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Suit-Kote Celebrates 85 Years in Business, Still Going Strong

Thu March 22, 2007 - Northeast Edition
CEG



Suit-Kote’s 85-year history begins in 1921 when Harry J. Suits Sr., the father of the current chairman, Frank H. Suits Sr., joined forces with two friends to form a road construction company named Bolton, Suits and Gibbs.

After two of the partners retired, Suits continued to grow the business, taking a brief hiatus to assist the United States government by providing essential WWII wartime services to the construction of the Sampson Naval Base located in Romulus, N.Y.

Following WWII, Suits expanded his Watkins Glen asphalt operation to include the New Hartford, N.Y. market. During this era, the company was renamed Central Asphalt and provided a wide range of services that primarily focused on paving roads and distributing liquid asphalt products to counties, towns and villages — much like it does today.

In the mid-1950s, Central Asphalt continued to prosper under Suit’s leadership, expanding further into New York’s southern tier — Binghamton — marketplace by erecting its first blacktop plant.

In 1958, Suits died leaving behind a legacy and a successful family business to his two sons, Harry “Bud” Jr. and Frank H. Sr.

The company continued its managed growth and in 1961 Frank decided to take on a new challenge and moved to Cortland, N.Y. with his wife Elizabeth, where they started a new asphalt business named Cortland Asphalt Products. Bud remained in his role as president of Central Asphalt while Frank assumed the same role with his new firm.

Still operating on a somewhat modest scale, the Suits decided to assist development and innovation of the asphalt industry in New York by becoming a licensee of the K.E. McConnaughay Company of West Lafayette, Ind., a recognized authority in the development of improved asphalt products.

In 1980, the Suits’ asphalt business that was created in 1921 was now growing at a much quicker rate and it seemed like the right time to place all the Suits’ family interests under one name, thus Suit-Kote Corporation was born.

Today, the family tradition continues into its third generation with Frank Suites Sr. as chairman of the board and his sons Frank Jr. and Paul as corporate president and vice president, respectively. They are responsible for the operation of more than 15 facilities located throughout New York State and northern Pennsylvania.

Under the leadership of Frank Jr. and Paul, Suit-Kote has approximately doubled in size and scope. Since this transition took place, the company has added an asphalt terminal, a railroad spur, three new facilities as well as many other physical plant and equipment upgrades.

Although the corporate vision for the future has evolved and expanded, the Suits have stayed true to their mission of treating every employee like a member of their own family. This respect and admiration for the individual can be easily illustrated by a mere 1 percent employee turnover ratio.

This family approach is one of the guiding principles that has enabled Suit-Kote to become one of the top companies in the industry. It also enabled them to sustain its success.

To enhance its focus on product quality and development, Suit-Kote acquired McConnaughay Technologies. This move was to keep Suit-Kote on the cutting edge of innovation and technological advancement in the asphalt industry. It also provided them with the necessary engineers, chemists and technical “know-how” needed to achieve full vertical integration in the asphalt industry.

Today, Suit-Kote employs more than 600 skilled individuals that make up the Suit-Kote “family.” Building on two generations of traditions, Frank Jr. and Paul are committed not only to reinvesting in the company, but in its people as well.