Chaney Enterprises: Innovators, in an Industry of Tradition

June 28, 2019 Karli Langner

We're celebrating many years of growth and expansion for Chaney Enterprises. The company was founded in 1962 by Eugene “Babe” Chaney. He bid on a large road improvement job to widen Highway 301 through southern Maryland, but there was one minor problem – the job required bank run gravel, and Mr. Chaney actually didn’t have any gravel. To meet the demand for the job, he purchased a 400-acre piece of property in Waldorf, Maryland and mined the gravel himself. Once his job was complete, he made the most out of his newly acquired property, and went into the sand and gravel business by starting Charles County Sand & Gravel.

His sand and gravel business was thriving, but he wanted to move more material. The best way to do that is to add concrete to the mix. He started Charles County Concrete, which began in southern Maryland and then moved to Charles County Block, moving the and gravel block concrete through the southern Maryland region. Charles County Concrete and Charles County Sand & Gravel later became what we now know as Chaney Enterprises. Today, Chaney is running ready mix concrete, sand, and gravel through Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C, and Delaware.

Over the years, Chaney has expanded to 27 ready mix plants, 8 sand and gravel locations, and a stone quarry rail in their Waldorf yard. They are moving materials through the mid-Atlantic region via dump trucks, rail, and barges on the water from Delaware to as far south as Norfolk, Virginia Beach and as far north as Philadelphia.

The company has been family-owned since its start, and is good shape to have family continue to run the operations for the next 40 years – this is what Chaney Enterprises feels sets them apart from their competition. They operate through three states and Washington, D.C., and are able to provide for any job that the large conglomerates can do; but what really differentiates them is that when there’s a problem on the job, it doesn’t take long to resolve it. Heck, if a customer was really itching to, they could drive straight to Mr. Chaney’s door and settle the problem with him themselves (although it’s highly recommended to just call the plant before doing so).

Providing excellent customer service is the number one initiative of Chaney Enterprises. Their mantra is “Pouring Our Heart and Soul into Every Project,” which is proudly displayed on the side of all of their mixer trucks. They are also very involved in their communities and host several fundraising events every year for the American Cancer Society and other nonprofits.

They’ve consolidated and acquired a few different companies throughout their years, and in 1998 they were running Eagle Batch Systems at nearly every location. In 2012, they started to upgrade to COMMANDbatch at all of their locations.

The upgrade modernized the batch system speeding up the batch process and making it much easier to make changes or adjust the mix designs. With any new system, there will always be some push back from employees. There was a slight reluctance towards the installations from some veterans in the company who have been running their plant locations with one system for many years; but after the upgrade, they realized that the system is very user-friendly, and they wouldn’t go back to their old ways of doing things. 

Chaney installed the Precision Water System (PWS) at their Jessup location. This tool can adjust the amount of water in loads based upon the water content within the raw materials.  This helped reduce rejected loads, save time in the yard, and minimize on-job time.

Everyone knows that you can put water in the truck, but you can't take water out. Batch personnel across the industry tend to lean on the dry side of loading trucks, which can be a time waster at the yard while the driver is trying to adjust the water in the load to get the slump where it needs to be. The PWS system helps dial in the water required to achieve the batch slump target the first time.

“The additional probes help you pinpoint and narrow down moisture much better than a standard one system probe and sand bin,” said Jeffrey Slagle, Concrete Operations Officer at Chaney Enterprises. “We’re able to batch more accurately because we can better gauge the amount of moisture in our aggregates.”

Chaney Enterprises just recently celebrated the opening of their new Lorton plant in Fairfax County, Virginia, which is further north than the company has ever expanded in Virginia.

“Every time we put up a new concrete plant, it's evidence of a thriving economy,” said Scott Surovell, Virginia State Senator. “This end of Fairfax County is going to be one of the fastest growing parts of the county over the next 20 years, and I'm sure there's going to be plenty of business for this site.”

The site is a total green field site. They found and acquired the property and bought a new plant, which is something that you don’t see much in the industry any longer. Usually people grow through acquisitions or mergers, not through green field concrete sites.

Chaney has different decals on their mixer trucks depending on which location they are in. Their decal for the concrete mixers at the Lorton plant reads “Virginia is for Lovers.”  Chaney was granted permission to use the slogan from the Virginia Tourism Association, which goes to show that the community is welcoming Chaney with open arms already.

“We took a lot of time and effort in making sure that we accommodated everything the community wanted to see in the project, and we probably spent a good three years from the time that we acquired the property to being up and now operational, and we really tried to take everything they wanted to see into consideration,” said Francis “Hall” Chaney, President of Chaney Enterprises. “The community has really embraced us, which is not always the state of affairs in our business, but we look to be a good neighbor, and we feel like we have the fleet and the assets to do so.”

Their commercial office building is built with panelized insulated concrete forms provided by BuilderUp, a division of Chaney Enterprises. The forms are made from insulated foam blocks that lock together and are filled with reinforced concrete.

“The quality of the panels are second to none, and the lightweight forms and panels are much more efficient, allowing smaller crews to assemble with less time,” said Tony Aina, Green Building Guru at BuilderUp, a division of Chaney Enterprises. “The environmental benefits are something that can’t be matched; not to mention, ICFs require less energy to heat and cool, creating a much more energy-efficient building. Because of this, the office building is virtually net-zero.”

It’s an honor to work with companies like Chaney Enterprises. We’ve had a great relationship with them for many years, and look forward to the many more years of growth and expansion that they have coming their way. We’re proud to be part of their journey, and wish them and their new Lorton plant much success!

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