“Celebrity” and “paving contractor” are not words you often see in the same sentence, unless you’re talking about American Pavement Specialists based in Danbury, Connecticut.
“Good morning, world of asphalt!”
Followers of American Pavement Specialists’ social media videos, know that greeting well. Bill Stanley, company co-owner, often kicks off his video presentations with the phrase, as he discusses the upcoming paving job.
Audiences are drawn to his humorous, tell-it-like-it-is style and his obvious passion for the work, which he’s been doing for the past 50 years.
American Pavement Specialists is not a big corporation with hundreds of employees paving roads all over the country. Bill and wife Colleen Stanley run the company in their hometown and surrounding area with 20 employees, including three of their sons, and a fleet of the latest equipment.
But their viral videos on Instagram, YouTube and other social media have catapulted them to nationwide acclaim, leading them to serve as ambassadors and consultants for major paving equipment manufacturers and being watched by millions of viewers. Their son Matt, often the one behind the camera, has gained a following through his Raised on Blacktop brand.
They are also one of 12 finalists for Equipment World’s 2023 Contractor of the Year award.
In the video above, Bill and Colleen discuss their local paving business, how its grown and the powerful effect of social media.
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Bill Stanley (00:05):
My filing cabinet is a CRAFTSMAN toolbox. So this is who we are. Believe it or not, all my important documents are right in here, and this is my desk. And it's made by CRAFTSMAN. So I don't have a wood mahogany desk with a bottle of bourbon underneath the cabinet. That's not us. And this is the table right here. This is our table. This is the way we do it right here. It's cool, right? So this is our hometown vibe.
We built a small local business with a very strong name locally. We're very small, very local. We do as much as we can locally with our community. And social media has actually gave us a national brand. It's the most powerful tool in the history of business is social media. For years and years, we did everything from the Yellow Pages to matchbooks to local baseball teams, cancer drives, you name the advertisement or the charity, we were involved.
And now, with one click of a button, the world can see what we do, and we are also are allowed to tell our story. So I can go on social media and you get to talk to me, and I'm giving my message to people across the world. That's nothing better, nothing better. We're in a world of asphalt. It's been a minute. July 17th, we're on a four mile stretch of road in Newtown, Connecticut. Come on around, baby. Where it says, "Don't enter," that's where you're going to enter. They don't stop. We did phase one of this last year. We did two miles. We're on the final leg of it this year. We have two miles of road to pave here.
Colleen Stanley (01:54):
When we first started, I have no construction background at all. I watched my husband's family business, and then, we went off on our own. And I was a little hesitant about going into the business with my husband, but he pushed me. "You could do it." And I did it, and I've been doing it ever since. I learned a lot, probably the most I've learned since school. This is a growing business, that takes you to places that you'd never thought you could do. Every time it got a little harder, my husband said, "You're fine, you got this." And he pushed me. And now, I feel like I could do anything. My family comes first. My boys, I've raised them. They're very close. I can't even imagine what our life would be like without our family business.
Bill Stanley (02:55):
I learned this business all when it was done by hand. Been here for 50 years, and when I was on paving jobs, when I was a young man, everything was done with a pick and a shovel. As the technology started morphing, I was totally in, because I saw much easier, faster, and better, and how much more work we could perform. And now, we're really in a great time in the industry with the technology. We've gone from shovels to cabs on machines, and now, we sit in cockpits. And when I can have an operator go in, brand new cockpit, and could perform his duties easier, faster, better, with his Bluetooth hooked up, I'm really excited about the technology that we have and where it's going.
In the construction industry, you're not going to get a call, because I can rent a bulldozer. I'm not going to get a call, because I can rent a grater. People call me, because I have one. So sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith and know that, if you purchase a piece of equipment, that it will bring you business. Owning quality equipment makes my job go easier, faster, and better, my three words that I always use. We want to be on top. We want to be on top. We really do.
And the equipment is, in my opinion, the equipment's how you're going to get there today. Owner on every project, owner on the phone, they say the most important call that you could take is the very first phone call that they make to a business. And the first phone call you get to American Pavement, an owner picks up the phone, speaks to you. And then, when we do a job site visit, an owner comes out, assesses the project, and then, when we do the work, you have an owner on the project. This is how we feed our family, so we're real serious about our business.
Colleen Stanley (04:50):
The thing that our company has to offer is, A, the trust that we have with our clients. And also, to know that, when they get to the point for paving, that they don't even have to be there. They know that it's all going to be done the way it's supposed to be done. They know that a lot of the inspectors know our work. When they see us show up, they're happy.
Bill Stanley (05:17):
Give a lot of advice to contractors starting out. Be yourself is number one. Do what you do. Be who you are. Don't try to copy any other business. You can have other business that you admire, other business that you'd like to be like, but be yourself. Honesty, hard work, drive, and it's your dream, it's your passion. I don't care if you sell bumpers. If you're a bumper guy, you have passion about it, in today's market, you could sell toothpicks. If you're good at it, you're going to be successful. And if that's your strive and your dream, if you follow it, everything's going to go well.
Speaker 3 (05:53):
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