START WITH A STRONG FOUN­DA­TION

A lit­tle-known Den­ver pump­ing ser­vice has built an in­ter­na­tional em­pire.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Ethan Mill­man

When Dale Bone and Jack Brundage started their con­crete pump­ing ser­vice in Den­ver in 1983, they had two pumps, and Bone’s nephew was their only em­ployee. But the young busi­ness­men had a taste for ac­qui­si­tions, and they be­gan ex­pand­ing be­yond Colorado al­most im­me­di­ately. »

When Dale Bone and Jack Brundage started their con­crete pump­ing ser­vice in Den­ver in 1983, they had two pumps, and Bone’s nephew was their only em­ployee. But the young busi­ness­men had a taste for ac­qui­si­tions, and they be­gan ex­pand­ing be­yond Colorado al­most im­me­di­ately.

The growth con­tin­ued over more than three decades, and de­spite a rough patch that came with the Great Re­ces­sion, Brundage-Bone to­day calls it­self the largest con­crete pump­ing com­pany in the world. The Den­ver Post was un­able to con­firm this claim, but Brundage-Bone is cer­tainly big and ex­pand­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally, and its ap­petite hasn’t di­min­ished.

The com­pany has more than $200 mil­lion in rev­enue and nearly 1,000 em­ploy­ees, said chief ex­ec­u­tive Bruce Young. It op­er­ates in 20 states and 80 cities across the coun­try. The com­pany has been mak­ing ac­qui­si­tions in the United King­dom, and in June ex­panded its reach there when it bought St. He­lens, Eng­land-based Reilly Con­crete Pump­ing, bring­ing BrundageBone’s mar­ket share in the U.K. to 30 per­cent. It’s in ev­ery U.K. coun­try but Ire­land.

Brundage-Bone laid down the con­crete for the Pepsi Cen­ter, Coors Field, Mile High Sta­dium, Den­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port and high-rises across metro Den­ver. Fifty-five per­cent of Brundage-Bone’s busi­ness comes from com­mer­cial projects, Young said.

The com­pany ex­panded quickly in the early days, Bone said. A year after its found­ing, Brundage-Bone ex­panded its op­er­a­tion into Dal­las. The fol­low­ing year, it had ac­quired a con­crete pump­ing com­pany in Seat­tle. The com­pany would con­tinue to make ac­qui­si­tions like these in the com­ing decades, ex­tend­ing their reach across the South­west and West Coast.

Bone, now 74, re­tired in 2008. He at­trib­uted tak­ing risks on new con­crete pump­ing tech­nolo­gies like the crane-like boom pump as one of the big­gest fac­tors of Brundage-Bone’s growth.

“When we first started con­crete pump­ing, us­ing boom pumps was just start­ing to be a more ac­cepted sys­tem,” Bone said. “At that time no more than 20 per­cent of the con­crete be­ing laid down was be­ing moved that way. To­day, it’s prob­a­bly some­where be­tween 75 and 80 per­cent. It’s so much faster and more ef­fi­cient. We put ev­ery­thing on the line, and we grew so fast be­cause we put it out there.”

Be­fore pumps were com­mon­place, con­crete plac­ing com­pa­nies were mov­ing con­crete through wheel­bar­rows and mo­tor­ized bug­gies, Bone said. They could move a yard of con­crete in two to three min­utes. With boom pumps, it’s ex­po­nen­tially faster.

Bone also said Brundage-Bone’s loyal team greatly af­fected its ex­pan­sion. Many

have been with the com­pany for 30 years, he said. Young has been with Brundage-Bone since 1985.

Lit­tle about the com­pany’s head­quar­ters just off East 64th Street, about 5 miles north of down­town, gives away its size.

Aside from a few large trucks parked be­hind the build­ing, each one equipped with an equal- ly large or­ange boom pump on its back, there’s noth­ing out of the or­di­nary.

“We’re a very small part of a project; con­crete pump­ing could be a 1 per­cent cost of the project. We’re prob­a­bly not that well known, but the im­por­tance of what we do is that we’re the go be­tween the con­crete truck and the fin­ish­ing crew,” Young said. “If our func­tion fails, the rest of the project doesn’t hap­pen.”

Although BrundageBone con­tin­ues to grow — Young said the com­pany plans to ex­tend its reach in the South in the com­ing years — it took a ma­jor hit dur­ing the re­ces­sion. The com­pany filed for Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy and was bought out by a Los An­ge­les-based in­vest­ment com­pany in 2014.

“I never doubted the com­pany would make it through that and come out stronger,” Young said. “It cre­ated more dis­ci­pline for us than any­thing we’d been through, and it ac­tu­ally made us a bet­ter busi­ness.”

The Brundage-Bone con­crete pump­ing ser­vice, which started in Den­ver in 1983, pours con­crete Thurs­day at The Alexan 20th Street Sta­tion.

Pho­tos by Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

The com­pany started us­ing a pump when around 20 per­cent of con­crete was laid that way. Now it’s around 75 to 80 per­cent.

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