Family is at the core of AC Asphalt Specialists, a Seymour-based company where a husband, wife, and kid sister operation grew to become the oldest mid-sized asphalt company in Northeast Wisconsin. While others in the industry have come and gone, AC Asphalt Specialists is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Owner Tom Snider vividly remembers the early days in business when the work was labor-intensive and the equipment was primitive compared with today’s high-tech machinery. “I virtually started this company with a Phillips screwdriver, next to my sister, on my hands and knees, digging in the dirt and cracks,” Tom said. Tom and his wife, Chris, own the company, and Tom’s sister Bobbi worked with them initially. “She was 5 foot tall and 100 pounds,” Tom said. Still, they got the work done.
Core strength is family
The company grew as more Sniders joined the effort. At age 17, the Sniders’ son, daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons all started working for the company. Someone in the Snider family has been on every job since AC Asphalt’s start in 1988. “We had eight family members working here at one time. Three started at 17, and they’re still with the company,” Tom said. “That’s the core strength of our company.”
Tom estimates that the current employees have an estimated 200 years of combined experience. The MVP of the organization is Chris. “She’s the heart and soul and brains of this thing. Everything goes through her,” Tom said. Tom is no slouch, either. He has been in the business since he was 17 when he spent his first summer after graduation working with an asphalt crew in Minneapolis. At age 30, he returned to college for six months of the year (when he wasn’t laying asphalt) and earned a business administration degree after eight years. “I paved my way through school,” Tom said with a smile.
Tom has had a few other jobs along the way, and when a fire damaged the building where he and his wife were employed, the couple was at a turning point in life. “Here we were with no jobs, and we said ‘What do we want to do?’ ‘Well, I know how to do asphalt,’ and that’s how it started,” Tom said.
Surviving the recession
AC Asphalt Specialists has had its ups and downs over the past 30 years, including the 2008 recession when the Sniders didn’t know if they could survive, but never thought of giving up. They had expanded their business, and the additional debt coupled with the lousy economy created a desperate situation. “We fought our way through and made it,” Tom said. “We are survivors, and we realized that when several other companies went under, the cream rose to the top.”
Retirement can wait
At 69, Tom is still bidding out jobs and working with the paving crew. It’s grueling work for people of any age. “Where I sit I have 350-degree asphalt flowing right underneath me. I have a little thermometer that is right where I sit. It’s over 200 degrees,” Tom said. There aren’t many 69-year-old asphalt pavers today, but Tom isn’t ready to retire. “It’s nice. I love doing what I’m doing,” he said.
About Us: “Specialists by Reputation,” AC Asphalt is a locally owned and family operated asphalt maintenance and installation company serving residential and commercial customers in Northeast Wisconsin.