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Border States Paving


In the paving business, there’s no substitute for doing the job right. A company may have all the most advanced equipment, multiple locations studded throughout the region and virtually limitless financial backing, but if it doesn’t perform up to the customer’s standards, it can’t expect to be around for too long. Getting the job done right and paving with a high degree of quality requires having the right people in place who are dedicated to their work and value building a strong reputation for their company.

Having the right people is one of the primary reasons Border States Paving has been as successful as it has been throughout the last four decades. Even though the company is not as large as some of the firms it competes with in the northern region of the country, owner Nancy Slotten says Border States has earned a reputation as one of the top paving companies in the marketplace. She says that is due in large part to the company’s unwavering commitment to working closely with its customers, retaining the best employees and committing to get the job done right.

The company was founded by Slotten’s father in 1967, and at the time concentrated mainly on paving parking lot projects throughout Minnesota. In time, however, the company expanded its focus geographically and in terms of the services it offered. Today, Border States Paving works primarily in North Dakota and South Dakota, with some work in western Minnesota, eastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming. In addition to standard asphalt paving and concrete flatwork, the company’s capabilities include curb and gutter, gravel and base, site work, black dirt and fill material, trucking, seal coating, joint routing, crack sealing, and parking lot sweeping and striping services.

Strong Work Force

Having a broad base of capabilities is one of the chief advantages Border States has in the marketplace, and it’s an essential one because of the crowded condition of the region at the mo­ment. “I would say there’s plenty of competition,” President Dan Thompson says, explaining that the weak economy has driven other companies from Minnesota and neighboring states into Border States’ territory as they look for work.

Another advantage Border States Paving is armed with in these highly competitive times is the quality of the company’s work force. Slotten says the company is blessed with a large number of long-term employees who bring years of experience to every project. She says a significant number of the company’s employees have been working there for 15 to 20 years. Thompson adds that the company’s approach to employee retention is a simple one – not only does Border States Paving ensure that employees receive competitive pay and benefits, but it also works to treat every employee equally.

Because the company’s employees are experienced and satisfied, they put forth the best effort on every job, which leads to happy custo­mers, Thompson says. “We try to work for a high quality and keep a good reputation in our mun­icipal work and with our engineers,” he says.

Stimulus Status

Maintaining a good reputation is more im­p­or­tant than ever these days, as the northern states continue to struggle their way out of the recession with the rest of the country. The amount of private commercial work out there is still dangerously low, but Slotten says the federal stimulus bill has done something to keep companies like Border States busy. “I wouldn’t call it extra work, but I think the program would have been way down without it,” she says.

On the other hand, however, the federal government also provides Border States with some of its biggest challenges. Thompson says keeping up with ever-changing environmental and Department of Transportation regulations can be difficult, especially during periods such as this. For example, Thompson says a pending federal regulation that would reduce the number of hours truckers can drive each day from 11 to 10 is something the company is watching closely. “In our short year, that can be significant in itself,” he says.

Additionally, Slotten says Border States Paving is concerned with the amount of federal funding that will be allocated for infrastructure projects once the stimulus money runs out. “Our biggest challenge is going to be the highway funding and what the feds are going to do with the highway funding,” she says.

Nevertheless, Slotten and Thompson say the key to Border States Paving’s continued success will be a steady focus on the attributes that have made it a strong company today.

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