The History of the Asphalt Business in the Northeast - Who Runs the Paving Business?
Asphalt contractors don‘t just accidentally become asphalt contractors. If you closely follow the lineage of families and individuals involved in the paving business in the Northeast you won’t be surprised to find out that a lot of the larger, more prominent, and in some cases less prominent, asphalt contractors are somehow related. To name a few of the important names that exist in the asphalt business in the Northeast you’ll take note of the Stanley’s, Coopers, Young’s, and more recently, as in the last 10 to 50 years the Beausoleil’s and the DeJesus’s.
In the 1900s, the boom in automotive industry drove demand for more and better roads. This led to great innovations with manufacturers developing rudimentary machines for mixing asphalt road surfaces. By 1901 the first modern asphalt production facility opened in Massachusetts. The first mechanical road spreaders were used to lay asphalt roads in the 1920s. The demand for asphalt roads continued to rise, often outstripping supply. And, by 1937, asphalt was used in the production of around four-fifths of the roads under construction at the time.
Succeeding the Second World War, Congress allocated $51 billion to the building of roads and as a result asphalt plants became more sophisticated. There was a push to improve the quality of asphalt roads beginning in the 1950s. Today asphalt road surfaces are highly engineered to improve safety and user experience.
One of the oldest names in the paving business starts with the Stanleys. The Stanley’s have been in the business for many generations, notably over 100 years! In fact, some of the family names listed are actually related and tied to each other. For example, the Beausoleil’s and the DeJesus’s at some point branch off of the Stanley family lineage.
In the state of the Connecticut, one of the largest asphalt contractors, American Pavement Specialists, is a third generation owned asphalt company and you guessed it owned by none other than the Stanleys. If you do a google search of Stanley’s Paving, you’ll see hundreds of paving contractors that hold the last name all over the United States. Some more successful than others but don’t be surprised to find out that they’re family.
In Rhode Island, the Beausoleil’s hold an impressive 50 year plus reputation in the asphalt business and are one of the largest asphalt contractors in the state. Beausoleil & Sons, Inc., based out of Cranston, RI is a second generation owned asphalt contractor. DeJesus Paving Corp, formerly DeJesus Driveways, with over 10 years in the business, out of Seekonk, MA touches over 600 properties per year also related to the Stanley’s and the Beausoleil’s. And if you follow the family lines of each, you would discover that the same goes for the Coopers and the Young’s. All over the United States you’ll find Coopers Paving and Young’s Paving.
So what’s the deal? Are these families all doing business together? The short answer is no. For the most part most of these paving companies work independently of each other simply because…well sometimes families don’t do well together in business, so they all parted ways. To put it simply, if everyone got along there would be a large monopoly over the asphalt business in the Northeast. With that being said, it is known and expected that some family members that hold a sour taste in the success of other family members take advantage of and use the reputable names in the business to rattle the cages for their own financial benefit. Jealousy, pride, and greed have left some really successful and others expelled from the family business. Some of these names have been on the news and major media outlets for good and bad reasons and we won’t mention any names, but a few google searches will lead you to understand what is being highlighted. A few bad apples in the family use the respective reputable names to earn the business and fall short of par. There is much more history that has yet to be tapped into and recorded.
If you’re ever in the Northeast and you see paving trucks and equipment on the highways take note of the name on the side of the truck. This is just a brief overview of the history of the families in the asphalt business. It’s a touchy subject for some and one day if representatives from each of these family lines are willing to sit down for an interview just know it would be a very interesting conversation and one filled with plenty of untold and untapped stories, opinions, and raw history of being what we'll call "raised on asphalt", which by the way is an actual apparel brand owned by none other than, you guessed it, the Stanleys!