If you ask Anthony Beato what he does for a living, the response might elicit scenes of a Georgia chain-gang.
“I turn big rocks into little rocks,” he says with a wry smile.
But he isn’t joking. Outside the window of his Ripon office Beato literally stares at piles of what used to be massive sections of concrete and asphalt and what they were pulverized into.
Sand. Aggregate. Materials that will ultimately end up being recycled into new concrete or asphalt or utilized in the base laid down on freeway sections and roadways as compacted stabilizing layer.
And as the operations manager for the California Rock Crusher Corporation – the Ripon-based business that has blossomed far beyond the confines of the Central Valley – he’s in charge of making sure that the specialized equipment that allows for on-site crushing stays humming.
So far he’s doing quite well at it.
Earlier this month the company sent five of its employees down to South Central Texas as the first step in expanding the blossoming operation even further. Inroads had already been carved into Nevada and Arizona, and it’s not uncommon to see the outfit’s bright red trucks in any one of a number of Bay Area or San Joaquin Valley hamlets.
The portable crushing business, as it turns out, is booming.
“The business was born and grown right here in Ripon,” Beato said. “And it’s getting bigger. We just recently moved into Arizona and Texas – using our own local crews for those jobs until we can hire and train locals.
“The only real difference between jobs is what the customer wants and setting the equipment up to deliver that. Knowing what to expect makes it a very easy task.”
The foray into the Lone Star State, however, is representative of a bigger and more complicated issue – especially when it comes to a business that, because it’s considered a mining operation, receives stringent government oversight.
Less than an hour after Texas Governor Rick Perry announced in Sacramento that his state would gladly throw their doors open to California businesses, Beato said the company was on the phone with his office to find out what, exactly, they could do to stake their claim in a relatively new frontier.
The decision, he said, to start operations in Texas was a relative no-brainer. Paperwork has already been filed to establish the Texas Rock Crusher Corporation, and eventually Beato says that an operations center would likely be needed to support the endeavor.
But none of that really plays into the day-to-day operation, or the expansion of the company that employs nearly 50 workers and has absolutely no plans of increasing that number anytime soon (additional bureaucratic red tape, Beato says).
It’s still all about the customer.
As a subcontractor to large entities tasked with handling massive projects – be it a freeway section reconstruction or a complete roadway overhaul – Cal Crush, as it’s referred to in advertisements and by employees, still needs to be able to provide the same crushing and hauling service that helped establish it as a major local business more than a decade ago.
While most people wouldn’t think of it that way, the company, Beato says, actually focuses on providing a sustainable environmental footprint with the services it offers – noise and occasional dust pollution notwithstanding.
Instead of having trucks haul out the massive piles of concrete to a crushing facility that could be as far as 20 miles away, Beato says that Cal Crush is able to offer that service on-site and eliminate unnecessary fuel costs and ultimately diesel emissions.
The tight crews, usually consisting of two or three men, set-up strategically to maximize efficiency and deliver a finished product that the customer is happy with.
It’s those men, Beato said, that get him out of bed every morning – and it’s those men that got him back to work after a major medical issue sidelined him for several weeks earlier this month.
“Nobody really thinks about the roads that they’re driving on or how they got there or what was used to make them, and knowing that we’re a part of that process is rewarding,” he said. “What keeps me going is the desire to keep the customers happy – to keep the families of our employees clothed and fed.
“When you get in so deep you have a sense of obligation to people, and that really drives you.”
Cal Crush is located at 339 Doak Boulevard in Ripon. For additional information call (209) 599-9941 or visit www.calcrush.com.
The company also has its own team of show-ready Clydesdales that are featured in local parades, fairs, non-profit organization fundraisers and marketing materials for the company. Much like other Clydesdale teams, they feature a pair of drivers on a cart – this one emblazoned with the company’s bright yellow, black and white logo. They’ve been featured at the annual Ripon Almond Blossom Parade.