BLS Asphalt’s fleet is comprised of a mix of John Deere and Caterpillar big iron, including six graders, 10 skid steers, four large wheel loaders, six mid-size loaders, six semi trucks, eight tandems, four track hoes and two dozers. he ever met. “It would be pretty difficult for me to acknowledge someone else as more passionate than him.” BLS Asphalt expanded its operations relatively quickly in a small period of time, going from an operation of seven or eight people to having 70 employees within an eight to nine-year span. Finding the right people wasn’t an easy feat. “In 1999, as a new company, staffing was very difficult,” Jonas recalls. “We ran a paving crew, and now we run six base crews and a paving crew. We also run a crushing spread and an asphalt plant.” One of the reasons BLS Asphalt may have a little more difficulty than some oth-er companies finding the right people is its philosophy in how to grow and invest in its employees. “Pretty well all of our employees with the exception of a few are home grown,” Jonas says, explaining that they’ve all been trained starting at the entry level. “The ones we took on are now skilled operators and foreman.” One key to finding the right people for BLS Asphalt is finding the right attitude, and that’s one where inflated egos get checked at the door and quality for every-thing one does is the top priority. “There no room for arrogance here,” Jonas says. “And we want every job to be done to the best of our abilities. That way 20 | ROCKTOROAD | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 you never have to step up your game, be-cause your game is always up.” This positive attitude was instilled in Jo-nas and the entire workplace culture at BLS Asphalt by Jim from the very beginning. “There were no favourites,” Jonas says, referring to being the son of the owner and having to earn his stripes in the business like everyone else. “When you’re the boss’ son you can act like a punk kid or go down into the trenches and lead by example.” Because Jonas earned his position through hard work, there was no em-ployee backlash or high turnover when he took over the company following his father’s passing. “They all knew me,” he says. “There was no backlash because I was already there as part of the team.” The company has been slowly equip-ping its fleet with Topcon GPS systems, and currently has them outfitted on two graders, one dozer and one skid steer, and is looking at outfitting more of its fleet. “GPS doesn’t make a guy a good opera-tor, but it makes a good operator better,” he says. The company also operates a 130 tph Asphalt Drum Mixers (ADM) asphalt plant from its headquarters in Regina, and oper-ates two remote crushing plants: a KPI-JCI screens/conveyors/jaw crusher and cone crusher. FUTURE PLANS As for continuing to grow the family busi-ness, Jonas would like to see the company get more involved in larger volume work in the future. “We feel there’s room for us there,” he says. “We’ve got gravel crushers and as-phalt plants… the 2,000-square-metre project isn’t as lucrative as going out and doing a 20,000-square-metre project.” That said, the company isn’t about to shy away from the smaller projects. “We plan on growing with the needs and the demands of the marketplace and the customer base,” Jonas says. “My dad used to say, ‘We are not in the business of turning down work.’” Some sound advice, for sure. THE RIGHT GEAR Having the right equipment is also impor-tant for getting projects done right and on time. BLS Asphalt’s fleet is comprised of a mix of John Deere and Caterpillar big iron, including six graders, 10 skid steers, four large wheel loaders, six mid-size loaders, six semi trucks, eight tandems, four track hoes and two dozers. “BLS is constantly adding equipment, either by rental or purchase, to ensure we have the capabilities to approach and complete the work,” Jonas says.