In 1980, with his extensive experience servicing Boeing Drum Mix Asphalt Plants throughout the United States and Canada, John Ferris founded Aesco Madsen under the original name of Asphalt Equipment & Service Company (AESCO) as a registered corporation in the state of Washington. With a lean start-up investment of just $1,500 and a modest 1,700 square foot rental office/warehouse in Renton, Washington, the company’s primary purpose was to provide both field service and parts support to the road construction industry for asphalt plant related equipment. The initial customer base consisted of contractors throughout the U.S. and Canada equipped with Boeing Construction Equipment Company (BCEC) asphalt plants, as this is where the company’s main expertise consisted of.
In its earliest stages, the company would provide on-site calibrations, consulting, and troubleshooting service on both an emergency and regularly scheduled basis. Gradually, as AESCO honed its service efforts and increased its customer base, the variety of asphalt plants they serviced expanded in scope as well. The company would eventually evolve from one which simply providing field technical support, to a company that offered replacement parts sales; individual & custom control systems; electrical & mechanical parts supply; design of basic individual plant components; plant efficiency improvements; and plant conversions from batch plants to parallel flow drum mixers.
Within just two years AESCO had carved its name within the industry through its extensive service successes and resulting customer base growth. By the end of 1981 AESCO was one of, if not the only, company in North America offering both retro-fit and after-market sales as well as services and parts for all existing and new asphalt plants.
The growth would continue over the following two years and by the end of 1983, AESCO had attracted the attention of many of the manufactures that supplied individual pre-engineered products to the asphalt industry. As a result, AESCO became a Dealer or Authorized Sales/Service Representative for many of the well-known brands including those for: Burners, Belt Scales, Truck Scales, Batch Plant Controls, Asphalt Tank Heaters, Asphalt Meters, and others.
The years 1984 through 1986 were spent growing a base of loyal customers, as well as expanding company personnel in the areas of service, sales, manufacturing, and administration. AESCO would additionally spend these years expanding its product line, services offered, parts inventory, and capital equipment necessary to support the company’s expanding activities.
To handle this steady growth, in 1987 AESCO relocated its operations to a newly purchased 10,000 square foot facility in Auburn, Washington equipped with a fenced and secured storage area for larger pieces of equipment. At that time, the facility was designed to support the company’s present as well as future operations by providing adequate office, warehouse and manufacturing space.
The following decade spent at the new Auburn location brought about a progressive change for AESCO. There was a noticeable demand from customers who were seeking the design and manufacture of larger pieces of asphalt plant equipment, but with the quality and attention to detail AESCO had become known for. In response to this demand, AESCO focused on strengthening its development of internal structure and mechanical engineering designs. Additional personnel were then brought on to support the company’s widened scope of production and service.
Possibly the most monumental year in AESCO’s company history was 1997, when it purchased the exclusive rights to the Madsen name as well as Madsen’s complete Asphalt Plant Product Line. Madsen, which began its operations in 1910, was one of the world’s major Asphalt Plant Equipment Producers during its prime, producing over 1,200 Batch Asphalt Plants. While much of these Batch Type Plants utilized older plant technology, AESCO recognized this opportunity to advance itself within the industry, all while providing a benefit to the more than 400 existing Madsen plant owners. The outdated technology of these plants was now under the umbrella of AESCO, an industry expert in retro-fitting plants to extend their viable production.
Just as, if not more important than the business received through the purchase of Madsen, was the world-wide recognition of the Madsen name; as it instantaneously endorsed AESCO throughout the U.S. and Canada as an industry up and comer. In order to maintain the identity of expertise and service AESCO had forged over its first seventeen years, while still tapping into the longstanding industry recognition of the Madsen name; the two were united by the company resulting in the new title of Aesco Madsen.
From 1997 to 2002 Aesco Madsen would design and produce individual products meeting the changing needs of the Asphalt Plant Retro-Fit Industry. These products would include: Recycled Asphalt (RAP) Handling Machinery such as a compact Hammermill style RAP Crusher; a complete Stand Alone RAP Processing/Screening and Crushing Trailer; the only rotary mixer in the industry without Steel Tires or Trunnions; complete Lime/Slurry Plants; Portable & Stationary Asphalt Tanks; Portable & Stationary Mix Storage Silos; Anti-Strip, Latex, and a myriad of Asphalt Additive Systems.
These years also saw Aesco Madsen debut its first line of complete Asphalt Plants. The “DM Series” plants consisted of Highly Portable Parallel Flow Plants ranging in sizes from 80 to 230 tons per hour (TPH). The larger “GB Series” plants were Parallel Flow Drum Mix Plants ranging in sizes from 250 to 500 TPH. This new line of products brought about greater exposure, and as a result, Aesco Madsen was able to expand its Sales reach into Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and even as far as the Russian Republic of Georgia.
In 2003, increasingly stringent air pollution requirements led the Asphalt Plant Industry to call for more efficient equipment, as well as a means to utilize higher percentages of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP). The industry responded with the introduction of the Counter-Flow Drum Mix Dryer, which satisfied both of these requirements. The advanced dryers quickly became the industry standard and catalyzed the eventual fade out of Parallel Flow Drum Mixer production.
Being ever conscious of the environmental footprint associated with its products, Aesco Madsen began developing its “CFM” Counter-Flow Drum Mix Plant Product Line ranging in size from 160 to 500 TPH; with the capability of adding upwards of 40% Recycled Asphalt Pavement. Additionally, the development of their proprietary “High Ratio” Baghouses, which required substantially less cloth, low pressure drops, and much less energy to operate would solidify Aesco Madsen as a leading company amongst the environmentally conscious asphalt production movement. The year 2003 marked Aesco Madsen’s development of its “Self-Erect” Mix Storage Silo Product Line, making its Counter-Flow Drum Mix Plants even more portable & user-friendly to erect.
The following six years focused on the development of new products, improvement of existing products and expansion of the company’s base of loyal customers.
In 2009 Aesco Madsen released its “Warm Mix” system, taking another significant step towards lowering both its environmental impact, as well as the cost of operations seen by its clients. The Warm Mix system injects various additives such as water & certain chemicals to lower mix temperatures. This ultimately reduces fuel consumption by 12 to 13%, decreases overall air pollution and increases the percentage of Recycled Asphalt Pavement able to be incorporated into the mix.
The years 2010 to the present (2016) have been very active, seeing an additional two acres of land equipped with a 10,000 sq. ft. fabrication facility purchased in 2013 to accommodate the growing demand for Aesco Madsen Products. These past few years have also seen rapid growth in the parts sales division and an increase in plant production, with a myriad of new Counter-Flow Asphalt Plants installed throughout the Western U.S, Canada, and Mexico. In addition, “DM” Series Parallel Flow Plants were sold to Cameroon South Africa, Panama and Mexico.
The humble beginnings, from which Aesco Madsen rose, are not lost on its employees or founders. Experiencing sustained success in a competitive industry for nearly four decades is no accident. Instead, it is a result of dedication, drive, and a true commitment to progress. Today, this progressive state of mind is continuing within the walls of Aesco Madsen as the company paves a road for its future by bringing on a group of bright young minds committed to the industry. This next generation of Aesco Madsen employees has an immense respect for, and eagerness to learn from, the asphalt veterans within the company. As these young minds contribute to Aesco Madsen through their knowledge of current technologies, fresh ideas, networking, social media, energy and enthusiasm; Aesco Madsen’s future is as bright, or even brighter than its past.