well.
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Reputations are built over time and founded on excellent customer service with a deep-rooted adherence to ethical behavior. It is the ethical behavior of a company that will influence its culture, morale, employee commitment and, perhaps more importantly, community respect. A solid reputation also offers a sustained competitive advantage.

Payne & Dolan Incorporated has gained a reputation in the industry and its community for delivering projects to complete customer satisfaction, guided largely by its ethical principles.

Headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Payne & Dolan has an extensive geographic reach not only in Wisconsin but throughout northern Michigan and Illinois with offices in all three states. It currently serves eleven other states, up from three only five years ago.

The Walbec Group family of five companies employs approximately 1,500 and offers customized construction and engineering solutions that include asphalt paving, aggregates, drilling and blasting and marine and dam work. This group also includes Northeast Asphalt, Zenith Tech, Premier Concrete and Construction Resources Management.

Northeast Asphalt has won numerous awards including the Sheldon G. Hayes Award from the National Asphalt Paving Association (NAPA) which is, “the highest asphalt paving award in the country,” says John Bartoszek, Payne & Dolan’s vice president of general contracting and engineering.

All companies within the Walbec Group are family-owned and have well-diversified focus areas to serve their customers’ needs. Payne & Dolan has the largest design-build contingent with a substantial base of professional civil engineers. Being part of Walbec Group’s collective team of professionals, “really makes us a strong vertically-integrated company because we can answer and do all facets of heavy civil construction and design,” says John. “Our primary core business is heavy highway construction and engineering.”

Together, the Walbec Group of independent companies helps employees, customers, and communities reach their destinations by combining their strengths in the construction industry to form a world-class organization. They take pride in working smart and safe to provide innovative, environmentally friendly solutions to the communities where they live and work. Payne & Dolan’s skilled, knowledgeable team can address any client challenge. Through the integration of its construction and civil design engineers, field superintendents and personnel, Payne & Dolan, “works together collectively to really understand how to build a job from the ground up … [staff] all have hands-on training throughout their careers here.”

The company also explores various design parameters out in the field to ensure that it is producing a design that allows the customer to realize the constructability of a project. Through this process, the company, “makes sure that the customer is getting something that went through the value chain in understanding that design and construction concepts are vetted well before we do that in the field,” says John.

A great team is built on respect, both for those within the Payne & Dolan team and those outside. Respect applies to everyone that has a working relationship with any company or industry – staff, customers, and suppliers. Speaking about their partnerships with suppliers, John affirms that, “we treat our suppliers like we like to be treated,” and this includes all sub-contractors affiliated with a project. “We promote respect. We make sure that everybody is treated equally. That works with us as well. This is a family of companies. That’s very important.”

Payne & Dolan wants to ensure that everyone works safely and go home to his or her family at the end of the day. It also wants individuals to see the industry as a promising career. “That’s one of the things that we really focus on, is giving someone a career – not just a job – so they really enjoy coming to work every day,” says John. “I think that’s one thing that has been paramount to our success as well.”

The company produces top quality construction materials – namely asphalt mix – and operates approximately one hundred mines throughout the Midwest as the source of its aggregates. State-qualified labs in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois ensure that the design process of the mix conforms to the best in quality assurance and control. The Payne & Dolan lab was Wisconsin’s first to receive the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) accreditation.

“We employ quality control technicians, scientists and engineers in the quality control department and have some of the most extensive testing facilities across the country,” explains John. The company also has leading edge design and testing equipment to supply the specific asphalt mix requirements of both its customers and other contractors. “We can ensure we are making a quality project product every day, and it’s tested.”

Environmental sustainability through recycling is a responsibility that Payne & Dolan does not take lightly. The company utilizes recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) to produce new hot-mix asphalt (HMA) products. Warm mix asphalt (WMA) technologies are garnering much attention in the paving industry for a number of reasons, most notably because of the lower temperatures (at least thirty percent lower than HMA) required to produce the asphalt.

This translates to reduced energy and fuel consumption demands. The company is considering using WMA technologies to coincide with its current HMA technologies. “Sustainability hits all aspects of everything we do,” says John, noting that asphalt is the greatest recycled material in the United States. “We’re one of the largest recyclers there are … We pursue environmentally solid methods when we’re doing our operations as well as our design,” he adds. “We want to be a good neighbor, to be really progressive [and] to make sure we’re answering the concerns that people may have.”

Corporate culture and inclusion are part of Payne & Dolan’s sustainability plans as well which usually leads to the adoption of innovative ideas. The company strives to acquire new individuals who have, “a passion for the community [and] to get out there and work with the trade associations that service us so well.”

John believes that the high schools need to promote the idea that there is a great career opportunity in the industry and that, “we do a lot of training of high school students coming in, to teach them how to be a technicians, laborers [and] operators out in the field, so we actually have training courses here,” he says. “Technical colleges are an unbelievably great resource out there. We’re very active with a lot of our two-year technical colleges and hire a lot of people from those as well.” What he wants the younger generation to know is that “construction isn’t that dirty job in the field anymore. It’s a phenomenal career, a high paying career.”

One recent project completed by the Walbec Group was for the Little Rapids Restoration Project, a design-build contract on Sugar Island located in upper Michigan. This project entailed the restoration of a portion of the Little Rapids on the St. Mary’s River which connects Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to Sugar Island, Michigan.

The Saint Mary’s River had been listed as an area of concern since 1987 because of the degradation of natural habitat and pollution. The restoration project was part of a plan to restore fifty to seventy acres of aquatic wetland and habitat to improve fish spawning areas and increase the numbers of game fish and species.

Two existing causeway culverts were removed and replaced with a six-hundred-foot bridge –constructed by Payne & Dolan – to help restore water flow to Little Rapids. “It eventually became a really important project to improve the habitat for the native species of fish,” says John. He also notes that the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, “basically identified that project as a very important project, and Payne & Dolan was lucky enough to be awarded the design-build concept for the project.”

Asked about what makes Payne & Dolan unique in the industry, John firmly replies that, “I think it’s really about ethics. It’s really important to us to make sure we’re doing the right things all of the time, not just some of the time.”

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