Monarch Cement of Humboldt acquires Pittsburg’s American Concrete

PITTSBURG, Kan. — One of the area’s pioneer businesses has become part of another area company, according to an announcement today.

American Concrete Company, a Pittsburg business owned and operated locally for more than 50 years, has been acquired by Monarch Cement Company, of Humbolt.

The familiar red, white and blue logos on the white concrete trucks, however, will continue to roll through the community, as the name American Concrete Company will be retained, with the company becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Monarch, a publicly traded company.

American has grown with the Pittsburg area under a single family’s stewardship for over half a century. The recently completed overpass on Fourth Street over the railroad tracks was built with concrete supplied by American and the structure will be named “Dennis Crain Memorial Bridge” in his honor, passed by the Kansas Legislature during the last session.

“I was glad to see it completed,” said Justin Crain. “Though he would likely not have admitted it, dad would have been proud to have been recognized.”

William (Bill) and Marilyn Noble purchased the company from Jim Heckert in 1971. Marilyn was a school teacher in the Pittsburg Community Schools, and Bill oversaw the day-to-day operations until his retirement in 1989.

At that time, Jane and Dennis Crain (Bill and Marilyn’s daughter and son-in-law) purchased the company from them. Jane has been with the company since the beginning as secretary and treasurer. Dennis started working in the family business one month after he and Jane were married in 1974, serving as plant manager.

Dennis and Jane’s son, Justin, joined the company as a youngster and is currently serving as general manager.

Dennis, Jane and Justin were born and raised in Pittsburg. Dennis graduated from College High School in 1969. Jane graduated from the same school in 1971. Their son Justin graduated from Pittsburg High School in 1997 as well as Pittsburg State University.

Justin will remain with the company as manager of American Concrete in Pittsburg.

“We had no intention of selling the business until were approached by Walter Wulf, chairman of the board at Monarch, when he asked if we were interested in selling,” said Justin. “My family has been friends of Wulf for many years and he had been visiting with us representing Monarch products.

“This business has been my whole life,” Justin said. “We just wanted to be sure our loyal customers and employees were considered during the change of ownership.

“The sale process has been emotionally and physically exhausting, however we feel we have chosen a successor that will continue our family traditions and continue to serve our customers and remain a mainstay in the community with quality products and service,” continued Justin.

“We are proud to say that we have replaced our fleet of trucks, over the years, added a new state of the art batch plant in 1993. In 2008, we again improved productivity and efficiency with a new state of the art computerized batching system. We currently have a fleet of mixer trucks, and one dump truck for customer needs.”

Monarch has ordered two new concrete mixer trucks for the fleet. American Concrete currently has six employees.

“We are extremely happy to have American as part of our family,” said Monarch President Kent Webber. “They are a solid well-run company today and are sure they will continue to be in the future.”

Monarch owns 15 other ready-mix operations in the Midwest, and the company says American Concrete will be a perfect fit with the others.

Founded in 1908, Monarch Cement Company (MCEM) “has forged a solid foundation for more than a century,” according to its website. “It reinforces our commitment to our customers throughout the Midwest. It paves a path to innovation, to use technology for smarter, more efficient results that are also good for the planet. […] Roots run deep at Monarch, and the Company story is one of integrity, quality and extraordinary people whose pride shows in every detail.”