Aaron Traffas: Hello and welcome to Purple Wave’s Auction Podcast. My name is Aaron Traffas. We’re selling a large package of construction and aggregate equipment in Iowa for McAlister Parts and Equipment in an auction ending Thursday, September 25. This morning I’m speaking with Mike McAlister about this event. Mike is the president of McAlister Parts and Equipment. Good morning, Mr. McAlister, and thanks for joining me.
Mike McAlister: Good morning to you, Aaron. Thanks for having me.
AT: Mike, tell me about your company. How did you get started and how long have you been in business?
MM: Well we got started approximately 50 years ago when my father got into aggregates and we’ve been doing that ever since. We’ve gone out into other areas – service work, for instance – and we rebuild a lot of heavy equipment for people. We’ve been in aggregates approximately 50 years.
What were some of the different types of projects that you handled?
Well we handled, obviously, road construction projects – gravel roads for the county, hot mix asphalt or HMA for state and federal jobs. We’ve even used our materials under a lot of these big ethanol plants that have been going up in the area as well as silos and grain storage facilities.
What kind of areas did you serve?
Well, basically the areas in our county and the immediate surrounding counties – once in a while the material would go as far as Omaha or Council Bluffs, for instance our so-called P-rock or porous aggregate materials. For the most part we were fairly localized.
And tell me about that area. I mentioned that you’re in Iowa, but for anyone not familiar with your company, where specifically in Iowa are you located?
We’re in west central Iowa, approximately halfway between Des Moines and Omaha.
This event is billed as a realignment auction, which implies that you’re not going out of business or liquidating everything. What kind of changes are you making to your operation that made you decide to have such an auction?
The changes are dictated, as it were, by the fact that we’re too spread out. We’re a family run business and we have three generations working here. We’re to spread out to do everything well and so we have to choose in which direction we want to go. And we’ve gone in a lot of different directions, as I indicated earlier, one of which is service work.We are, quote unquote, realigning in the direction of service work. We have very good job skills in that regard. Much of the newer equipment out here is computerized. The younger generation is very comfortable with that but all of that equipment, whether computerized or not, requires hands-on abilities, mechanically speaking, and a willingness to get dirty. We have all of that. So we’re going to move in the direction of service work for companies with which we have in the past been competing. My favorite word now-a-days is symbiotic. I want to have a symbiotic relationship with my former competitors in the aggregate business.They’re looking for skilled, mechanical, hands-on people – people who can fabricate wash plants etcetera, we can provide that. I’m looking forward to moving in that direction for that reason.
So after this auction you will no longer be in the aggregates business. You will essentially be supporting others in that industry.
We’ll still be in the aggregate business in one quarry that we have south of our headquarters here in Bayard, Iowa. The larger aspect of our aggregate business will be gone. That’ll be replaced with a new focus on service work for the aggregate industry.
This sounds like it was a very deliberate course change and a big decision for you. Why was it in the end that you chose to go with Purple Wave to handle this auction?
We liked the people that we met. We liked also the fact that Purple Wave has a new approach to auction events and we liked the fact that that they can reach out via the Internet. We liked the fact that they have videos of our equipment running. We’re showing our equipment, as it were, in its work clothes. There are no DuPont overhauls, which everybody who’s buying equipment always holds suspect – and should. But with Purple Wave, potential buyers can get online, they can look at the equipment actually operating – and it is operating right now as we speak. We really liked that because the buyers in this industry are pretty savvy and they want to see the equipment running. Purple Wave can do that for us, not to mention, again, that their access to potential buyers is, I think, unequaled. Finally we went with them, to begin at the end, as it were, or to go back to the beginning of this – we went with them because we liked the people with whom we found ourselves speaking. They’re very honest, open people. There was no blue sky talk; they were very realistic in their assessment of the value of the equipment and I just found them very good in all aspects.
Well, let’s talk about the auction and the inventory. Tell me about some of the different types of equipment you’re selling.
Well we’ll be selling a fully integrated crushing and washing spread. By that I mean we have our Cedar Rapids rock crusher. We have all the conveyor systems – a Finlay screening unit that’s part of that. We also have our wash plant as well as a Trio twin screw coarse material washer and then all of the support equipment – the loaders, dozers, ripper machines, skid steers, and trucks. Again we’re selling a fully integrated and fully operational spread.
As we record this morning, we are about a month and a half away from the auction. I see currently about 50 items listed at purplewave.com. Are there more that will be listed?
I think we have just about all of them. There might be one or two that we forgot about – for instance at the shop here – but that’s about it. People who are looking at the website should be aware there might be one or two added. Basically that’s about it. They’re looking at it all now.
So it’s a pretty low piece count but high quality for every single one of these pieces.
Yes, all of these pieces are runners. They’re all doing their work. Again, they’re working today as we’re having this podcast. Yes, they’re all running.
Has it all been fairly well maintained? Is it all in good condition?
Absolutely. We can’t make a living any other way. My brothers and I, and my sons and my nephews grew up in this industry and we learned very early from our father how not to abuse equipment unless we wanted our father to educate us more strongly. How shall I put it? That’s one way to put it delicately. We’re all very good operators. This equipment isnot abused. This equipment is pulled into the shop every winter and rebuilt. This equipment might be a little bit older than some other equipment out there but it’s all running. We make sure it keeps running. We don’t hesitate on maintenance and we don’t abuse it. There’s no money in abuse we learned that a long time ago.
What would you consider to be a couple of the marquee items in the auction? You mentioned the plants. Can you give us a little detail on a couple of the nicer pieces?
Well, there’s the crushing plant, which has been fully maintained. There’s the wash plant, which is, Ibelieve, a 36 inch screw with a triple deck on it – or double or triple deck, rather, I’d have to look at it. There’s the Trio coarse material washer. Those are the three biggest items. We have some very big loaders – the 275 Michigan, the 880 CAT loader, D9 dozers and rippers – It’s all fully integrated so its hard for me to take one single piece of equipment and say, “this is it.” Whatever piece of equipment you’re looking at, it’s a runner and it’s running in it’s work clothes. Everybody can see what it is.
Tell me where everything is located. I see some of these items located at Stuart, Iowa, and some in Bayard, Iowa. Describe those locations, if you would.
Well, Stuart, Iowa, is approximately 25 miles due west, I guess, of Des Moines on Interstate 80 and our quarry is approximately eight miles north of that location on Interstate 80, so we’re eight miles north of I-80. Most of the equipment is there. There are a few stragglers that we’ve brought up to the shop for repair or because we needed it here in this area. Our shop is 55 miles west of Des Moines on Highway 141, so both locations are easily accessible if anybody is trying to get here.
AT: We always recommend that a buyer takes a look at everything before placing any bids. To that end, we’ve scheduled a couple of open inspection periods where anyone can come by and look at the equipment. Those two dates are September 13 and 24 from, I believe – is it 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days?
If someone can’t make those inspections and wants to take a look at an item before the auction, what does he or she need to do to make an appointment?
All he needs to do is call our office or call my brother Brian’s cell phone and we will make accommodations. We’re a smaller family run business. We’re easy to get along with and we know that people have conflicting schedules. We will work with them. It’s no problem for us. We understand that.
Well, along the same line, tell me about pickup arrangements. After the auction, once payment has been made to Purple Wave and the buyer has invoice in hand, what does he need to do to come and arrange pickup?
Once again call those numbers that are listed on the Purple Wave website and be at ease if you can’t make it. Obviously we would like everything out of there within a week, but we also know, again, that a lot of people have transportation issues that aren’t working out well for them. Just give us a call and we’ll work with you as best we can, we really will.
What kind of accommodations are you able to make for loading assistance? I understand that with this type of equipment that there are a lot of intricacies involved in figuring out how to transport some of these larger items but if somebody comes up with a trailer to load something, are you able to provide loading assistance of some kind?
Yes, in fact we’ve been moving this spread around our area for years. We know how to get it onto a trailer or how to get it hooked up. We’ll be down there to help in every way possible. These people will not be coming into our quarry alone and unassisted. We’ll be there to help them.
Great. As with anything, I think, communication probably is key. We don’t want to have somebody just get an invoice and jump in the truck with a trailer and go without talking to you first without making sure that everything can be planned and…
By all means. Communication is the key here and the people who are coming in, they just have to know at the front end we’re here to help them. We’re not going to turn our back on them. We’re going to help them get it loaded and give them all the assistance they need.
Mike, is there anything else you want to say about this auction?
I think it’s going to be a good auction. I think the people who participate in it are going to be happy with what they get. They’re going to be getting very well maintained equipment that has been proven and has a lot more hours and work to do. I think we’re all going to come out of this really well.
I’ve been speaking with Mike McAlister about the McAlister Aggregates realignment auction. Thanks again, Mike, for joining me this morning.
Thank you, Aaron. Have a good one.
Bidding for the McAlister Aggregates realignment auction is open now and will close Thursday, September 25, beginning at 1 p.m. central. If you have questions about any of the assets listed, or you’d like to schedule an inspection before the auction, contact Brian McAlister at email@example.com or call 641.757.2062.
Like all Purple Wave auctions, there are no reserves or minimum bids. Items receiving bids in the last few minutes will be automatically extended to give everyone a fair chance to bid. There’s no advantage in waiting, so view the complete inventory listing – and place your bids now – at purplewave.com.