Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tie-in with ABC organization has many benefits

In business, as in life, it’s nice “to belong.” A lot of good can come from associations with like-minded people and organizations. With membership, Tucker Paving Inc. belongs to several organizations, including chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and trade groups. It also has a relationship — as a contractor of record on one or more past construction jobs — with almost every municipality in Polk County, the Polk County government, and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Among the company’s tie-ins is a membership with Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., or ABC for short. ABC is a national organization with affiliates in each state and chapters within each state. ABC of Florida has five chapters. Because we have a centralized base in Winter Haven and Polk County, and because our work takes us all over Central Florida (generally within an 80-mile radius of Winter Haven), Tucker Paving actually is a member of two ABC chapters, the Central Florida Chapter and the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

Founded in 1950 as a nonprofit trade association, ABC represents 22,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms nationwide. (ABC defines “merit shop” as a philosophy that encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.) ABC has three member categories — contractor, supplier, and associate members (professional service firms, such as lawyers, accountants, insurance agencies, and construction owners) — and members abide by an excellent eight-point code of ethics.

ABC is the only construction trade association that exclusively supports merit shop contractors, and it does engage in government lobbying on behalf of members at the national and state levels. As an example of that lobbying, in mid-February the national organization sent a letter urging appropriators in the U.S. House of Representatives to roll back several “job-killing government regulations.”

In addition to the major benefit of having the national and state organizations politically “watch our backs” in the construction industry, ABC provides members with many opportunities for education, political action, and business development. ABC membership also is an excellent way to expand business contacts, and ABC-hosted conventions, meetings, and seminars are almost always good for a good time amid the business- and trade-related activities. We do have some fun at these events.

ABC is a fine association. We at Tucker Paving have enjoyed our membership and have gotten a lot out of it — including a fair number of awards for our construction work. Those are always nice to receive.

On the Web: www.abc.org and www.abccentralflorida.com

Jose Lopez has enjoyed the learning opportunities during career with Tucker Paving

Jose Lopez didn’t find just a job at Tucker Paving Inc. He found a company that rewarded his hard work and ability to quickly soak up and then apply well a daily education in construction.

A native of Mexico, Jose began working for Tucker Paving 16 years ago.

“I started as a pipe layer,” he says. Promotions through the years made him an equipment operator, foreman, and superintendent. “And now I am a general superintendent,” he says.

Jose puts “training and learning new things every day” at the top of his list of most enjoyable aspects of his job with Tucker Paving. “It has given me many opportunities to learn, and I enjoy working with the people around me,” he says.

Jose wasn’t trained in construction in his native Mexico. He says he was trained at Tucker Paving.

“I didn’t imagine myself doing this job when I was in school,” he says.

Jose holds certifications in confined space operations and trench and excavation operations. Smith System Inc., a Texas-based safe-driving school for commercial and construction drivers and heavy equipment operators, also has certified him.

Jose is married and has five children. “I have a wonderful wife, four girls, and a baby boy,” he says.

He says that in his spare time, he enjoys playing with his children outside and going to church.

Tucker Paving helping to raise big new government parking garage in Bartow

You might have heard that downtown Bartow is getting a big new multilevel parking garage, primarily to serve employees and users of the Polk County Courthouse and the county’s Neil Combee Administration Building.

The parking garage was approved by the Polk County Commission last October, and the $8 million project was awarded to Hoar Construction out of Orlando. We’re pleased to mention here that Tucker Paving Inc. has a significant role in the project as a subcontractor. You might have seen some construction-related photos and videos on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tuckerpaving). Recently, a really good photo (courtesy of the Polk County government) showed our pipe crew hard at work.

The 679-space parking garage is being built on the north side of the courthouse and administration building, across West Church Street, and behind the former home of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Lawrence Crow Jr. Building, which fronts North Broadway Avenue.

Work on the parking garage officially began on Nov. 23. The timetable calls for completion in August. You can be sure that Tucker Paving will make every effort to finish its part of the project in good order and on time — if not ahead of schedule.

On the Web: A time-lapse project video and other information at http://ow.ly/YUuhL

Big CAT 336Es can move a lot of dirt in a hurry

Excavation work is one of the many services provided by Tucker Paving, Inc., and a few of the photos on our website show us using one or more huge machines to do it. These are CAT excavators, with CAT serving as shorthand for the famously yellow equipment made by the 91-year-old Caterpillar company.

These big CATs are fabulous machines and obviously help us to do our excavation and trenching work much more quickly and efficiently. One of the CATs, clearly marked as ours with “Tucker Paving” signage, is shown well — in a small valley it made — in a photo on our website home page. It’s a 336E L model, and we’d like to tell you a little bit about it.

The 336E is one of the later models in the 300 series of excavators that originated in the 1990s. (The 336E H, the industry’s first hydraulic hybrid excavator, is now on the market.) Caterpillar refers to the 336E, perhaps in understated fashion, as a “large hydraulic excavator.” The company boasts that it offers 12 percent greater engine power and five percent greater hydraulic lift capacity — with fuel consumption — than its predecessor, the 336D excavator. The 336E arm (one of several boom and stick options) has a longer reach than the 336D and includes several cab improvements to keep operators safe, comfortable, and productive.

The specifications state that the 336E has a net flywheel power of 300 horsepower and a gross power of 323 horsepower. Its operating weight is 86,200 pounds (43.1 U.S. tons), and its top speed on two tracks is whopping three miles per hour. What’s important is not how quickly this beast moves along the ground but how quickly it moves ground — and it moves a lot of dirt! Capacities include 168.3 gallons for the fuel tank (diesel fuel), 14.8 gallons for the cooling system, 100.4 gallons for the hydraulic system (including the 46.2-gallon hydraulic tank), and 8.1 gallons for the engine oil.

The 336E is powered by a Cat® C9.3 (ATAAC) engine. ATAAC alone could be the topic of blog post, but for brevity’s sake, we’ll share how Caterpillar describes the “air-to-air after cooler”: It’s “a single-pass, aluminum, heat exchanger or cooling system for the pressurized air coming from the turbocharger, before it enters the engine intake manifold. Cooling the pressurized air from the turbocharger increases the density of the engine’s intake air. The increase air density in the cylinders results in more power, improved combustion, and reduced exhaust emissions.” Cool!

This barely scratches the surface with details about the big CAT 336E. Suffice it to say we love it and the capabilities it gives us. We also love and appreciate our company’s skilled excavator operators. They’re so good, they make handling the 336E look like child’s play.