Rock Products

FEB 2019

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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48 • ROCK products • February 2019 www.rockproducts.com American Dream A t 27, Jordan Zahlene, vice president of Miami-based Zahlene Enterprises, has more certifications and creden- tials to his name than many of his peers who are twice his age. He became a Certified Building Contractor at 18, a Certified Utility Contractor at 21 and received his General Contrac- tor license at 22. Three years later he obtained his General Engineering Contractor's license, becoming Miami's youngest General Engineering Contractor. Zahlene attributes much of that professional drive to his par- ents, Beatriz and Miguel. The Cuban couple immigrated to the United States in 1982, with hopes for a better life for their growing family. Those dreams were realized. Today Zahlene Enterprises Inc. (ZEI) has a fleet of roughly 52 pieces of equipment – 16 of which are Hitachi machines – and the company is one of the major civil contractors in Miami, known for its creative and innovative approaches to recycling aggregates. "I'm the product of the American dream. We live in the only country in the world where you can achieve whatever you want and make a difference in the world and your commu- nity," Zahlene said. But this success has not come without its challenges and heartbreaks along the way. Tragic Loss In 2006, Zahlene was a high school student at Miami Lakes Educational Center when he learned that his father, who had also battled cancer, passed away in a tragic jobsite accident. Zahlene decided to attend college locally at Florida Inter- national University in order to take the helm of the family business. "It was pretty scary," Zahlene said. "I was basically handed over a piece of property, four dump trucks, a makeshift screener and two very old loaders. It was also right when the market crashed. But we kept going and never gave up. At first it was just about keeping the aggregate hauling company afloat, but then I started getting a little creative." Zahlene started buying the bigger rocks and pieces of con- crete from beach excavations – material that would have typically been discarded – crushing and screening it and then reselling that material to other contractors. That led to his first excavator purchase. "I think it was a Hitachi ZX350. After that it was just one after another after another after another. I haven't looked back since," Zahlene said. One of the big challenges Zahlene faced during this time period was his age. Many of the people he was doing busi- ness with were twice as old as him and had children who were his age. "It can be tough when you're signing a contract with someone who you feel could be your son," he said. "It boiled down to just sticking to my word. If I said I was going to do something, I was going to do it." Zahlene's mother, Beatriz, was influential in her support throughout this period. As the president of the company, she supported him and stepped in when her son had to focus on college. "My mom is more than just my mom. She's my business part- ner. She's the backbone. Without her, none of this would have been possible," Zahlene said. Living the American Dream Zahlene Enterprises recently entered into a unique relationship with Titan Florida – a unit of Titan America LLC – to excavate and process a large volume of scrap and by-product material at its Pennsuco Quarry. By Inga Rundquist

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