Celebrating 100 Years of Mellott Company History

Dec. 15, 2020

A century ago, Herman Benjamin (H.B.) Mellott ventured out to start a business.

After working at the Cambria Steel Company, he’d finally saved up enough money to make a down payment on a government surplus World War I “Liberty” truck. That truck represented a way forward; with it, H.B. was able to begin cutting and hauling lumber, and, soon after, coal.

We’ve come a long way from those beginnings. But we’re still driven by the same values of integrity and commitment that led H.B. to buy his first truck.

Now, in December of 2020, we’re winding down our 100th year of business– and what a year it’s been. As we step back and reflect, here’s a look at where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going.

Where We’ve Come From: Mellott Company History

Our journey – from our origin as a company based on a single “Liberty” truck to our current position as an aggregate industry leader – has had plenty of twists, tragedies, and turns.

H.B. had early success hauling lumber and coal, but in his second decade in business, he saw another opportunity for growth: the aggregate industry. It was the late 1930s, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike was under construction, leading to a high demand for aggregates. H.B. made the decision to enter the quarry business – and his company continued to grow.

Then World War II happened. The shift in priorities lowered demand for aggregates, but H.B. again adapted to the changing times and started using his equipment to process coal. This, too, was successful. Within a few years, he employed over 200 people at several coal operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1948 – 18 years after buying that first truck – H.B. placed his son, Herman Jr., in charge of the growing company.

That’s when tragedy struck.

On July 16th, 1948, H.B. and Herman Jr. – along with two others – were in a small plane that crashed, killing all onboard. H.B. had operated the firm without incorporating it, which meant that, after his death, all the property and equipment in his estate were subjected to a 50% inheritance tax.

The company’s story might easily have ended here. However, there were more than 200 people employed by the company at the time. So, instead of folding the business and moving on, H.B.’s next oldest son, Paul Mellott Sr., made the decision to pay the inheritance tax by liquidating most of the coal and lumber assets, keeping the equipment needed to operate the estate’s two quarries.

Soon after, the family incorporated the quarry business and formed H.B. Mellott Estate, Inc. From there, the business grew to become what it is today. During the 60s, 70s, and 80s, we added numerous quarries to the operation. A third generation of the Mellott family came onboard, as Paul, Jr., Herman, and Brian led the firm into custom portable contract crushing operations.

Since then, Mellott Company has expanded even further.

Where We Are: Aggregate Industry Leaders

Today, Mellott Company supports customers in the aggregate, slag, construction, and environmental industries.

We partner with the aggregate, slag, construction and environmental industries as a true full-service provider, supporting customers with our expertise and leadership. Our spectrum of contract crushing, engineered systems, equipment, parts, and service is unmatched by any company in the business.

Through it all, we’ve remained centered on the values that have gotten us here. Those are: safety, integrity, commitment, respect, and excellence.

These aren’t just empty cliches or words on a wall. We train our employees in the expected outcomes of and behaviors for each value. For example, the outcome of the "excellence" is "achieving optimal results," and the associated behaviors are "exceeding the expectations of others; championing our mission, vision and values; building strategic partnerships; and developing employees to their full potential.” This ongoing dedication helps us live our values out each day.

We believe in a win-win attitude that is summarized in a dictum first uttered by Albert Einstein: "Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value."

Where We’re Going: Continual Innovation and Consistent Integrity

While we’ve come a long way over the past hundred years, we still look forward to expansion and growth ahead as we continue our tradition of innovation.

At Mellott Company, we know that change is constant, so we cannot hang on to practices or business units that underperform. For example, when we saw that being a high-performing service company that would add value to the aggregates and slag industries, we made the decision to divest our Heritage Division, which included five quarries and three ready-mix concrete plants.

When changes come along, we work toward taking a measured approach that will benefit the company in the long run. We develop strategic plans for years ahead and as changes happen; we adjust rather than react.

That approach has contributed to how we’ve been able to navigate this challenging year. We’ve made changes to reduce the spread of COVID-19; office personnel, like our engineers, finance group, and parts sales team, are able to work from home and have virtual meetings. And while our fabrication and service personnel already mostly work at a social distance, we’ve adjusted to safety protocols by enacting masks requirements.

Even in the midst of rapid changes, our core values allow us to adapt and thrive.

We Look Forward to What’s to Come

To all of our employees and customers: Thank you for your impact on our company. We’re grateful for your partnership, and for the multitude of stories you’ve helped us to create in our 100 years of service. We look forward to creating plenty more, together.

As always, if you have crushing needs, we’re here to help. Here’s to another hundred years! Stay tuned for exciting new initiatives we have to offer include more information about our rebuild centers, equipment videos, online learning seminars hosted by industry experts, our new ecommerce platform, and more!

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