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Ferebee Corporation Reflects on 25 Years in Industry

Fri August 20, 2010 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Ferebee Corporation has been in business in Charlotte, N.C., for the last 25 years. Started in 1985 by two generations of the Ferebee family, Ferebee Corporation initially focused on various types of small concrete projects. Over the last two-and-a-half decades, the company has evolved into a major asphalt paving, concrete and utility contractor.

Each of the original Ferebees is still actively involved. Chris Ferebee serves as president, his brother David is the senior vice president, and their father Joe is the chairman. Additional management includes Lois Reynolds, vice president, and Carleton Powell, vice president, asphalt division.

The original employee list has grown from 15 to today’s total of 140. The company is licensed to perform work in both North and South Carolina. Primary areas of expertise are concrete paving, curb and gutter, underground utilities, stone base and asphalt paving and asphalt manufacturing. Company divisions include stone base paving, asphalt manufacturing, asphalt crushing and recycling, concrete and underground utilities.

When Ferebee first got into hot-mix asphalt (HMA) paving operations, it bought its hot-mix from other producers. It didn’t take long for it to realize that they needed to have its own production capability.

“It was a matter of getting things done on our own terms,” said Chris Ferebee. “We needed to have the hot-mix asphalt when we needed it, not when it was convenient for someone else.”

Currently, Ferebee Asphalt Corporation operates three Astec HMA facilities. They are located in Concord, Charlotte and Pineville, N.C., and were opened in 1999, 2004 and 2007 respectively. In 2008, Astec’s Double Barrel Green System was added to all three plants, making them “green.” The system does not require the addition of expensive commercial additives. Instead, water is injected into the mix along with the liquid asphalt cement. The water then causes the liquid asphalt to foam and expand in volume, which helps the liquid asphalt to coat the aggregate at a lower temperature.

The benefits of this eco-friendly system include no smoke or smell, improved workability, a high percentage of recycle mix with a standard grade of asphalt, a longer life pavement, the use of 14 percent less fuel and 14 percent higher production, according to the company.

In 2007, the company also entered the asphalt crushing and recycling business by adding a Kohlberg-Pioneer crushing plant to its operations. The company uses recycled materials in the asphalt it produces, and accepts clean, recycled asphalt at no charge.

Over the last several years, the company’s focus has changed a bit to deal with the economic situation.

“We have maintained business through the recession by pursuing more public work than we ordinarily would during a good economic trend,” said Carelton Powell, asphalt division manager.

“Typically, we primarily do private contracts. We have two operating divisions. One’s the asphalt division and the other is what we call the underground division. What’s happened in the last two years as the private market has started to shrink is that we’ve had to change our profile a bit in order to pursue projects within the public arena, such as for North Carolina DOT and the City of Charlotte. We really anticipated that this market was going to come down, and we shifted our focus over to public work, which now probably represents about 60 percent of the paving side, and we’re still at 90 percent on the underground side with public work. So the company overall is probably 75 percent public work right now.”

Some recent projects for Ferebee include resurfacing for the cities of Charlotte and Concord and the town of Huntersville; Toyota Racing Development; Perimeter Woods; Mooresville Commons; Cedar Walk; Rocky River Promenade; Lowes of South Charlotte; and Metropolitan at Midtown.

Powell noted that he is proud of the reputation that Ferebee Corporation has built over the years.

“We’re known for being a family-owned and operated company, and we’re fair,” he said. “We’re just people who love doing what we do.”

For more information, visit CEG

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