Pennsy Supply Inc.

After nearly 90 years, Pennsy Supply Inc. has found success as the leader in providing quality construction materials and services to its customers. The company’s employees play a significant role in making this happen. “You can’t provide customer service without a great team,” President Barry Duffy says. “It’s an everyday commitment to the process.”

Based in Harrisburg, Pa., Pennsy Supply is a provider of aggregate, concrete and asphalt products. The company also offers construction services that include asphalt lay down, bridge work and pipe work.

Founder Walter Mumma started the company in 1921, with the intention of providing building materials to contractors in Pennsylvania’s Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Over time, Pennsy Supply grew by purchasing quarries and producing aggregate.

In 1993, CRH plc, a building materials group based in Ireland, purchased the company. Today, Pennsy Supply is part of Oldcastle Materials Inc., CRH’s U.S. entity. 

With a staff of 650, Pennsy Supply is the “No. 1 building materials provider in south-central Pennsylvania,” Duffy says, adding that the company has 12 quarries, 10 asphalt plants, seven concrete plants, two fine-grained facilities, a sand plant and rail depots.

Additionally, the company enjoys several advantages as a part of CRH and Oldcastle Materials Inc. “One is that we do a lot of best practice sharing,” Duffy says, adding that the company has a very large network since Oldcastle operates in 44 states.

“There’s a lot of history, a lot of experience and knowledge to share back and forth,” he says, noting that the companies also share equipment. “We [also] enjoy strong capital support from the parent company, [which] enables us to grow the business.”

Working with Clients

Duffy came to Pennsy Supply in 2001, but had been part of CRH since 1997. He says he has not only enjoyed working with the staff of Pennsy Supply, but also appreciated how it works with its clients.

“Issues are worked through quickly,” he says, noting that the company prides itself in being open and honest with clients.

“It is vital to our success that we provide timely and accurate delivery of orders to our customers,” he says. “We may make mistakes, but we stand behind our products and services and we make things right in an expeditious manner.”

Growing its Capabilities

Pennsy Supply recently expanded its capabilities with the construction of a $7 million asphalt plant at its production facility in Lebanon, Pa. “It is a new, 400-tons-per-hour Gencor drum plant,” Duffy says, adding that the plant is equipped with a warm mix asphalt system that is environmentally friendly.

The warm mix system enables Pennsy Supply to provide the same quality asphalt mix its customers have come to expect but at lower overall mix temperatures. This enables the company to reduce its carbon footprint at the plant.

Additionally, the plant features five silos – three on one scale and two on another – that reduces time spent at the plant, thus improving its customers overall efficiencies and lowering their costs, Duffy says. The plant loading system contains an RFID system that automatically recognizes a customer truck when it enters the site and places their order in the system. The computer is also linked with a remote ticket printer to ensure quick and easy ingress and egress for customers.

Currently, Pennsy Supply’s sister company Pioneer Materials is at work building a new rail depot in Millsboro, Del. “The depot is going to have mainline access along easy access to Route 113. It will have the ability to handle 750,000 tons a year at maximum capacity,” Duffy says. 

Provider of Choice

Pennsy Supply’s recent construction projects also have included a new manufacturing facility for Hershey Foods in Hershey, Pa. However, Duffy says that Pennsy Supply was the candy company’s concrete provider of choice on the project.

“They wrote in their specifications that Pennsy would be the supplier of concrete on the entire project,” Duffy recalls. “Hershey basically felt that we were the only company they were comfortable with [to] provide the service.”

This put Pennsy Supply in a unique position, Duffy admits. “[It] was a big deal for them to work directly with us and then go back to the contractors on the job and tell them they have to use us,” he recalls. 

Bigger and Better

Next year, Pennsy Supply will celebrate 90 years in its industry. Although it does not have any plans yet for celebration, it does plan for growth, Duffy says. 

“We’ve done some acquisitions throughout the years,” he says. “We continue to look for further opportunities to improve and grow our business in the future.”

Key Focuses

Pennsy Supply says it is committed to high safety standards at all of its locations and incorporates safety measures into its practices and planning. “The company has been recognized at the local, regional and national levels for its exemplary safety practices, including a certificate of accomplishment from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA),” Pennsy Supply states.

The company notes that its initiatives include safety training and refresher training courses, new facilities that feature the latest safety methods and features, and MSHA’s own “Stay Out, Stay Alive” program.

Pennsy Supply also strongly focuses on the environment and reducing its footprint, the company says. “When constructing facilities, Pennsy managers analyze noise and air pollution and consider the visual impact for the surrounding community,” the company says.

“Pennsy is also committed to the most efficient use of energy through such practices as installing photo sensors on lights to save energy, installing variable speed drive motors, using recycled products where possible, using natural gas and regulating the amount of energy used.”

Another commitment for the company is education. “Since 1999, Pennsy Supply has educated more than 10,000 students and parents about the aggregate industry through its award-winning RockMan program,” it says.

Additionally, the company and the Harrisburg Area Community College partnered to develop the Pennsy Concrete Challenge, which is “a combination of interactive classroom curriculum and a one-day competition to teach high school masonry and technology students about concrete and its many applications,” the company says.

“Students put their skills to the test against their peers each spring during the Concrete Challenge, producing concrete to match or exceed predetermined strength and weight characteristics,” the company says. “Pennsy tests student-made concrete the day of the event at their laboratory and materials testing center, determining a winner by evaluating each concrete sample’s strength and durability.” 

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