• Kevin Gray

The Politics of Pavement

I thought I would give you a break. A majority of people in this country are sitting on pins and needles while shouting and waving an ax above their heads. Maybe I shouldn’t say a majority of people, but many of those who care to share their opinion are certainly doing just that. I wanted a vacation from those related thoughts sneaking into my head, so I decided to think about the politics of being an asphalt paving contractor and what being a business owner means in both my personal and business lives.


A paving company might seem like a straightforward business, but there is no doubt that it takes a particular set of skills and certain bulldogged determination for growing year after year. Even simply maintaining or breaking even requires finding good help and showing up to guide those trusted people every day. We are in year three of a promising culture change within ADC Paving, and I feel putting on my boots and leading from the paver is necessary.


About this time last year, I decided to let go of our long-time foreman. This opening meant that I would completely forgo 97% of sales calls and high-dollar meetings and rejoin the crew in 2020. Even though we did very well last year, I had to adjust and make a best decision for the company as a whole. What we sell is founded on the product we provide, and a season of decline in quality would be detrimental for years to come. Many quality workers and qualified leaders wear the ADC Paving logo to work every day, but even a single year of being with the crew hopefully forges integral attitudes and strategies that will last until our leaders gain experience. That decision was difficult to make and that foreman was hard to let go.


My office staff is incredible thanks to some existing leadership that continues to step up and embody and shape the growth of ADC Paving ~ Thanks Cindy. They are almost always the first and last people who talk to our customers and they govern the heck out of our operations. Sometimes letting people do their work while getting out of their way is the best way to lead. I have also received the hint that a wall and door should be between us at some points as well.


When thinking about my family and business politics, I dare say that when in the moment, it seems every bit intense as any discussion or talking point ever. My wife and I purchased ADC Paving from my wife’s family (my family) as third-generation owners. My brother-in-law was raised on blacktop and he has come back to very successfully head our sealcoat division. There isn’t a dinner, barbecue, vacation, or swim day with my family that doesn’t involve decision making and the sharing of business ideas. Some people find this to be too much shop talk. However, I have that bulldogged determination and always seem to be thinking about how to improve the asphalt paving industry.

Now, we are in a new age of technology. If you think you can successfully operate a business without dedicating time to technological issues and advancements, you simply aren’t passionate about surviving in the long term. From paving technology that allows for higher quality work, to digital communication, digital marketing and google reviews, it’s all a part of being a good business owner today, especially in small businesses. If you want to be at the top of the list, you have to meet customers where they are. Once you get there, you have to impress them and convince them to give you a chance. For sustained growth, you have to convince them that you wish to provide them continued support and education while showing up when they need you.


No matter how this election goes, I am still proud to lead the hard-working men and women who show up to ADC Paving and give their best every day. It is in their integrity and enjoyment of a job well done that inspires me to lace up my boots. As long as I still have a business to run and jobs to provide, I will wake up tomorrow and do both of those things to the best of my ability.

“The best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt


Thanks for your time,

Kevin Gray





ADC Paving

Asphalt Paving Contractor

Paving Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana Since 1959

(502) 964-1415

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The Expectations are Higher Here.

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