Paving the Way to Success
In the 27 years since Carolyn Stacks joined the Daniel B. Krieg, Inc., team, she’s had to wear many hats, often several of them at once. That fact is still true today, but as Stacks is proud to explain, now she is an owner of the company that she has given so much to and that she so heartily believes in.
This married mother of one grew up in Carlisle, graduating from Boiling Springs High School and then Penn State University with a degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management with an emphasis in accounting.
She worked for several hotel properties after graduation, but “eventually realized that the demands of a hotel general manager did not coincide with my desire to spend time with my daughter,” Stacks said.
She left the hotel industry and started doing some accounting work, eventually ending up as the head of the Daniel B. Krieg, Inc., accounting department, where she quickly identified inefficiencies within the system and through careful scrutiny was “able to cut expenses dramatically,” she said. “I’m now married to Dan and have acquired ownership over the years.”
Her daughter has also been working for the company for several years now, making it a fourth-generation business.
The family-owned company, which began in 1933, started by selling 55-gallon drums of oil and eventually expanded into oiling and chipping roads. Today, it mainly provides paving-maintenance services and supports those in the paving industry, along with offering a thriving resale operation.
“I knew next to nothing about the industry and really just learned along the way through day-to-day experience,” Stacks said. “It’s important to know that we are not a ‘paving’ company. We don’t actually pave.”
As a part of their paving-maintenance services, they do “apply the ‘tack’ coat that binds the old pavement to the new pavement, we seal the paving seams after paving, and we perform crack filling prior to and after paving,” Stacks said.
“We also sealcoat commercial and industrial parking lots. We make our services available 24/7 and have been known to receive calls in the middle of the night from a customer whose equipment has broken down and, without us showing up, would [have to] shut down the paving for the shift.”
Stacks is proud to note that her company has been featured in the Central Penn Business Journal as one of the December 2012 Top 25 Woman-Owned Businesses, one of the August 2012 Fastest-Growing Companies, and one of the December 2015 Top Woman-Owned Businesses.
But she is also quick to note that the company wouldn’t be nearly so successful without the support of an experienced team.
“We have employees with many years of service with our company,” Stacks said. “They are the best at what they do and take much pride in their work. We try to make a positive difference in our employees’ lives as well. We can’t do what we do without a great team.”
Being a woman in the paving industry hasn’t been much of a hindrance for Stacks because “when you’re knowledgeable about the industry and your specific services and products, the gender issue becomes a nonstarter,” she said. “Most customers are simply happy to be able to get some answers about the most effective and efficient application for their specific needs.”
Additionally, she was happy to share that six of their 20 employees are female, and “two of those are truck drivers who work directly on the highway crews,” she said.
As in any business working within the service industry, there are challenges that must be faced, and two of the biggest occur within their pavement-maintenance service program.
“First is getting our foot in the door,” Stacks said, “and then trying to do the highest-quality work in an industry that includes competitors that cut corners and can therefore offer a lower price for their work.”
One example is the importance of filling parking lot cracks properly.
“The most important thing you can do to increase the life of your pavement is to properly crack fill,” she said. “Those cracks are telling you that your subbase is failing.
“When considering a contractor, ask them if they’ll be blowing out the existing dirt prior to filling the cracks. If they simply go over the existing dirt, the crack filler will not adhere to the blacktop and the crack will simply open up again.”
Stacks feels it is imperative to show her gratitude for her many blessings by giving back to others.
“I have volunteered in the past for Meals on Wheels and the Women’s Shelter at the Bethesda Mission,” she said. “I am currently a volunteer at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and have consistently contributed thousands to the food bank each year.”
Her philosophy with her charity choices is simple.
“If an individual is lacking the most basic of necessities (food, shelter), they have little chance of lifting themselves out of their circumstances,” Stacks said.
It is her belief that anything can be accomplished with determination and effort.
“Throughout my journey, I’ve learned that persistence and hard work are very rewarding,” Stacks said.
And just as it is essential to keep the foundation of a paving job solid, stable, and crack free, it’s also important to her to keep her company on a solid and stable base by constantly educating herself on the latest policies and regulations that affect the business and the industry overall.
“The information I’m learning helps me to become a better administrator and also helps me personally,” Stacks said. “I’ll continue to work to keep Daniel B. Krieg, Inc., a leader in this area for our services.” BW