Paving the way Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Master Entrepreneur

Back in 1972, J. Don Brock and four other men decided to start their own company. The group had previously worked together designing and manufacturing specialized asphalt production equipment, but they wanted their own company that would design, engineer, manufacture and sell a complete line of processing equipment for the hot-mix asphalt industry. With this vision, Astec Industries Inc. was born.

From the beginning, Brock and his co-founders wanted to do business with honesty and integrity. To keep this vow, they made a pact that under no circumstances would they copy a competitor’s equipment or hire local competitors’ employees. They also had to use each of their own net worth to secure financing.

At that time, there were seven major manufacturers of asphalt plants in the country, so competition in the United States alone was pretty stiff. Despite this tough field, in just five months of operation, the team sold four complete plants. Within those first five months, nearly 50 orders were received, and all of those orders demanded a new design. The team came out with equipment with advanced features, efficiency, automation, durability and attractiveness. During this period, Brock and his team were completely committed to doing whatever it took to succeed, so they worked seven days a week and 24 hours a day to service customers and complete orders.

Their hard work paid off, and the company’s reputation for creating and developing superior equipment was recognized throughout the United States as well as overseas. Last year, Astec’s sales for the year were nearly a billion — all from absolutely nothing in 1972. Today, Brock holds more than 100 patents on construction machinery and drying equipment that he personally developed. He’s also led the company through 12 acquisitions and currently serves as chairman and president of the company, which is also listed on the NASDAQ.

How to reach: Astec Industries Inc.,