Upholding a Legacy
A.B. Veirs and Sons, Inc. commemorates 70 years in the paving business
Most people may take for granted the mix of stone, sand and tar below their feet when walking, or traveling by vehicle, but professionals who work with asphalt daily understand that a good paving job ensures smooth commutes and a nice aesthetic.
If you were to take a walk around the Smithsonian’s National Zoo or a neighborhood in the Washington, D.C., area, there’s a good chance you’d be standing on smooth pathways and other surfaces made possible by a family-owned business with a long, rich history.
A.B. Veirs and Sons, Inc. has cemented its place in the asphalt paving industry. This year, the small company, based in Gaithersburg, Md., celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Its jobs range from parking lots and privately owned streets to roads and entire neighborhoods. Crews have paved around the National Mall and the other well-known landmarks. They’ve also completed work in townships such as the Chevy Chase area in Maryland’s Montgomery County.
“We’re proud of the neighborhood streets we’ve paved,” says Mike Veirs Jr., an estimator with the company. “We’ve been around for a while in the D.C. area. We have a great reputation for quality, and building a very good product.”
It’s in the Blood
The Veirs family legacy is firmly planted in Maryland dating back to the late 1600s, most notably with Samuel Veirs. He opened a flour and grist mill in Rockville and the route to the mill was named Veirs Mill Road. Today, it’s a major highway and a historical landmark.
Nearly three centuries later, descendant Alvin (A.B.) Veirs established a paving company in 1947 on one of the old Veirs farms.
“He had a farm and bought several trucks and started hauling stone,” Mike Jr. says of his grandfather. “Years later, he started doing asphalt work. It grew from there.”
By 1990, three of A.B. Veirs’ sons took over and operations were relocated to Gaithersburg.
With a change in ownership, the business grew. The brothers began securing larger projects such as work at landmarks and monuments.
Today, one of the sons, Mike Veirs Sr., remains the sole owner.
The senior Veirs’ two adult children—Mike Jr. and Kim Veirs—have stepped into critical roles at the company and aim to carry their surname’s legacy. A.B. Veirs and Sons also employs other family members in the operation.
Mike Sr.’s son and daughter had careers in other fields, before settling into the family business. They say it’s been an informal company philosophy for family members to try other jobs first.
Mike Jr., 33, has been with the company for a total of six years. He worked there three years starting in 2007 before leaving to go to graduate school. He returned in 2014.
“I always grew up around it,” he says of the family-owned business. “I viewed it as something I’d definitely like to do. I was always interested in entrepreneurship. It was in my blood.”
Mike Jr. has experience working in marketing, and now he’s working in sales and estimating. He also has had experience as a crew foreman.
“I tried other careers to get experience and see how I like different settings for work,” Mike Jr. says. “You can’t beat working with a family business. You have a large impact on the company.”
Kim, 31, had a completely different field of interest. She studied marine science and veterinary science and worked with dolphins and sea lions. But, the family business was always in the background. She, too, has been with the company since 2014. She’s involved with business development and estimating, which includes obtaining new accounts, accounts management, marketing the company and building a rapport with clients.
Tools of the Trade
Paving crews make use of the basics to get the job done: a milling machine, motor graders, large commercial pavers that spread the asphalt and several rollers that compact the asphalt.
But A.B. Veirs and Sons crews do more than just apply asphalt to surfaces. They also repair asphalt, perform site prep, and offer maintenance, such as crack-filling, sealcoating and pavement marking services. Workers must identify weak areas where old asphalt is failing or prone to poor grading and drainage. Water can seep in, causing cracks and damage. They also offer snow removal services.
“What sets us apart is our attention to detail, being active in every project and keeping tight control,” Mike Jr. says.
With a staff of 26 employees, including six in the office and one mechanic, workers rely on expertise and yielding a quality job to continue building their reputation.
Whether a job lasts a day or a few weeks, the Veirs family says they care for each one as if it were their own. After all, their name is literally on it.
“We’ve been around decades longer than everybody else,” Kim says. “We don’t want to lose sight of our foundation, which is quality.”
The Veirses note that good customer service is a hallmark of the company. They make sure to be mindful of the working environment around them.
“Paving can be a pretty intrusive process,” Mike Jr. says. “There is a lot of big, heavy equipment that takes up a lot of room. We plan out the project to limit disturbances.”
The siblings hope to grow the company to serve areas beyond the D.C. metropolitan area, but some things will always remain the same.
“I just see continued growth and continuing our heritage of quality work with asphalt,” Mike Jr. says. “We want to reach new customers, get into larger projects and more projects.”
Kim adds, “The priority is always to keep quality work and good service. As far as change and growth go, we are eager to continually advance and grow as the industry progresses, but we don’t want to lose sight of our roots and family-owned company culture.”