Superior Bowen

Superior Bowen has been improving Kansas City through better asphalt. Although the Superior Bowen Asphalt Co. has been around for only 10 years, the company has more than 70 years of experience.

Superior Bowen is the result of Bowen Constructiona, formed in 1948, and Superior Asphalt, formed in 1978, merging in 2000. “We came together to take advantage of the scale of services the two companies offered,” Vice President Trey Bowen explains. “This merger really strengthened our position in the marketplace.”

In the decade since the two companies merged, Superior Bowen has become the dominant player in the Kansas City area in the sectors of commercial, residential, highway, municipal and aviation asphalt paving. According to Bowen, the company has accomplished this by its commitment to “Doing the Right Thing.” “We ensure customer satisfaction,” he states. “Through safety and quality, we strive to do our best work regardless of cost.“Repeat business is very key for us,” Bowen continues. “We’ve done some low-bid public work in the past, but that has helped us out because we’ve built strong relationships and gained their trust. Having the client’s trust is very important.”

Ahead of the Curve

In the last few years, Superior Bowen has seen its fair share of changes in the industry, but Bowen says a recent trend has made the company take notice. “There’s been a move to higher specifications for the types of asphalt our customers want,” he explains. “The types of asphalt mixes we usually use on runways and highways are often more technical in that they have a certain rock type, oil grade and compaction level in the field.“Municipalities have found out about these more technical mixes and now want it for their projects, too,” Bowen adds. “We’re finding streets and parking lots are now requiring these higher specifications. These last longer for the customers, too.”

Bowen says the company is ready to meet customer demands for the latest and most cost-effective asphalt mixes. “We’re committed to be a leader in all the changes in the industry,” he states. “We’re ready to meet and exceed any new standards thanks to our quality control department. They constantly check our plant’s asphalt mixes to make sure they’re what the customer wants and meet the required specifications.”

Superior Bowen also has pioneered environmentally friendly asphalt technologies. “We are very invested in sustainability,” Bowen says. “We use recycled products wherever possible. We’ve adopted the industry’s next generation warm asphalt mix asphalt (WMA) that uses less heat than the typical mix. This  keeps costs down, eliminates annoying fumes, and we’re able to provide the same high quality by going green.”

The company has invested in production technology to increase its use of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP), Bowen says. When Superior Bowen performs a road-resurfacing job, it collects the RAP, cleans it, processes it and adds it to a new mix. Sometimes, the company utilizes recycled asphalt shingles (RAS), the same shingles that are used on homes. By using RAS in its projects, Superior Bowen has reduced waste that is dumped in landfills and instead reuses the asphalt and aggregate used to make shingles to make roads. Together RAP and RAS help make asphalt the most recycled product in use today.

Safety First

Superior Bowen makes safety a high priority, Bowen says. “We have a robust safety program,” he exclaims. “We provide the training in house so everyone knows what we expect. We really value our field crews because we think they’re the best available; that’s why we want to make sure they’re working safe at all times.”

A safety committee formed of representatives from the company’s various work crews meets monthly. Also, the company is a member of the American Contractors Insurance Group (ACIG), which writes insurance policies and provides related services to the construction industry. Bowen says the company’s risk managers attend meetings several times a year to discuss and share their ideas on risk management and safety within their organizations with the group as a whole. ACIG also holds two annual safety meetings where claims and risk management professionals from companies all over the country are invited to network and learn about issues affecting their organizations.

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