At the Beginning
Earle J. Breneman began his career in 1941 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania when he purchased the construction division of Pottstown Valite Company that was located on South Keim Street, Pottstown, PA. On January 5, 1942, E.J. Breneman became incorporated and was known as E.J. Breneman, Inc.
In 1944, E.J. Breneman purchased 87 acres in North Coventry Township, Chester County. This area contained a large slag deposit. The office was relocated from Pottstown to the new property. The company then specialized in the supply of road tar, asphalt, stone, slag and, gravel. In addition, Breneman contracted to build roadways, parking lots and, railroad siding construction.
One of the earlier projects was to supply processed slag material used for the base course of the then new, Schuylkill Expressway and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
In 1946, the company leased and modernized a limestone quarry near Sinking Spring. The lease period was for 10 years with two ten - year options. Joseph Schmidt was hired in 1950. In 1954, Earle Breneman became president of Harlem Blacktop Company and promptly moved the plant from Harlem, Pennsylvania to Douglassville, PA. He also purchased a second plant to be erected in Wescosville, PA. E.J. Breneman, Inc. supplied stone to Douglassville plant and Eastern Lime to Wescosville while Harned-Durham supplied asphalt to both plants. In 1958, the company erected a bituminous concrete plant at that location. Breneman then began to focus on construction of roadways and parking areas for local municipalities and the construction of railroad sidings for industry.
In 1958, E.J. Breneman made a decision to construct a bituminous concrete plant at Sinking Spring. This led to the sale of E.J. Breneman´s involvement in Harlem Blacktop Company. This decision, which made E.J. Breneman, Inc. more competitive in the Reading area and less dependant on municipalities in the Pottstown area, started the company´s re-orientation away from Pottstown to Reading, PA.
In 1966, Breneman exercised its last 10-year lease on the quarry property in Sinking Spring. Two years later, Breneman purchased all liquid asphalt equipment and accounts of J.D. Prosser, of Spring City, PA.
Earle Breneman´s son Bradley Breneman, company vice-president, suffered a severe back injury while skiing. Due to this accident and other related mishaps, Earle lost interest in continuing the business. Bradley Breneman passed away in 1970 and Earle decided to sell the company.
Several firms negotiated with the family. Along with these firms, five management employees of E.J. Breneman, Inc. led by Joseph Schmidt also negotiated for control of the company.
1971 – The Company Changes Hands
In April 1971, the five employees finalized the purchase of the company. The employees consisted of Joseph Schmidt, President, Ray Beissel and George Williams, Vice-Presidents, Randall Bright, Secretary and Jack McGowan, Treasurer. A decision in the autumn of 1971 was made to increase the capacity of the bituminous plant by erecting two 150 ton storage silos. The storage silos were erected ready for the construction season that next year.
In 1972, Tropical Storm Agnes completely flooded the Pottstown office of Breneman. With the help of a SBA loan, the office was gutted and rebuilt.
In 1975, Breneman purchased land which includes the present quarry and blacktop operations. In early 1979, the new owners expanded capacity at the asphalt plant by purchasing and installing a Cedar Rapids Drum Mix Bituminous Concrete Plant. This plant also had the capability to recycle RAP material into the new hot mix material. The plant significantly increased capacity to produce bituminous concrete at a lower cost. E.J Breneman, Inc. continued to expand the quarry, and increase land holdings at the Sinking Spring location.
In 1983, E.J. Breneman, Inc. moved into the Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling business. E.J. Breneman, Inc. purchased a new BARCO 800 down cutting milling machine and entered the roadway recycling era. In 1985, E.J. Breneman sold the Pottstown land and office and established a new office in West Reading before moving a year later to the Sinking Spring site.
In 1986, Joseph Schmidt and Randall Bright became the sole stockholders of the firm. Four long-time employees, Roger Schmidt, John Burger, Larry Yerger, and Rodney Essig became shareholders in 1987. At this time E.J. Breneman, Inc. hired its first sales person. Breneman was one of the first in the industry to employ sales people to promote its company´s innovative processes .
With growth in the industry and the acceptance of
Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling
, Breneman was able to purchase a second BARCO 800 Milling machine in 1988. During this time, Breneman also purchased 53 acres of Farmland adjoining the quarry, from Clarence J. Snyder. Control of the company passed from Joseph Schmidt and Randall Bright in 1989 to the new partners. Roger Schmidt became President, Larry Yerger - Vice President, & Treasurer, Rodney Essig - Vice President and John Burger - Vice President, & Secretary. The company also purchased a BMG drum mix plant in order to increase production capability. The older Cedar Rapids drum mix plant was relocated to the quarry and was placed into the soil re-mediation service.
1990 to the Present
In 1990, Breneman constructed a 17,500 square foot shop on the quarry property to provide sufficient space for Breneman to re-build and service its fleet of construction equipment and highway vehicles. John Burger terminated his employment with Breneman and his stock was purchased by the majority stockholders. Breneman saw that alternate technologies in the road building business were starting to change the way departments of transportation looked at rehabilitating their highways. A decision was made to start a Micro-surfacing Division and a Crack-sealing Division for the 1992 construction season.
In February 1993, a new partnership was formed when E.J. Breneman, Inc. and Berks Products formed a new paving company to be known as EJB Paving & Materials Company . A third Cold In-Place Asphalt Recycling train was purchased in 1995 from Caterpillar. In 1996, Breneman built a new office and moved its staff in June of the same year. Steve Bright became a partner with E.J. Breneman, Inc. during this time period. Breneman also visited the State of Florida Department of Transportation in Tallahassee and entered talks with the Florida Department of Aviation. The following year, E.J. Breneman, Inc. completed a Design Build project for the Quincy-Gadsden Municipal Airport Authority. This was the first project constructed by Breneman in the State of Florida. Also in 1997, Breneman purchased its first Reclaimer, a CMI-650, and started a new division with Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) .
In 1998, Breneman closed its quarry and scale house. An office was opened in Orlando, Florida from which a full time sales person and office personnel worked. The leadership team continued the expansion into alternative road maintenance processes and increased bituminous plant capacities, and began a land development project adjacent to the quarry. Breneman also purchased its first Ultra-Thin Hot Mix machine from Midland Machinery late in 1998. The Ultra-Thin Hot Mix process soon grew into its own division and added another new dimension to the alternative technologies field. John DeMartino and Michael Polak became two new partners with E.J. Breneman, Inc. The newly established EJB Paving & Materials Company constructed a new state-of-the-art Astec Double Barrel hot mix plant in the Berks Products quarry in Leesport, PA. This gave the company two asphalt plants on one site to serve the Berks County and surrounding area with hot mix asphalt.
In 2000, the legal I.D. of E.J. Breneman was changed from a Corporation to a Limited Partnership and was registered to work in 12 states. In 2001, a new partner, Philip Wagner, joined the company. A second Ultra-Thin Hot Mix paver was also purchased by Breneman at this time.
In 2002, the old quarry in Sinking Spring was sold to Spring Township. E.J. Breneman constructed a test section for NCAT using the
Ultra-Thin Hot Mix process. Breneman also purchased a third Ultra-Thin Hot Mix paver.
E.J. Breneman has continued to expand its operations into new geographical areas. Today, E. J. Breneman, operates in approximately twenty-seven states servicing many transportation departments, counties, cities, and municipalities. We are nationally recognized as a leader in many processes, including:
EJ Breneman has been featured in many local and national publications
E.J. Breneman is regularly invited to present and discuss our processes to various engineering groups, local governments, transportation departments, the Federal Highway Administration and many other entities.