how gci inc. changed an industry
Gravel Conveyors Inc. was the first mobile material placement business in the US. News traveled fast in the US foundation business and Gravel Conveyors Inc. was selling shooter conveyors all over the country. Shooter conveyors would mount to existing truck body’s and convey(shoot) aggregate material up to 60ft away with variable control and 160 degree radius rotation.
A new industry was born!
Work that used to take days with men, machines, wheelbarrows and shovels was now only taking hours and with only ONE man! The truck bringing the material could now also place it to grade with little to no waste. The foundation business changed dramatically overnight. This new shooter system took the industry by storm. Builders could now build two foundations a day with one crew. Production was doubled and the mobile aggregate placing industry was on its way!
Fast Forward to 2004.
Travis Pettijohn steps in as general manager of Gravel Conveyors Inc. During his years building machines and relationships, he started making changes and updates. With the birth of the Internet in the mid to late 90s, Gravel Conveyors learned of a Canadian company that was building mobile aggregate placing bodies and conveyors as well.
Amidst making changes to the current system and designing the P-shooter Conveyor System, the US sank into one of the deepest recessions many of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. Emerging from the other side Gravel Conveyors was much leaner of a company. Building codes had changed and access was now a major difficulty. Some of GCI's customers went to Canada to buy these dedicated conveyor systems. There were now several live bottom aggregate placement conveyor body manufacturers but much less convenient and with very little knowledge on which way to go. Some customers had great success while others struggled with the change. Considering all these factors, Travis knew Gravel Conveyors Inc. and the existing business model had to change as well.
Having been lucky enough to have had most of the Canadian built conveyor systems in our shop, Travis admired the quality and durability of one particular body. This particular Canadian body, the WK Dahms “Stone Slinger” really stood apart from the rest.
With the thought of this system in the back of his mind, Travis began working on the idea of buying the existing company Gravel Conveyors Inc. and to start installing these bodies and running them here in our Indianapolis fleet in place of the current shooter conveyor system.
Travis soon made the call and spoke with Scott Nelson the Controlling Officer and owner of WK Dahm’s. After a long and pleasant conversation Scott Nelson and his son Todd Nelson drove down to Zionsville, IN to meet Travis in person and take a look at the facility. The 3 men spent the afternoon together swapping parallel stories of both being pioneers of the industry in each's own country and region. They went over the hydraulic system and realized the Gravel Conveyors Shooter system was very similar to Dahm’s system. This would make a very easy swap for existing customers especially when referring to service purposes.
Within days Gravel Conveyors was installing Stone Slinger units and was in the process of being bought by new Owner Travis Pettijohn. In 2013 Travis became the owner of GCI Slingers LLC. Travis soon replaced all his shooter fleet with Stone Slinger Trucks and began contacting new and old customers informing them of the benefits and explaining the numerous applications that could be accomplished with the WK Dahm’s Stone Slinger. From there, the business and industry has grown further than ever imagined from those long hot summer days when Travis was raking gravel as a kid.
With 25 years under his belt there is rarely a problem that Travis hasn't seen. Throughout the years Travis has acquired extensive hydraulic and electrical knowledge to diagnose most any problem with these trucks and the running, operation and building of most mobile aggregate conveyor systems.
Alongside the normal day to day of hauling and conveying sand, stone and gravel for foundations, new applications using the “ Ultra Stone Slinger” have come about that have been really exciting to dream up. We have mounted Stone Slingers on standard heavy duty truck chassis running back and forth to the gravel pit all day. We have put slingers on barges working in the ocean to restore intracoastal waterways and beaches. We have mounted them to articulating dump trucks working in mines. We have mounted units to trailers and giant rubber off road track vehicles that can now go places we only dreamed of before. We are conveying materials such as top soil, salt, rubber and wood mulch along with every kind of man-made and organic aggregate we can find.
There are thousands of Stone Slinger trucks now running across America and probably close to 100 slinger trucks running in the Indianapolis area alone.
With GCI Slingers unique partnership with WK Dahm’s, The "Ultra Stone Slinger" has become the leader in the mobile placement industry. Centrally located in the United States GCI Slingers LLC is the perfect location for US customers to get their Stone Slinger trucks and parts. With a top notch quality staff to take care of all your service and parts needs, GCI Slingers LLC has really set the standard in this industry.
With extreme passion and drive, Travis strives to stay at the top of this industry. He is constantly working with WK Dahms to develop new and innovative ideas while maintaining the most reliable and rugged system available. Listening to and implementing customer feedback, needs and applications, GCI strives to keep all their current and future customers up and running with the best possible and most innovative equipment and rugged components available and tested in this market.