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Record repair year boosted by new multicultural crew

Miguel Talavera joined Black-Top Paving just in time for its busiest year ever.

And he and his team had a lot to do with that.

Talavera and five others served as the first concrete repair and replacement team for Black-Top, which is a division of Sioux Falls-based Journey Group.

“I love working at Journey,” said Talavera, who moved to the U.S. from Mexico almost five years ago and came to Sioux Falls to work in the construction industry.

“There are a lot of things I like at Journey,” he continued. “I like the people. I like how they care about safety and take care of people. I feel fortunate because I can go to work happy. I can come back home happy. It’s a very good company.”

Black-Top leaders and clients are happy with the new addition too.

In the past, concrete work required hiring subcontractors – a process that could be tough to schedule and coordinate. With an in-house team, Black-Top is able to offer concrete, crack sealing and seal coating to simplify repair and maintenance.

“The crew stayed busy all year,” Black-Top division manager Ryan Kerkvliet said. “It was a major initiative for us this year. It was very apparent with our own concrete crew that control of the schedule became a lot easier, and I think our customers appreciated that.”

Lloyd Cos., which used Black-Top for concrete work at its commercial properties, raved about the experience.

“I highly recommend Black-Top,” said Jaime Scherer, Lloyd’s commercial regional manager. “Ryan Kerkvliet has been thorough and provided detailed information for the parking lots within our portfolio. He spent a great deal of time preparing a base line for the many properties we manage, so we are able to budget accordingly in the future.”

Black-Top hopes to help clients set schedules for ongoing repair and maintenance, so their asphalt and concrete is well-maintained, meets city requirements and repair work doesn’t cost more in the long run, Kerkvliet said.

“Similar to a vehicle, routine maintenance needs to be performed to avoid larger costs down the road. We now do crack sealing in-house, we have a subcontractor who follows us and does seal coating and one that stripes for us. So we can provide the full service.”

As the first paving contractor in Sioux Falls, Black-Top has served the community since the 1950s. Asphalt work is still the majority of its business, and 2019 was no exception.

“We’ve done about 150 jobs, ranging from 11 miles of highway paving near Canton to small, $500 parking lot patches,” Kerkvliet said.

“We’re capable of doing different scopes of work, but asphalt is still the meat and potatoes of the division.”

Supporting the busy year plus its new offerings also meant cultivating a multicultural team. Talavera, whose first language is Spanish, reached out to several others he knew in the field to join Black-Top.

“We hired several guys who speak Spanish, and I speak Spanish with them and speak English with my supervisor,” he said. “My supervisor can speak Spanish, but he speaks English with me because I want to learn.”

He sees opportunity at Black-Top to grow his career, he added.

“I started as a finisher for concrete, but I came with leadership experience, and they gave me an opportunity to lead a team,” he said. “If they see you have the right skills and are coachable, they will give you opportunities for growth.”

It has been a good fit on both sides, Kerkvliet said.

“Miguel loves working here and is a great fit for our culture,” he said. “He helped us build our crew. We literally started with no one, and we get a guy like Miguel in, and he knew a few guys, and knowing how he was a cultural fit, we were comfortable he could help build the right kind of team around him.”

This year looks like another busy one already, with some work carrying over from 2019 because of unfavorable weather.

“We do have projects already, so the more new work that we can evaluate and bid when it’s a little slower time of year, the better off we are,” Kerkvliet said.

“If businesses are considering having work done in 2020, we encourage them to reach out as soon as possible. Sometimes, we can evaluate a site during the winter when the weather cooperates, or even if we can’t, we can at least get them on the list, so come spring we know we need to go take a look.”

The goal is to continue growing Black-Top’s full-service approach to taking care of customers’ paving needs, he added.

“Think of us like the superstore of construction in terms of site maintenance,” he said. “We come in, evaluate it and schedule the work that needs to be done, so our customers don’t have to do any more than call us. We do a lot of the work in-house, and if we can’t, we’ll get the subcontractor. So we’re a one-stop shop to make it easier for property owners and management companies. We’re looking forward to another great year.”

Here’s a look at all the services Black-Top offers. To reach the business, call 605-336-9512 or click here to request a quote online.

Parking lot maintenance and repair

  • Asphalt
  • Pothole repair
  • Patching
  • Overlay
  • Crack sealing
  • Seal coating
  • Striping
  • Concrete
  • Curb and gutter
  • Sidewalks
  • Valley gutters
  • Approaches
  • Catch basins
  • ADA compliance

Private streets and roads

  • New construction
  • Gravel
  • Grading
  • Material hauling
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Potholes
  • Crack sealing
  • Curb and gutter
  • Sidewalks
  • Valley gutters
  • Approaches
  • Catch basins
  • ADA compliance

New construction

  • Parking lots
  • Roads
  • Gravel
  • Grading
  • Material hauling
  • Driveways

 - Jodi Schwan - https://siouxfalls.business/record-repair-year-boosted-by-new-multicultural-crew/