Bauerly Companies

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Bauerly Companies

4787 Shadow Wood Dr. NE
Sauk Rapids, Minnesota 56379
Telephone: (320) 251-9472
Fax: (320) 529-2716
Toll Free: (800) 450-9472
Web site:

Private Company
Incorporated: 1968 as Bauerly Brothers, Inc.
Employees: 750
Sales: $143 million (2003 est.)
NAIC: 327992 Ground or Treated Mineral and Earth Manufacturing; 237310 Highway, Street and Bridge Construction

Bauerly Companies, headquartered in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, stands out as one of the largest producers of aggregate, asphalt, ready-mix, and concrete in the state. The company serves a primary market area consisting of approximately 30 counties in central Minnesota. Bauerly Companies maintains 22 ready-mix plants, five asphalt plants, 20 aggregate crushing and washing facilities, and five regional maintenance buildings.

Building a Better Life: 1950s60s

In the early 1950s on the prairies of central Minnesota, family farms dotted the landscape. Leo Bauerly, his wife Agnes, and their young family of nine children operated such a farm near Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

Hard work, dedication, and innovation were necessary to keep family farms afloat, but even with the best of care, circumstances often led farmers to look for alternative ways to supplement their limited income and increase their cash flow. A strong entrepreneurial spirit, and the incentive to support a growing family, inspired Leo Bauerly to create such a business. What began as a little side income evolved over the generations into a large private business known as Bauerly Companies.

The groundwork for the company was set in 1956 when Leo Bauerly invested some money in two single-axle dump trucks. Bauerly and his eldest sons began hauling materials for local construction projects. Two years later, impressed with the return from his previous purchase, Bauerly added two more dump trucks to his fleet and began leasing the trucks to area contractors.

By 1963, the Bauerlys had purchased a rock crusher and were manufacturing the construction materials themselves in addition to hauling construction supplies. With the purchase of the new crushing machine, the business was awarded a contract to crush gravel for Port Mille Lacs.

Leo's four oldest sons had grown up working for their father both on the farm and in his aggregate business. Summers and vacation time were spent hauling and helping out the family. Initially, Dave and Jerry Bauerly had gone off to college and had planned career paths outside the confines of the family business. Their brother, Brian, became the first of the brothers who began working part-time in the family enterprise in 1967.

In 1968, a tragic turn of events meant significant change for the family. Leo Bauerly was suddenly killed in a car accident. The two oldest of the Bauerly boys, Dave and Jerry, took over the responsibility of providing for the family. The brothers decided to build on the resources and reputation Leo had established and soon formally incorporated the business as Bauerly Brothers. The company continued its work of producing aggregates and hauling materials for construction.

In 1969, Mike and Mark Bauerly began working at the company and the partnership began to expand its operations. Bauerly Brothers bought Mille Lacs Sand and Gravel and increased its aggregate crushing. Through innovation and hard work the company took shape. To get the competitive edge the brothers would often buy and adapt equipment to suit specific needs. The long hours spent and the inventive spirit that the Bauerlys possessed helped the fledgling company make its mark in the local industry.

Throughout the 1970s all six brothers worked for the company. Brian and Jake Bauerly, the youngest of the clan, joined the team in 1970. Agnes Bauerly, the family matriarch, always played an instrumental role at the office. Agnes maintained a constant presence at the company throughout its years, encouraging excellence and keeping an eye on daily happenings.

Togetherness paid off in 1971 when the family company received its first big crushing and hauling contract. The company was enlisted in Carlton County, Minnesota, to supply 150,000 cubic yards of aggregate for construction fill.

In 1972, with some capital behind them, the brothers purchased the company's first mobile concrete truck and began providing concrete in addition to aggregate. The company also bought its first asphalt plant in 1972 and added a Pioneer crusher to its equipment holdings.

By 1974, Bauerly Brothers was solidly poised to enter the concrete business and added two ready-mix plants to its assets. The first plant was in Foley, Minnesota. The Foley plant was soon followed by a second plant slightly farther east in the town of Milaca. The business had grown and in 1975 Jake and Mark Bauerly became full-time employees of the company.

The ready-mix plant in Foley was moved west to Sauk Rapids in 1976 where the company established its headquarters and several facilities. Towards the end of the decade the company continued to expand by buying ready-mix operations around the state, a trend that would continue throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Bauerly acquired its first such plant in 1979. That year, Bauerly bought out Economy Ready Mix with sites in Braham, Cambridge, and Mora, Minnesota, steadily adding to its regional influence and expanding its market share.

Throughout the decades, Bauerly Brothers built the company by combining a strong work ethic with many industry innovations, particularly those related to mechanical equipment. The company often adapted standard construction equipmentto meet specialized needs or made improvements to equipment that allowed the company to be more efficient. Bauerly designed and built a Supertruck that could haul enormous loads. The company developed and operated eight Supertrucks for its construction hauling. In addition to its Supertrucks, the equipment division staff at Bauerly built signature crushers and screens for its aggregate crushing and washing division.

Over the years Bauerly Companies invested in industryrelated technological advances to further develop its products. A state-of-the-art laboratory at its corporate headquarters allowed the company to meet technical requirements for asphalt and ready-mix production. Scientific laboratory precision in the design of products allowed the company to meet specifications at job sites. Bauerly Companies often set up portable labs on site to ensure that both quality and efficiency standards would be met.

The 1980s and 1990s: Crushing the Competition Through Expansion

The decade of the 1980s was characterized by rapid growth for Bauerly. The company bought out regional competitors through a series of acquisitions designed to broaden the company's geographic positioning. The business now operated east, west, north, and south of the hub city of St. Cloud, Minnesota.

In 1984, the company purchased Hanson Ready Mix in Princeton. The company's growth also created the need for larger administrative and maintenance work areas and Bauerly Brothers added on to its office building and shop spaces. The following year Bauerly built another drum mix plant to keep up with demand for its products.

The year 1987 proved the adage, "if you build it they will come," and the company put its plants to work. Bauerly Brothers had won the contract for a section of Interstate 35 and needed to produce, haul, and lay 350,000 tons of asphalt.

Expansion continued in 1988, when the company expanded its primary market to the south. Bauerly Brothers bought Rockite Ready Mix and Block with facilities in Hutchinson, Litchfield, South Haven, Glencoe, and Cosmos, Minnesota. In 1989, the company targeted the town of St. Joseph, Minnesota, and bought Borgert Block for an undisclosed price.

In 1993, Bauerly teamed up with the local Cold Spring Granite Company to recycle waste granite for use as a highquality aggregate in its concrete and asphalt. The company maintained a commitment to the environment that could be seen through various company-sponsored programs.

The company recycled many of its own resources including oil, concrete, and asphalt. In addition to its commitment to recycling, Bauerly worked hard on the reclamation of its mining sites throughout the state. Many sites were transformed into wildlife habitat, wetlands, or developed into home subdivisions.

The next few years brought more growth through acquisition. In an area of isolated farming towns there were many independently run cement and block companies, and Bauerly Brothers bought them up one at a time, growing its identity and market share in a fairly short expanse of time.

Company Perspectives:

Bauerly Companies strives to be the preferred source of aggregate, asphalt, and concrete for customers in the regions we serve. We strive to continuously meet customer expectations, be a leader in the markets we serve, be a positive force in the communities in which we live and work, and provide growth opportunities for our employees while sustaining our profitability which guarantees our growth into the future.

Bauerly Companies is customer driven, provides superior quality and service, and builds strong relationships with its customers and suppliers. We strive to provide the safest work environment for our employees and those we serve. We invest in the development of productive employees through training and improvements in technology. We believe in an efficient process and a lean staff, the necessity of innovation to provide a competitive advantage, and the importance of people as individuals. We focus on what we know best to make a fair profit to meet our obligations and perpetuate our future growth. We encourage PRIDE (Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence).

By 1997, Bauerly Brothers had grown significantly and the company decided that it was time to work on its infrastructure. The brothers set up five divisional management teams. The five divisions included: asphalt, concrete, aggregates, equipment, and central services. Each of the brothers contributed to management of the divisions, with Jerry serving as president, Brian as head of the concrete division, Mike overseeing equipment, Dave leading engineering, Mark controlling aggregates and central services, and Jake managing finances and the company's asphalt operations. At the same time the company implemented a regional dispatching system for its concrete business.

With a new management structure in place the company began to look towards some consolidation and business revamping in 1998. It sold off its block company in St. Joseph and Hutchinson, moving the remainder of its St. Joseph operation to a new location. Bauerly consolidated its holdings in North Branch, Minnesota, and its BREMIX, BBI, and Economy Ready Mix facilities, forming one corporation.

In 1999, the newly named Bauerly Companies built a new regional office and ready-mix plant in Hutchinson, Minnesota. Three ready-mix plants were opened the following year. A plant opened in Albertville, Minnesota, followed by one in the Isanti/Cambridge area and one in South Haven, Minnesota.

Due to Bauerly Companies' strong belief in giving back to the communities in which it worked, the company established its Partners for Parks program. Partners for Parks provided cash and in-kind donations through grants for local public "green space" projects. The program provided significant resources to area cities and schools throughout its years. The company stated in its corporate newsletter that: "environment, community, customers, and employees are the primary stakeholders at Bauerly Brothers. To recognize the value of these stakeholders, the Partners for Parks program was developed to collaborate with its stakeholders by building better communities."

Bauerly Companies received many awards in recognition of its work. Some of the Associations that lauded the company were National Asphalt Paving Association, Minnesota Asphalt Paving, the Department of Transportation, Minnesota Association of Ready-Mix, and several National Sand and Gravel Awards. In 2001, Bauerly Companies was recognized as an outstanding business by the St. Cloud, Minnesota Area Chamber of Commerce when it received its 2001 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In June 2001, MDU Resources Inc., a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, signed an agreement to purchase Bauerly Brothers. The acquisition occurred through MDU's construction materials subsidiary, the Knife River Corporation. Knife River Corporation mined and marketed raw material and construction products and services in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming.

Bauerly Companies, with its long history of successful growth and its commitment to giving back responsibly to the communities where it operated seemed poised to continue to be a industry leader in its market areas for years to come. The harsh environment in Minnesota and an insufficient roadway system to meet increased demand had put road construction on the list of state priorities. With many highways in the state of Minnesota slated for expansion, and existing highways in constant need of repair, the outlook for future markets appeared solid. Teaming up with Knife River Corporation gave the company resources for further development and expansion. With many years of leadership behind it, Bauerly was well-positioned for future growth.

Key Dates:

Leo Bauerly purchases dump trucks to supplement farm income.
Bauerly buys two more trucks and begins leasing them.
Leo Bauerly is killed in car accident; Dave and Jerry Bauerly incorporate as Bauerly Brothers, Inc.
Company acquires Hanson Ready Mix in Princeton, Minnesota; adds shop and office at headquarters in Sauk Rapids.
Company paves Interstate 35.
Bauerly purchases Rockite Ready Mix & Block.
Company acquires Borgert Block.
Bauerly Brothers reorganizes its management structure and consolidates its holdings.
Regional offices are opened in Hutchinson, Minnesota.
Company builds new ready-mix plants in Albertville, Isanti/Cambridge, and South Haven, Minnesota.
Bauerly Companies merges with Knife River Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of MDU Resources, Incorporated.

Principal Competitors

AME Group; Gemstone Products Company; Aggregate Industries.

Further Reading

Bauerly Ink, May, August and December 2003 issues.

Dominik, John J., St. Cloud: The Triplet City, Sun Valley, Calif.: American Historical Press, 2002, p. 150.

Susan B. Culligan