A Q&A with Maintenance Inc’s seasoned leadership.
By Brad Eagle & Mark McLeod
Perhaps you’ve been needing to upgrade a piece of equipment or hire a salesman. Maybe you’re just looking to try out some of the new products out there on the market. No matter what the reason — if you’re thinking of making moves in your business, 2023 could be your year.
But more than ever, being wise with your capital can mean the difference between stacking orders and having to sell off equipment to make ends meet. To get an idea of what the rest of the year may look like for our industry, we sat down with Maintenance Inc’s President, CEO and 2023 Pavement Hall of Fame Inductee Mark McLeod and National Sales Manager Brad Eagle to get their thoughts and insights for the 2023 season. Maintenance Inc. has a longstanding reputation as one of the industry’s top manufacturers of pavement maintenance products and accessories, including asphalt coatings, recreational surfacing, concrete and crack sealing and repair.
Allied Paving Equipment: Brad, what is your perspective on where the pavement maintenance industry is headed in 2023?
Brad Eagle: Well, by the order patterns we have been experiencing, the pandemic hangover is pretty well over! In 2021–22, contractors suffered as suppliers tried to fill orders, and it became a chore to meet their needs. We at Maintenance Inc. were very fortunate to retain about all of our main contractors because we stocked up on items that we knew could possibly run short in season.
Mark McLeod, our President & CEO, and I discussed this at length in 2020–21. We made a list of products we could grab that were available at that time. We put in advanced orders for tools, blowers, melters, spray unit parts, hoses, tips and raw materials for our paints and additives, Gator Patch and Trowel Grade patch.
APE: Do you think that contractor order patterns will stay brisk or taper down after the season begins?
BE: Contractors only had to call a few suppliers to see that all suppliers had issues with incoming products and services or were just sold out. That alone caused panic buying on the contractors’ side. I would get an order for a dozen asphalt lutes, two dozen shovels, a dozen of this and that. They were afraid of not getting the tools and accessories they needed to do the job.
Today, things are almost back to normal as far as ordering. We are not having to ration paints, parts or tools so far. So keep your fingers crossed!
APE: Mark, what do you think is going to be the primary issue for pavement maintenance contractors this season?
Mark McLeod: Labor will be an issue for sure this season. If you look at how many young men and women are not in the workforce today, that is a sign that we need more education and ways to instill pride in their jobs.
APE: So you think the labor shortage is going to be one of the biggest issues in the industry this year?
MM: I do. Successful professional pavement maintenance contractors I know tell me that their success stems from the returning of their seasoned veteran crew leaders and drivers that are paramount to their business. When crew leaders and drivers don’t return, the effect trickles down to all parts of one’s business.
I personally have seen so many 1,500- gallon spray rigs come up for sale because there are limited CDL drivers available. Supply chains typically scoop up CDL drivers for over-the-road. Our ABLE 1,000-gallon spray rigs seem to be the contractors’ choice lately, as they don’t need a CDL on lighter weighted load hauls with the 1,000- vs. 1,500-gallon spray rigs.
APE: Maintenance Inc. just celebrated 85 years servicing the pavement maintenance industry. You have many proven products that have been used in the industry for decades. Are there any new products that contractors should be aware of?
MM: I am proud to be part of a team that strives for fresh new products to introduce to the different markets that help pavement maintenance contractors worldwide. Two years ago, we introduced our cold pour Lastek HyFlex Crack Sealant. Last year we introduced Trowel Grade patch. This year we are excited to introduce our RUBBERFLO cold pour crack sealant which exhibits “mega-stretch” qualities that are not found in any other cold pours.
APE: As always, thank you for your insights into the industry. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap things up?
MM: Maintenance Inc. would not be where it is today without the dedication and professionalism of our team of employees. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for supporting us as we help support contractors in the pavement maintenance industry.
For 85 years, Maintenance Inc. has helped the nation’s contractors stay stocked and ready for any job that comes their way. Through its distributors worldwide, it provides the contractor-proven products and equipment needed to get the job done right!