The definition of family can vary from one person to the next. Some may say that family is the descendants of a common ancestor —blood relatives. Others may lean towards what is known as a found family — the family we choose. At Warren Paving, Inc., family goes beyond the usual definitions. A number of employees have worked at Warren Paving for over 40 years, bringing their own children onboard and creating a second generation of Warren Paving employees. Pair this with the company’s commitment to their local communities and the families they have reached with their philanthropic work, and it is clear to see that Warren Paving is not made up of just one family, it is a family of families.
Warren Paving, Inc. provides asphalt paving services and was founded in 1952. Since its founding, the company has grown from a small asphalt company to the highly diverse company it is today. With over 300 employees spread across 15 locations, Warren Paving has evolved into a paving company, an aggregate company, and a transportation company. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the company offers a range of services including milling, resurfacing, grading, soil stabilization, marine transportation and more.
In the early 90s, Warren Paving was operating out of the north side of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, before shutting down and moving to the south side of Hattiesburg. The company began to experience their first major growth spurt in 1992, which helped increase the overall size of the company. In 1998, Warren Paving opened a facility in Gulfport Mississippi, which is where current President/CEO, Steven Warren, resides.
Warren had been working in the business since he was 12 years old. His days after school were spent immersed in the company and as he grew, so did the business. Warren went from a plant operator to foreman, before entering project management and becoming vice president. Then, in April of 2018, Warren bought out his father and became president of Warren Paving.
“I grew up in the business. I came here every day after school. So, it’s just a normal part of my life. I’ve never known anything else. We got in the sand and gravel business and started producing standard gravel for ourselves to make us vertically integrated. As those reserves played out in the mid 90s or the mid 2000s, we started looking for property to put a limestone quarry, and we found a place in Kentucky right outside of Salem. Now we ship limestone to Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Southern Kentucky.”
Incredibly, since the takeover in 2018, the company has grown by over 150% in revenue. Warren Paving currently runs roughly 185 barges and has recently put in a new asphalt facility in Moss Point, Mississippi this year. Overall, the company has 15 rock retail distribution yards, where they sell rock at different locations — most of which are in Louisiana.
While the company’s name might lead one to believe paving is its sole focus, Warren Paving’s “paving” business includes such diverse activities as asphalt manufacturing and FOB sales, general contracting for road and airport runway construction, milling, and of course paving work in subdivisions, overlays on public roads, and parking lot construction at commercial and industrial sites. The company also produces limestone aggregate at its Slats Lucas Quarry in Kentucky, gravel at its gravel pit near Angie Louisiana, and transports and sells sand, gravel, and limestone produced by third parties. The need to move limestone from its quarry to its asphalt plants and retail rock yards as well as to deliver asphalt and aggregates is what drove Warren Paving’s expansion into maritime and over the road transportation.
“With such a range of services, safety is of the utmost importance to all at Warren Paving.”
With such a range of services, safety is of the utmost importance to all at Warren Paving. The company’s safety philosophy is simple, they want to make sure that every worker arrives home safe that night. The strict focus on safety led to the comply receiving the Louis Griesemer Sterling Safety Award for 2022. This award was presented by The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), and recognizes operations that maintain a safe workplace, evidenced by its safety performance over a consecutive period without an MSHA-reportable injury. This specific award recognizes NSSGA member companies that have the lowest total accident incidence rate for the previous year in their size category.
Achieving an award for safety is no easy task for any company, especially with the total amount of projects that a company undertakes each year. With Warren Paving having a life span of over 50 years, it has completed a successful portfolio of work. However, a project that will always stand out for Warren was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At 29 years of age, Warren had taken over as manager and believes this was a point in his life where a lot of lessons were learned.
“I think the one that would stick out in my head more than anything is the rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Mississippi got wiped off the map. We have a highway that’s about 30 miles long. It runs across Harrison County that’s called highway 90. That four-lane highway was pretty much completely missing. So, a lot of reconstruction or resurfacing of roads from the storm cleanup and increased weight and traffic from the big trucks, removing debris. That was a pretty unique time. I think that first year after Katrina once we started to work, we worked 363 days out of 365.”
With Warren Paving Inc. being a vertically integrated company, it allows the company to control every variable of the project from mining and shipping of limestone to the placement of asphalt pavement and all aspects in between. But while the company’s main focus may appear to be paving, there are also other aspects of the business that are important to the people at Warren Paving Inc. The company is very much aware of the community that is has grown from and supports a number of projects and organizations, ranging from arts organizations to animal causes to business councils. Aiming to build a better future for the next generation is a responsibility that the people at Warren Paving take very seriously, even referring to this as their true passion.
In addition to this, Warren Paving has made a commitment to supporting school systems within its local communities by evaluating the best ways to support each local school system. The company tries to choose a school in each location to donate $5000. On top of this, Warren Paving has also provided computers, educational supplies, and teaching aids. In some circumstances, the business has also helped build tracks, playing fields, parking lots and playgrounds.
“My father was really good about sharing things. If we make money, we share it with our employees and community. We take care of our people. We’ve got a lot going on and you can’t do it by yourself. We have donated money to CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. We have also donated parking lots for the Local Children’s Museum, The Gulfport Little Theatre. We believe the better the community is, the better off we are.”
Positive family relationships are built on quality time, communication, teamwork, and appreciation of each other. Warren Paving Inc has taken these positive family traits and injected them into a superior business model that has not only survived, but thrived for over half a century.
As for what is in store for the future, Steven Warren has no intention of being anywhere else except Warren Paving for the next 15 years. His plan is to look for opportunities where the company can do better and continue to grow bigger and stronger. After the company matures enough to celebrate a century in business, the people at Warren Paving will have already successfully completed their mission and paved the way for the next generation.
A new generation provides the opportunity for new business ventures, new projects, new challenges, and new employees; But most importantly, it provides the opportunities for the next generation of Warren Paving families.