Wayne Beaver, in partnership with his wife Susan, owns Denali Investments Inc.
For more than 200 years, the bedrock of American business has been the small entrepreneur, the man or woman who has an idea and through sheer hard work turns that idea into a business that both serves the community and is a financial success.
That indomitable spirit is exemplified in the duo of Wayne and Susan Beaver, a husband and wife team in business in the largely rural area of north-central Florida between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Together, the Beavers own a pair of lime rock mines near the banks of the famous Suwanee River, which they operate through their company, Denali Investments Inc.
Started in 1999, Denali is a small but well-respected outfit that pulls base rock out of the mines that is later sold to road contractors and DOTs in Florida and Georgia for use in road construction. With only 12 to 15 employees, the Beavers have managed to establish their firm as a local powerhouse, known almost as much for their excellent service and natural integrity as for their rock quality.
“They pride themselves on being common, north Florida working folks who are very honest and straight-forward with the people they deal with,” explained Mitch Blanton, a salesman with Linder Industrial Machinery Co. in Florida, who has worked with the Beavers for almost 12 years. “They came from humble beginnings but have built their business through their work ethic and by being sincere and soft-spoken people.”
Linder Industrial Machinery has supplied Denali with a number of Komatsu machines over the years. Blanton, along with Terry Basham, Linder’s product support representative, has worked hard to make sure that the Beavers have everything they need to succeed.
“Linder’s support, including Terry and Mitch, is probably the main reason why I prefer to use Komatsu,” said Wayne Beaver from Denali’s main office in Live Oak, Fla.. “Since day one, Terry has made it a point to regularly come by and ask us what we need to do our job. Every now and then over the years we will have a problem here and there with a piece of equipment and Linder has always looked out for us. Anytime you have something wrong, you can call and they are here the next day.”
Beaver currently has between 15 and 20 Komatsu pieces in use at his two mines, located in the nearby small towns of O’Brien and Branford., Fla. Among the Komatsu equipment hard at work are excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders and off-road trucks — essentially everything a mine operator would need.
“When we bought the first little mine, the previous owner had about 80 percent Komatsu equipment, so we decided we would just see how the Komatsu would do,” Beaver said. “After a while, you begin to learn who is more willing to help you when you have a problem and Komatsu has really proven themselves by bending over backwards to help us. We have been really happy with that equipment.”
Native to north Florida, lime rock is used as a road and structure base rock all over the area, as well as in southern Georgia. Denali’s rock is used on all types of roadways throughout the area, including both I-75, the main north-south thoroughfare in the area, and I-10, which is the main connector between Jacksonville and the Florida Panhandle.
Having made their name in the trucking business, the Beavers purchased Denali from another owner 12 years ago in order to expand their interests from just hauling rock to mining it, as well.
Wayne Beaver’s father started a rock hauling business more than 50 years ago before moving the operation to Live Oak in 1960. Likewise, Wayne got his start with his own company, Beaver Bulk Trucking. When he acquired Denali, he turned the operation of the trucking company over to his wife, Susan, so that he could concentrate on running the mining firm.
“We found that there are other companies that have control of most of the rock mines further south,” Beaver explained. “Because of that, we couldn’t get a job anywhere. So, after sitting here wondering how we could get in on that, we decided to get access to our own rock mine and dig out the rock ourselves.”
The result was that they were able to go after different jobs much more easily, Beaver said.
Within the last two years, because the rock is so hard there, the O’Brien mine has been converted into a wash plant with a screener and a crusher in use, he said. From that operation, Beaver sells to ready-mix plants and to people who want driveway rock. Another by-product of that mine is lime that many farmers in the area use to spread on their fields to neutralize the soil.
Beaver’s low-key personality has made him much respected in Florida’s highly competitive base rock mining industry. That reputation, along with the support he has received from those he works with, has helped his operation weather the recent economic downturn.
“My feeling has always been that you need to be there with people on the job, working with them,” he said. “People respect you more when you are getting your hands dirty with them.”
With 16 locations in key cities throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, Linder represents Komatsu construction products; Wirtgen milling machines; Vogele pavers; Hamm compaction products; Kleemann crushing products; Genesis demolition and scrap attachments; Exodus scrap handlers, Allied Construction Products, Esco, Hensley and Superior Brooms. For more information on Linder Industrial Machinery or any of these products, please visit www.linderco.com or www.facebook.com/linderindustrialmachinery. CEG