More than three years after its $298-million acquisition by construction services provider Arcosa Inc., Houston-based recycling and demolition specialist Cherry Cos. is gradually rebranding itself as Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling. Such moves can sometimes disrupt long-standing links with customers and colleagues, not to mention internal cultures.

But as Ivan Svec, company president, promised in a letter to clients earlier this year, even though the 71-year-old company’s name may be different, “we still provide the same quality products and services you’ve come to expect.”

Also apparently unchanged is the company’s sustained growth trend, fueled in large part by demand for natural and recycled aggregate to support the Houston area’s economic growth amid a rise in major infrastructure projects. Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling reported nearly $197 million in revenue last year, a 10% increase over 2021’s performance when it placed 177th on ENR’s national ranking of the Top 600 Specialty Contractors.

The strong business performance contributed to the company’s selection by ENR’s editors as the Texas & Louisiana region’s Specialty Contractor of the Year, its second such honor in the past four years. Although officials of Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling and its parent company declined to participate in the reporting for this story, published information and corporate profiles provide insights into what made the private, family-owned Cherry Cos. a mainstay in the region’s construction and demolition market and its role going forward as part of the larger Arcosa organization.

recycled aggregates

Arcosa's purchase of Cherry Cos. gave the firm an immediate leadership position in recycled aggregates.
Photo courtesy of Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling

Sixty-Plus Years of Service

Founded in 1952 to provide residential moving services, Cherry Cos. gradually expanded into the demolition of petrochemical and power facilities, commercial buildings and infrastructure. By 2019, the company operated 12 sites in the greater Houston area, annually recycling 2 million tons of concrete, 30,000 tons of asphalt and 50,000 tons of steel.

Several factors made Cherry Cos. an attractive acquisition target for Dallas-based Arcosa, which comprises the former infrastructure businesses of industrial services giant Trinity Industries. Following its formation in 2018, Arcosa purchased four other aggregate and specialty materials companies as part of a strategy coupling geographic expansion with a portfolio shift to construction products.

According to a December 2019 Arcosa investor presentation, acquisition of Cherry Cos.’ Houston presence would provide a more convenient and economical way to serve what the report called “a market with healthy population growth, major highway investments and positive private demand drivers.”

Arcosa would also benefit from Cherry Cos.’ standing as one of the nation’s largest providers of recycled aggregates, an increasingly important product sought by transportation agencies and renewable energy developers for their projects. Antonio Carrillo, Arcosa Inc. president and CEO, said in a December 2019 statement formally announcing the acquisition that Cherry Cos. “gives us an immediate leadership position in recycled aggregates” as well as a unique business model that can be replicated in other regions.

safety initiatives

The firm's safety initiatives have repeatedly garnered local and national recognition.
Photo courtesy of Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling

Blending Old and New

Though now part of a larger, publicly traded corporation, it’s no surprise that Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling has retained a culture cultivated under years of family ownership. As Cherry Cos.’ then-president Leonard Cherry noted when the acquisition was finalized, Arcosa “represents an excellent cultural and strategic fit for our employees and our business.”

“We are fortunate to have built a lasting reputation as Cherry and intend to maintain the high standards of safety and service our customers have come to expect from us.”
—Ivan Svec, President, Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling

A long-standing priority is safety, with an employee-centric committee overseeing training and incentive programs that recognize both individuals and locations. These efforts have repeatedly garnered local and national recognition. This year’s honors include safety awards from the Houston Contractors Association, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association.

A new frontline employee safety initiative is ARC100, which stands for “Advocating Real Change, 100% Involved, Committed, Safe.” The program aims to expand opportunities for employees to identify and develop new safety processes. Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling’s social media recently detailed a three-day ARC100 train-the-facilitator workshop at Arcosa Inc.’s Tulsa Wind Towers facility that brought together safety steering team (SST) members from several operating divisions.

Community involvement likewise remains an important part of Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling’s culture. Earlier this year, employees decorated, stuffed and delivered more than 350 lunch bags for Kids’ Meals Inc., an organization dedicated to ending food scarcity among Houston’s neediest children.

Arcosa products

As the nation's second-fastest growing city, Houston should provide continued demand for Arcosa products and services.
Photo courtesy of Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling

What's Next?

The combination of Houston’s standing as the nation’s second-fastest growing city, increased state and federal infrastructure spending and renewable energy initiatives across Texas would appear to provide continued strong demand for Arcosa Stabilized & Recycling’s products and services. One indicator can be found in Arcosa Inc.’s second-quarter 2023 financial report, which credits “higher pricing and volume growth in our recycled aggregates business” for helping build an 8% revenue increase in the company’s construction products operating division.

And there’s more to come. As Svec noted in an interview earlier this year, “We are fortunate to have built a lasting reputation as Cherry and intend to maintain the high standards of safety and service our customers have come to expect from us.”