Paving company accepts "coffee cup challenge" on North Port, Fla. roads

February 16, 2017
Ajax projects they will finish two months early

Shortly after 2010, the streets of North Port, Fla. had fallen into severe disrepair—with increasingly costly maintenance.

On Nov. 6, 2012, a referendum passed authorizing the city to obtain a bond up to $46 million to upgrade substandard roads within three years.

The city promoted the project as the “Coffee Cup Test.” Once done, the city projected, citizens would be able to drive down neighborhood roads with a coffee cup in hand and not spill a drop.

One road repair team tasked with making North Port roads coffee cup worthy was Ajax Paving Industries of Florida LLC.

Founded 65 years ago by Herb Jacob, Ajax was selected for the job because of their long-term reputation for producing high-quality work. During his time at the helm, Jacob focused on machine selection, believing the philosophy that if he provided his employees with the best tools to get the job done, they would provide the highest quality pavement work for customers.

Now, it was time for that philosophy to be put to the test tackling the “coffee cup challenge.”

Under a hot Florida sun, the Ajax team is working on a milling and resurfacing project as part of the referendum. It is a 120,000-ton project and part of phase four of the six-phase project.

Sticking true to Herb Jacobs’ philosophy of providing the best tools for his employees, there are several high-quality machines helping Ajax get the job done, including a Volvo 7170 paver.

Dan Maitland, Equipment Operations Manager for Ajax, says the Volvo Million Ton Guarantee encouraged him to connect with the local Volvo dealership, Flagler Construction Equipment’s Southwest Florida branch, where Dean Bengford was ready to help and talk through reliability and performance.

Beyond cost of ownership, Maitland says preventive maintenance was crucial. “This thing cannot go down. We haven’t had any major issues, but even oil changes have to run smoothly—we rely on [Volvo dealer] Flagler to keep us up and running.”

And Maitland says they have done just that.

While the team members and machines have been keeping the job on track, it certainly has not been without its challenges.

Steve Ayers, Area Manager for Ajax said one challenge has been keeping the job progressing while giving the public access points from their homes, and Clay Collins says the Ultimat 200 screed is helping keep them moving.

“This is one of the industry’s true 20-ft extendable screeds, meaning we can do this whole street in one pass instead of two—saving time and money.”

Ajax is delivering ahead of its promise in part because it says partners like Bengford and Flagler do more than keep theirs, keeping the Ajax team equipped with the best tools and support for the job.

The time saved certainly added up, with Ajax projecting a two-month-ahead-of-schedule finish.

When North Port morning commuters take a sip of coffee without a spill this year, Herb Jacobs will be nodding in approval.  

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