By Marvin Joles III and Chris Tammany

I have to be honest, LinkedIn has been the Asphalt Industry “Hot-Spot” for me as of late. I pop in there daily to post and see what my constituents comment about my posts. My posts are often about something going on at BB. Sometimes about Wis-Coat, though it’s our off-season. I also share about my life on there. Things like my observations on being a father in today’s world, experiences in being a husband in a complicated world and philosophies on the individual, yet community oriented, journey… that most of us are on.

In my community, I have a friend who also uses LinkedIn and posts on that platform regularly, Chris Tammany. Chris is Owner and President at Petra Paving in New Hampshire. He is also an industry mentor that shares the ropes of this space to a lot of us that are still building their asphalt businesses and dealing with life in the process. We are thankful for that, at least I am.

Late last year Chris shared a post about a project they were hired for, to fix a depression in a driveway, a deep one. In the post Chris shared that the contractor who installed the base and driveway performed a “Stump Dump”. A process in which a contractor uses stumps, taken in the process of clearing the land, and uses them as filler in the base. Which using common sense, would tell us that those will degrade over time and cause air voids. Which will fill in with the aggregate meant as base… which will cause the permeable asphalt above to sink into the void and fail as well.

I asked Chris to come on the Blacktop Banter Podcast to talk about the post, his thoughts, and implications of the “Stump Dump”. The following section of this articles are parts of that conversation.

Marvin: “Why would somebody do this?”

Chris: “The contractor knew that doing this, it would pass the buck on to somebody down the line. That being the homeowner at the failure point.”
Marvin: “But that does two things, causes a bad driveway, but also causes us as contractors to have a bad image and a harder time getting customers to trust us.”

Chris: “That’s right. It also makes them hesitant to spend the actual money it takes to make it right or do it right the next time, because they are gun-shy about if they are going to actually get what they pay for this time. We can do all the marketing in the world and comfort them all we can about trusting us to do it right, and they might, but there is no question that when they go through an experience like this, that it makes the whole process with the client more difficult for the guys like you and I.”

Marvin: “Well we see it on the maintenance and paving side too, right? Watered down sealer, 1” asphalt at the end of the driveway or throughout. When we deal with clients who have experienced that, it’s even harder because that is right in our services offered list. How do we begin to make this right then Chris? How do we change the surface thing of the asphalt failing but also change the deeper problem of a negative image about contractors overall?”

Chris: “The answer is to always DO THE RIGHT THING. If we do the right thing from the beginning, it eliminates both of those problems. As a byproduct of that, we have confident customers, who trust their contractors and are likely more willing to pay the actual price it takes to do the job correctly. Which means everybody wins.”

I think that is the perfect way to end the article. It applies not only to our services we provide in the industry, but to our lives. How many times do we shortcut the most important things in our lives to “check the box”? How many times should we go above and beyond in the certain aspects of our lives where it may look like we did the job, but created voids underneath that we must deal with later on? My friend Chris left me much to ponder after this conversation and left me curious what his next post on LinkedIn will stir in my mind, in my heart, and what nugget of experience and enlightenment I will gain from it.

Marvin Joles III, Owner of Wis-Coat Asphalt Maintenance and host of Blacktop Banter podcast. You can listen to and watch Blacktop Banter podcasts by visiting