Walker Concrete is part of the construction team working on an immense industrial site in Newnan, Georgia known as The Cubes at Bridgeport. Walker was tasked with pouring slabs, footers, tilt-up walls and pavement for a 611,000 square foot warehouse in Coweta County, Georgia.
Work began on Building A of Bridgeport, a 500-acre industrial mega site, in January 2021 with a completion date set for June 2021. Walker Sales Representative Drew Stripling, who hails from Newnan, said such enormous projects are nothing new for the company. “Walker has a lot of expertise in this type of work, and there are countless warehouse jobs in the area we’ve been a part of.”
Walker Newnan Plant Manager John Calhoun has also been a part of the complex’s multiple building projects since the very beginning. “We were involved in the first building Amazon did in Newnan, and they refurbished an old building last year,” said Calhoun.
Martin Concrete, headquartered in Kennesaw, GA, was incorporated in 1991 and is today known as one of the top commercial concrete contractors in the Southeast. Similar projects they’ve been involved in have been recognized for their excellence by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), and the American Concrete Institute (ACI).
Stripling said this longtime customer has come to count on Walker’s experience and capability to keep up with the tight delivery schedules required for warehouse projects. “Martin Concrete likes that we are able to provide consistent service,” Stripling explained. “They like the fact that we can maintain our service level at even 100 yards per hour or better. Keeping up that fast pace increases their production numbers.”
Walker Sales Manager Mark Rongey said the company’s longtime relationship with Martin Concrete has grown stronger through the years. “Martin is probably one of our number one customers year in and year out. They've been great to us. Whenever there has been an issue (and there are very few), John Martin goes to bat for us,” Rongey said. “Despite having their own portable plants, John was able to get our nearby Newnan plant involved, which was a really good fit for the project.”
Even though Walker has been a part of many similar projects, Bridgeport had its own set of unique delivery requirements. Because of the massive size of the warehouse, some phases of the project required an overnight delivery rate of up to 100-yards an hour.
“At that rate, scheduling is definitely a challenge, but nothing we couldn’t handle,” said Stripling. “They started pouring at 1:00 a.m., and we’d try to have it finished up around 8 or 9 o’clock. We had to take care of this customer at night and still service other jobs during the day.”
Doing both required a team effort all the way around said Walker’s Larry Goodson. “Our Plant Managers and Dispatch Manager juggled fleet resources and drivers from other plants. Since we were routinely running 12 to 13 trucks on that job, we had to bring in loader operators from neighboring plants to keep up with the demand.”
With the project kicking off in the winter months, freezing weather was another challenge to overcome. Frigid nighttime temps required the last-minute addition of heated mixing water to increase the concrete’s temperature and ensure normal strength development despite the bitter cold.
Much of the 4000psi concrete mix specified for the slab-on-grade portion of the project contains a blend of #57 and #89 coarse aggregates which increases workability, results in a better finish and enhances the shrinkage characteristics of the concrete.
Walker’s entire production team was called upon to meet the challenging delivery schedule. “I don't think we can emphasize enough the demand on our personnel and how they all stepped up to get it done,” Goodson said. “Our workforce includes drivers with one to five years’ experience up to a 20-plus year driver, and they all show up at midnight. It's tiring, it’s a grind, it’s grueling, but at the end of the day, we come through and have a successful pour for the customer.”
Stripling agreed. “It was definitely a success due to all of our drivers. They worked really long hours to make this project happen. Everybody really pulled their weight. They don't complain about the hours, they’re ready to go.”
Dixon Lindsey, Jr., also known as Cowboy, has been driving for Walker for 23 years. Long overnight hours in all kinds of weather don’t faze Lindsey. “This is a fast-paced project, which I don't have a problem with,” Lindsey said. “I love the night work myself. It’s perfect for me. And if I’ve got something to do during the daytime, I can do that. I still do everything and get my sleep and come back in at night.”
Lindsey is proud to be part of the Bridgeport project for another reason. “It’s bringing a lot of jobs to Newnan. I’m glad for not only myself, but for the people in the area.”
Lindsey’s decades of hard work, dedication, and general positive attitude are always reflected in his work. Stripling noted, “The younger guys do look up to Cowboy and consider him somewhat of a mentor because they've seen that since he's been in the industry for so long, he's made a good career out of it. I think a lot of them strive to be like him.”
Speaking about the cooperation among all of Walker’s team members, Calhoun said, “The thing I'm always proud of is the cooperation from everyone at Walker. It takes the drivers and it takes the upper management to help make it possible to get all the materials in that we need for the job. So, that’s one of the biggest things that always impresses me – all of us coming together as one big company to make things happen.”