TXAPA Pioneers APAC Texas, Inc.
It would be difficult to imagine the asphalt industry in Texas without the APAC companies. Either APAC or one of its forerunner companies has been on the asphalt scene in Texas for over a century since 1906 to be exact. Their lineage goes directly to Frederick J. Warren, who filed a patent for a bitulithic pavement, a mixture of bitumen and aggregate. The name of this new pavement, “bitulithic,” was coined from the Latin word bitumen meaning asphalt, and the Greek word lithos meaning stone. The company that Warren built from this patent, Warren Brothers, would spread across the country, including a location in Dallas, Texas.Several strategic acquisitions and consolidations would be made over the years to give APAC the sizable footprint that it has in Texas today. APAC was purchased by Oldcastle Materials in 2009. The APAC companies own 20 asphalt plants making them the largest owner of plants in the state. Today there are three distinct business units within APAC, each with its own division president. They are the Wheeler Companies, Texas Bitulithic and Trotti & Thomson.
The Wheeler Companies are the most recent addition to the APAC group consisting of Wheeler Coating in Austin and San Antonio, Ironhorse Asphalt and Texas Concrete Materials. The company has seven asphalt plants, ten concrete plants and has a full range construction division. Operating from Belton to San Antonio, the company is managed by Joe Naivar, president and Jack Wheeler as chairman. The company was founded by Jack Wheeler in 1982.
As mentioned above Texas Bitulithic was incorporated in Dallas in 1906 with their principal office in downtown Dallas. Two of the original five shareholders were the Warren brothers and all of the shareholders were from Massachusetts. They moved several times over the years before settling into their present location on Irving Blvd. in 1951, which was considered the outskirts of town at the time. The plant and shops were also located at that site.
In the first sixteen years of operation the company established five subsidiary companies in El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, Ft Worth and Dallas to further promote selling and laying asphalt pavements. The combined effect of the expiration of the Warren patent and the great depression forced the consolidation of these companies into Texas Bitulithic. The single exception was Gulf Bitulithic which continued to operate as a separate entity. In 1965, Warren reorganized the corporate structure of Texas Bitulithic and in 1966 Warren merged with Ashland Oil and Refining Company. Of course, today the company is operated as the Texas Bitulithic Division of APAC.
Steve Koonce serves as the division president of APAC-Texas Bitulithic. Steve joined the company in 1983 in Dallas after his graduation from Stephen F. Austin University. He worked in the Dallas operation for thirteen years and transferred to Beaumont in 1996 to manage the Trotti-Thomson division. In 2006, Steve moved back to Dallas in his present capacity as president. Kirk Morris serves as the area manager for the DFW area and is the company's representative to TXAPA.
Trotti and Thomson was founded in Beaumont in 1945 by Bill Trotti and Jess Thomson and quickly grew into the leading contractor in Southeast Texas. The company provides a full range of services such as grading, asphalt and concrete paving, structural concrete and bridge construction. Trotti & Thomson has worked on many prestigious projects such as the Galveston Seawall, the Port of Beaumont and the Motiva Refinery and has received numerous “Quality in Construction“ awards from TxDOT and operates three asphalt plants in the area. The company has been led by the division president Kal Kincaid since 2006. He was also the association's sitting president for the year 2011. Kal is a native of the Southeast Texas area. Born and raised in Lumberton, he was educated at Lamar University and began his career with TxDOT in their Silsby office. He joined APAC in 1991 as an estimator and reported to Kirk Randolph, who would later become president of APAC, Inc. Raymond Lane was the division president when Kal joined the company and it was Lane who influenced his thinking about TXAPA and increased his involvement.
For TXAPA, APAC's member companies have provided a windfall of participation over the years. Six presidents of the association have come from their ranks. They include W.B. Snellgrove in 1973, John Deatherage in 1977, Bobby Kemp in 1986, Raymond Lane in 1993, Steve Koonce in 2002 and 2011 president, Kal Kincaid. Participation in the association has been ingrained in APAC's culture dating back to the days when Joe Lee was the president of Texas Bitulithic. Kal's recent service is a testament to that mindset.
Kal recently shared some of his thoughts about TXAPA including the continuing mission, challenges and some observations about the association's strengths from the perspective he gained while president. One of his favorite aspects of TXAPA is the people. First and foremost, he likes the way people step up and take on new jobs and responsibility. “Our people,” he says, ”are knowledgeable and new blood keeps coming along, so the bar keeps getting raised.” Next he mentioned the incredible energy and dedication of the staff. It requires a great deal of focus for so few to accomplish so much. He also enjoys the partnership aspect of the job and admires the trust that has been created with TxDOT over the years.
Kal sees our mission of one of continuance. First as trusted partners and then, as educators. We must keep abreast of the rapidly emerging new technologies and educate our members and our partners. We must make well thought out decisions for our future. With regard to challenges, he states unequivocally that we cannot allow economic factors to diminish our focus on quality. With regard to his personal philosophy about TXAPA, he paraphrased one of his predecessors, Raymond Lane by saying “you get back what you put into it.” Now there is a message for all of us. Author's Note: Thanks to the management team of APAC for providing archives, pictures and to Oldcastle Company Publications for originally preparing this section for print.