New Holstein native Bob Bosma— who manages Tri-County Ready Mix— has been around for a lot of the more recent changes in the company, having started with Van Der Vaart in 1976 as a truck driver. He managed maintenance at Van Der Vaart’s yard on Sheboygan’s south side before being able to start working back in his hometown in 1991.
Some big, unusual jobs over years
Bosma has helped on some of the biggest and most unusual projects Van Der Vaart has done over the years. He highlighted the 17-story Wisconsin Power & Light power plant in Sheboygan in which cranes and pumps were used to deliver concrete where needed for the huge turbine house base. Other big concrete jobs have included the Sheboygan wastewater plant, Kohler Co. warehouse, Holsum dairy plants near Chilton, bridges along I-43 when it was first built, and many of the Wal-Marts in the area, including Chilton’s. “Those are average projects these days,” Bosma said of the large, colored concrete Wal-Mart floors.
When a large project comes along, Van Der Vaart can and has called in crews and equipment from all its locations to help. Sometimes the work can be around the clock, such as the three-day project to weight down an intake tube under the waters of Lake Michigan. Bosma was one of the truck drivers who drove their concrete-filled trucks onto large barges, which then ferried the trucks to the job site out on the lake.
There also have been 24-hour silo pours for companies such as Briess Malting in Chilton, or the Sheboygan power plant stack which was 40 feet around at the base and 10 feet around at the top.
While those have been some of the bigger jobs Van Der Vaart has done, Bosma said the company continues to do the smallest of jobs as well for area homeowners. Van Der Vaart serves an area from lower Brown County south to Ozaukee County and from Lake Michigan to Lake Winnebago, but generally will not go further than that with concrete because its quality can start to deteriorate if kept in the trucks too
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long. The company serves all of eastern Wisconsin with block and building and landscape supplies
“We don’t try to be the cheapest, we try to provide a quality product at a fair price,” Bosma said. “Anyone can sell on low price.”
He added that the agriculture/agribusiness sector has been good for the company in recent years as more farms of all sizes are using concrete pads for storage instead of silos. He said he envisions that market staying strong for a while.
The landscaping sector also is big for Van Der Vaart, and the Tri-County Ready Mix yard has a wide variety of landscaping pavers and blocks from which customers can choose. Van Der Vaart is a dealer of UniLock products— which produces the Mesa Retaining Wall System—and the company has a landscape designer who will work with customers on planning their projects.
Van Der Vaart employs about 75 people, with eight to 10 of those in New Holstein during the busier warm-weather months—although concrete can be and is poured right through the winter.
For more information check out www.vandervaartinc.com.