There are few things more ubiquitous in construction than concrete and aggregates. Those common elements puts the Staker Parson Cos. in a unique position when it comes to building in the western states. In addition to working as a general paving contractor, Staker Parson, headquartered in Ogden, Utah, is also a leading supplier of sand, gravel, ready-mixed concrete and asphalt to the regional building industry.
Staker Parson Cos.' roots stem from the 2001 merger of Staker Paving and Construction Co. and Jack B. Parson Cos. Both were Utah-based, family-owned businesses with decades of experience that joined the Oldcastle Materials Group in the mid-1990s.
For the past three years, Staker Parson has been among the top five contractors in ENR Mountain States’ annual GC rankings, landing at No. 3 in 2013 and No. 4 in 2014. This year, the company was again in the No. 4 spot, with reported total 2014 revenues of $296.5 million.
“Our business succeeds because of great customers and great employees. Those two groups have really made it possible for us to be where we are today,” says Scott Parson. He grew up in the family business as the grandson of founder Jack. B. Parson and succeeded his brother John as president in 2008.
Founded on Experience
Stuart, Val and Gordon Staker founded Staker Paving and Construction in Salt Lake City in 1962, and it quickly grew to become the largest producer and placer of asphalt paving in the state. Oldcastle purchased Staker in 1995.
Jack. B. Parson founded his namesake company in 1952 after years of working on road projects with his father. Based in Smithfield, Utah, the company produced aggregate, asphalt and concrete while performing heavy/highway construction and paving. The company grew and purchased operations in Idaho, beginning in the 1970s with the acquisition of Bannock Paving and, later, Idaho Sand and Gravel, before becoming part of Oldcastle in 1996.
The Staker Paving and Jack B. Parson companies operated independently as Oldcastle subsidiaries until they merged in 2001. Staker Parson now operates in 50 locations across Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona and includes the following firms: Idaho Materials and Construction, Burdick Materials, Hales Sand and Gravel, Western Rock Products, International Stone, and Reynolds Excavation, Demolition and Utilities.
“Our strategy and Oldcastle’s strategy has been to grow to take care of our customers wherever they’re working,” says Parson.
Each company within Staker Parson operates with its own managers and sales staff responsible for pursuing business in that location. “I try to give full accountability to our managers for their business,” Parson says. “If you want someone responsible for the bottom line, you have to make them responsible for the top [line], too. It allows our people to be more entrepreneurial.”
Michael Kurz is president of Staker Parson’s southern region, encompassing operations from Davis County in northern Utah to northern Arizona and Elko, Nev. He has worked for the company since its early days, starting as a laborer for Staker Paving in 1979. He says the company has retained its “family-owned” quality.
“We are larger now, but we still operate like a family business,” Kurz says. “When we’ve bought other companies, they are usually ones where a family has built a brand and a reputation. We’ll retain the local management. We have more resources for customers, but we still have the feeling of a family business. I think that has been a big part of our success.”
Parson says that while there are companies with varying specialties working under the Staker Parson name, at its core the company is an aggregate supplier, and the other operations “add value” to that core business. “With the construction arms of the business, we are able to draw those aggregates into projects,” he says. “When we look at a job, we’ll look at how much we can self-perform. We might pursue a job as the general contractor or we might bid for the materials and work as a subcontractor.”
He says that each job requires some careful consideration to avoid damaging relationships. “We do almost no placement of ready-mix or structures because we don’t want to compete with our customers,” he adds. “But we strive to be very flexible and do whatever is most valuable for our customer.”
That flexibility has paid off, as some projects, particularly those for the Utah Dept. of Transportation, have become more complex and require more structural work. In order to secure the company’s largest current UDOT contract, the $252-million Point project, Staker Parson reactivated Utah County Constructors, a joint venture with Draper-based Wadsworth Brothers.
The team had collaborated in 2011 on a design-build widening, resurfacing and bridge replacement for UDOT near the Utah County town of Springville. The Point, also a design-build project, includes the widening and repaving of seven miles of the notoriously congested Interstate 15, from Lehi in Utah County to Draper in Salt Lake County, as well as bridge replacement and new utilities. It is scheduled for completion in fall 2016.