It was the year IBM unveiled the first laptop computer, the year Americans celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the first time, and the year Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in the sky. It was 1986, and also was the year Ronnie Klatt founded Lauren Concrete with little more than a plan and four beat-up trucks. Klatt worked excruciatingly long days, faithfully paying his dues, planting seeds for future success, and adding a Mack® truck to his lineup.
THEN AND NOW
More than 30 years have passed since those meager beginnings, and Klatt’s seeds not only took root, but have grown exponentially over the past three decades. His Texas business now owns 20 batch plants and 10 million tons of sand and gravel reserves. It employs more than 400 people—including several family members—and is involved in some of the biggest development projects in Austin, Texas, such as construction of the US Federal Courthouse, Dell Medical School, and many more.
To this day, Klatt continues to count Mack trucks as favorites. In fact, 155 of the company’s 215 trucks are Macks. Klatt says he is sold on them because of their reliability, performance, and driver comfort.
The company’s mixer trucks are Mack Granites® with 11-liter MP7® 395 hp engines, 6-speed Allison transmissions, and 1,560 lb-ft of torque. The 2017 MP7 engine is about 51 lbs lighter than its predecessor, and features an updated wave piston design, which combined with the new common-rail fuel injection system, allows for more complete combustion, reduced emissions, and improved efficiency.
“Macks are the best trucks out there,” Klatt says. “They’re bulletproof.”
Klatt’s brother-in-law, Ryan Bartholomew, serves as Lauren Concrete’s CEO, and also is sold on Macks. He reports that the company’s fleet includes a ’98 model, a handful of ’99s, and several 2000 models.
“You can’t get rid of a good truck,” Bartholomew says. On average, each of the company’s Mack mixers mix from 7,000 to 9,000 yards of concrete per month, and routinely carry 20-ton loads. “Our jobsites are construction sites—uneven surfaces, rocky, muddy, and they really put the trucks to the test. Macks withstand that better than any truck we have used.”
Lauren Concrete’s Macks are equipped with GuardDog® Connect, a system that detects problems instantly and contacts Mack’s OneCall customer center with a fault code. Sometimes the system recognizes there’s a problem even before the driver does.
Technicians evaluate the fault code to determine the issue, then send diagnostics, a list of needed parts, and service instructions to the repair center that services the fleet. The GuardDog Connect system also tracks maintenance and repair data, eliminating surprises, and reducing the company’s administrative costs.
ADDING MORE MACKS
The company’s newest addition to its fleet is a Mack Granite Axle Back with standard mixer, which was demonstrated this spring at the ConExpo trade show in Las Vegas. This Granite is powered by an 11-liter MP7 425 hp engine, with 1,560 lb-ft of torque, and a Mack mDRIVE HD 14-speed automated manual transmission. It features a Cornerstone chassis, Mack PowerLeash engine brake, and Mack Grade Gripper hill assist, with 23,000 lb front axles and 46,000 lb rear axles.
Klatt hopes to add another 20 to 30 batch plants as his business continues to expand, and he says Macks will play a significant role in the company’s growth.
“Mack trucks do a great job for Lauren Concrete,” Klatt says. “They’re the best out there. We have a lot of Mack trucks, and we will always have a lot of Mack trucks.”