Trying to exchange for cash

News February 01, 2001
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Rich Rawdin is still playing his role from the dot

Rich Rawdin is still playing his role from the dot.com gold rush. Unfortunately, he's not a bank.


An Internet entrepreneur is perhaps a more appropriate title. Back in 1999, Rawdin, who at the time was vice president of finance at Crown Asphalt Products, Salt Lake City, Utah, envisioned a place where members of the asphalt industry could learn, share ideas and buy and sell products electronically. After putting together a business plan and showing it to Jeff Fishman, AsphaltExchange.com was on its way to joining the likes of e-STEEL and PaperExchange.com in the business-to-business Internet circuit.


"I loved the idea of e-STEEL and PaperExchange to have a central online vertical hub for the whole industry to come for information, to transact business. When I looked at those two a light just went on in my head. I said, 'Hey, if they can do it for paper and steel why not asphalt?'" Rawdin told ROADS & BRIDGES. "It just made a lot of sense to me. It still does."


Wall Street, however, went on to beat several dot.com companies senseless. Rawdin's days as a website opportunist may be numbered, AsphaltExchange.com is currently up for sale, but he still thinks the promise of such an idea is limitless.


"Even though Internet stocks have taken a pounding I believe the Internet and b-to-b's are here to stay," he said. "I believe within three to five years most businesses will be using the Internet as one of their primary business tools."


For more on the story, read the February issue of ROADS & BRIDGES.


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