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From Arch to Alamo

image John Pearson (center) general manager of Hayden Paving, San Antonio, flanked by project managers Jeremy Charles (left) and Garrett Hudler (right).

SAN ANTONIO - John Pearson and his family are fitting right in with their new home of San Antonio: they love the annual rodeo.








    Another perk of being down here, as opposed to St. Louis where he was before, or even his native Chicago, is he has no trouble generating work all year round. As the general manager for Hayden Paving’s San Antonio office, Pearson likes having the ability to lay down fresh asphalt even during our “winters.”
    With the booming economy and building, Pearson does primarily new construction paving and many, many schools. Part of this work at schools deals with their athletic needs such as tracks, football fields and tennis courts. Believe it or not, a high school or college track has the exact same asphalt under it as is used in the parking lot. The big difference is the spongy surface put on top of it.
    “It’s still asphalt,” Pearson said, “but not every paving contractor can do that type of work.”
    A unique quality of the football field - and why so many schools are going with the new turf - is they are designed to drain rain through it to a drainage system below it. This way, rain doesn’t create puddles which can impact play, not to mention a muddy grass field can get chewed up and need a lot of maintenance between games.
    Pearson graduated from Southern Illinois, Evansville, with a degree in engineering. Prior to working at Hayden, he was working for another paving company in St. Louis as the Director of Operations. Via the professional website LinkedIn, Pearson and Hayden Paving met one another, and he was hired to run the new San Antonio office of the Houston-based company. Pearson moved down here on Jan. 1, 2017 and was at work Jan. 2.
    Pearson said Hayden does a lot of work in Comal County and towards Boerne. Within the paving world, asphalt can be customized for whatever the client needs. “A small parking lot at a dentist’s office might need one type of material,” he said, “and a big parking lot at a manufacturing plant might want a different type of material.” A big reason for this is the type of traffic that will be run on any given surface.
    The ideal goal of any new construction project for Pearson is not only get the initial contract but be asked to come back in subsequent years. “You try to make relationships with the customer [so that] five years later, they call you back to do the maintenance work,” he said. Pearson calls it “a cyclical program: you install it and you maintain it.”
    A big project Pearson has been involved in was the taxiway expansion at the Corpus Christi airport.
    For their parking lot work, Hayden Paving subcontracts the striping portion of it.
    Technology has vastly improved the world of paving, not only in the machines laying it down, but the actual paving material itself. Pearson said the pavers “have come a long way,” even having sensors on them to tell the operator what the thickness of the asphalt is as he rolls over it.
    Further, “The quality of the material going down has improved,” Pearson said. Some of the asphalt will have fibrous material in it.
    “Asphalt is the most recycled material in the world,” he added. “Every new ton of asphalt you buy will have a percentage of recycled material in it.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 80 tons of asphalt pavement is recycled every year. One such material used in asphalt is old house shingles.
    Between the warmer weather and booming building projects, business for Hayden Paving in San Antonio is looking good. “It’s been enjoyable,” Pearson said, of his time here so far. He’s come from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to the Alamo in San Antonio.
    Oh, and the next rodeo will be Feb. 6 - 23, 2020. Pearson and his family will be there.
    Hayden Paving is a Houston-based paving contractor with an office in San Antonio. -dsz

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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net