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Advance Specialties Company: Minnesota's anchor for L&M Products for over 40 years.

Jim Vlcek, Editor, Concrete News

From left to right, Joel Richert, Frank Bianchi, L&M; Terry Friede, Gary Nold, Ed Fuchs, proudly displaying L&M products for over 40 years.

"It's not a mere coincidence that L&M Construction Chemicals and Advance started in business about the same time," Larry Schwietz recently commented.

Back in 1961, Larry Schwietz, founder of L&M, was an aspiring young chemist and business owner. From his very beginning as an industrial chemist, Schwietz had a penchant for developing unique products for the construction industry. He also demonstrated a deliberate, focused energy for selling and marketing those products.

Larry Schwietz also had a strong entrepreneurial desire to work for himself. "I had a young, growing family and had to put food on the table." says Schwietz. "So I asked Jack Began, one of the original owners of Advance Shoring, to help back me by stocking my new product, DEBOND, a high-performance concrete form release agent.

"Jack and I liked each other from the very beginning. Fortunately, he stuck his neck out to help me get L&M started by carrying my products. In fact, as I recall, they were one of my very first customers! At first it was just DEBOND, but over the years, Advance has carried most of our product line at one time or another. Jack is still a loyal and dear friend to this day."

Partners Dean Haug (now deceased) and Jack Began founded the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Advance Shoring Company in 1960. Over the years they expanded the company to focus on particular strengths, founding the Advance Equipment Company in 1969 and the Advance Specialties Division in 1977. Today, all three companies are run by the second generation Haug family members, Terry and Karen.

The Advance Shoring Company continues to rent and sell concrete shoring and forming equipment. Advance was one of the first to develop crane-handled shoring assemblies for high-rise construction that are now known as "Flying Forms." Advance was also the world's first distributor for Aluma Systems, and led the industry in their region by offering new technology in concrete construction with aluminum forming and shoring equipment. Advance has further grown with the addition of Ischebeck Titan Megashore high capacity aluminum shoring, MEVA Imperial wall forming, Hydro Mobile mast climbing work platforms, and a wide variety of scaffolding equipment.

Launched In 1969, Advance Equipment Company rents and services Tower Cranes, personnel & material hoists, and sells and services concrete pumps. They currently have a large rental fleet of Wolff Tower Cranes and Champion Personnel & Material Hoists. Advance is also the proud distributor of Putzmeister Concrete Pumps

Aerial photo of Advance Specialties yard and sales office, Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota
Advance Specialties Company began in 1977 as a division of Advance Shoring Company, and was later incorporated as a stand-alone company in 1991. Its focus has continued over the years to be on the selling of a wide range of concrete and masonry supplies, prominently displaying the main product line of L&M Construction Chemicals. Advance Specialties also represents leading equipment manufacturers in the concrete and masonry industry.

"Things were a lot different back when I joined the company in 1978," said Joel Richert, Advance Specialties Company General Manager. "Back then, Leroy Hagen (now deceased), Ed Fuchs, our inside-sales/city-desk 'Answer Man,' and I worked one-on-one with Larry and Greg Schwietz to do the product knowledge training, promotions and stocking levels.

"Larry was doing everything. Not only was he the chemist inventing great new L&M products, he did the traveling, promoting and the training as well. His son, Greg, had recently completed college and had a few years under his belt. He was starting to get his feet wet in the business and Larry was showing him all the ropes."

Richert continued, "It all started with just DEBOND, and then DRESS & SEAL. With Greg's help, we grew the L&M product line over the years as our business grew and as L&M formulated and added new products, including significant products like CRYSTEX Grout and SEAL HARD. We still carry the majority of L&M's products in deep stocking levels."

Still stocking and promoting L&M's DEBOND as its premier line of form release agent, Advance has supplied construction chemicals, shoring, forming and scaffolding across the skyline of buildings in the upper Midwest, including the taconite iron ore mines in northern Minnesota, the IDS Office Center in Minneapolis (made famous outside of Minneapolis by Mary Tyler Moore's sitcom), the Dane County Courthouse in Madison, Wisconsin, the St. Paul Cathedral, and more recently, the light rail train bridges throughout Minneapolis. Advance's success over the years has always been centered on providing exceptional products and service and being known as "The Concrete Professionals" in the concrete construction business.

Advance Specialties Company Vice-President Karen Haug stated, "Advance takes pride in our very long term association with L&M Construction Chemicals. We appreciate their innovative approach to the construction industry's ever changing needs. From the early 1960's with my father, Dean Haug, and Jack Began buying that first batch of DEBOND from Larry Schwietz to our present relationship with Greg Schwietz and L&M's regional sales manager, Frank Bianchi, we look forward to continuing our long and prosperous association."

You can reach Advance by calling direct at 651-489-8881 or 800-328-9573. Key personnel at Advance are owners, Terry Haug and Karen Haug, Advance Specialties Company Manager Joel Richert, City Desk Manager Ed Fuchs, Advance Shoring Company Manager, Thomas Martin, and Advance Equipment Company President, Terry Haug. The Advance website is www.advancecos.com. L&M regional sales manager Frank Bianchi can be reached at frankblmcc@cox.com or 402-212-6533.

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© 2005 L&M Construction Chemicals, Inc. | ConcreteNews Winter 2005.

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