SALUTE TO INDUSTRY: Wayne Davis Concrete building on family legacy in Lanett

Published 10:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2024

Under the dusty boots, support beams and hard hats of every construction site is a firm foundation. The quality of the concrete poured decides whether that structure will be with the community for the long haul.

Wayne Davis Concrete is a ready-mix concrete supplier. The company is a privately held, family-operated business, and it shows in the way it values its employees, community and customers.

In fact, many on the management staff got their start as truck drivers, loaders and plant operators. That’s a fact to which Lanett Plant Manager Hunter Spruill can testify.

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“The company tries to take good care of not just the community but also their employees,” Spruill said. “… I’m not going anywhere.”

After seven years dedicated to the company, Spruill has become just one more example of why Wayne Davis has stood solidly with the community for so many years.

Spruill started out with the company in LaGrange as a truck driver. He drove what is commonly referred to as the mixer truck.

“To my knowledge, there’s two different types of concrete plants,” Spruill said. “There’s a dry mix and a wet mix. We’re considered a dry mix.”

Being a “dry mix” plant means that the concrete goes into the truck dry and is mixed while it is being delivered.

Spruill began being trained to help manage the Lanett plant, and one year ago, he was promoted to plant manager. He said the company gives quarterly bonuses and pays employees a fair salary.

“They pay you what you’re worth,” Spruill said.

Safety is also a priority for the company. Spruill said he puts the safety of his employees above all when it comes to risk.

The Davis family began to make a name for itself in the mid-1960s with small grading and asphalt paving projects. The oldest Wayne Davis ready-mix plant is still open today in Tallapoosa, Georgia. Wayne and Joyce Davis opened the plant in 1971.

By 1980, the company had expanded to three plants and been incorporated as a Georgia corporation. Unfortunately, in 1989, Wayne Davis passed away, leaving his wife Joyce and their children to operate the business.

Today, Chris Davis is the CEO, Wade Davis is the vice president of Quality Assurance and Todd Davis is the head of operations, while Joyce’s nephew, Richard Davis, is the president.

Over the past 50 years, the company has expanded around Northwest Georgia — and now Alabama — currently operating 19 ready-mix plants, and over 110 ready-mix trucks. The plants have integrated technology into the process from batching to processing customer billing.

Though it was once a small family business, Wayne Davis Concrete now employs approximately 250 people across the 19 plants. It has become the largest family-owned ready-mix concrete producer based in West Georgia.

The Lanett plant held its ribbon cutting on September 14, 2022. With 12 total employees, two of which are in training, the Lanett plant is a fairly small one. But Spruill said they have all they need.

“We’re pretty well stocked, which is a good problem to have,” Spruill said.

But what does the plant really do? Tucked away in the back of the Huguley industrial park, Spruill said there are still a lot of people who don’t even know that the company is there. Not only do his drivers batch and deliver ready-mix concrete, but they also sell gravel and sand.

After eight years working with the product, Spruill said one of his pet peeves is when people use “concrete” and “cement” interchangeably.

“My whole life everybody’s called concrete ‘cement’ and cement ‘concrete,’ like it’s interchangeable,” he said. “But if it’s at this stage, this is concrete.”

They are two different materials used in construction. Cement is an ingredient in the making of concrete. It is a binding agent that is made from limestone and clay. Whereas concrete is made from mixing cement, water, sand and rock.

Think of cement as the egg and concrete as the bread dough.

Some of the projects that the Lanett plant has worked on include the construction zone in front on Phillips Road, the Fox Run Village in Opelika and an ALDOT project in Valley.

Looking ahead, Account Manager Jason Moore said the company is also bidding on the development of the Lanett airport and the new high school in Valley for the Chambers County School District.

Wayne Davis has made a concrete foundation within the communities that it serves. One of the core values that Wayne Davis Concrete highlights is its commitment to respecting the communities it serves.

“We’re a team that cares …,” Spruill said. “[Wayne Davis Concrete] doesn’t just want to sell a product. They want to be a staple in the community.”

Spruill said the Lanett Plant makes an effort to give back to the community wherever they can. Like many industries in the Greater Valley area, they sponsored the Valley Merry-Go- Round this year. Last year during Christmas, the company hosted eight fundraisers across the different plants and raised $61,940.

The company was able to provide Christmas presents for 207 kids across the service area, which stretches all the way from Elijay, Georgia, to the Lanett and Valley area. Lanett is only the second plant in Alabama, but Spruill said the company is looking to further expand into the state in the future. Either way, Wayne Davis Concrete plans to be in Lanett for the long haul.