Contract Surety

Surviving and Thriving!



Just two years before the great recession struck in 2008, Gary Schumal and Ron Plunk had set out to form their own construction company. Despite the challenges, their venture survived and thrived and is now Austin Tyler Construction Co., which includes Joliet Asphalt. The company’s leadership talks about the sheer, “stubborn hard work” and other ingredients of success behind their business.


Not the Best Time?

In the early days of the business, the founders experienced “incredibly difficult” challenges obtaining asphalt from suppliers in the region. As Rick Rahn, the operations manager at Joliet Asphalt explains, the owners forged forward, by taking a leap, despite the recession: ”The only way you really can be a full fledged contractor is to own an asphalt plant. So that’s what they decided to go ahead and do….They purchased an asphalt plant in 2009… Which, if you recall, wasn’t the greatest time to be putting up asphalt plants.”


Although direct access to asphalt turned out to be critical in advancing Austin Tyler Construction, the hard work of building the company continued:There was all this workings that we had to get around, trying to get approved. We fought the EPA stuff, we fought the zoning, we fought to get the awards for these projects that we bid on. Essentially, we fought through all that stuff and you know, here we are….” According to Rahn, ultimate success in the industry comes from two things: “The first is the company’s understanding of how their client’s think about a project and keep clear and open communication with them throughout a job’s process. The second is their determination and can-do mindset.” Of course, having experienced people matters too:


“We have we have a whole group of people that have been in construction for so long and know all the aspects of the job. So, we can help along with tight schedules, and we also keep that line of communication open. It’s important to be able to communicate with the engineers, so that they know exactly what’s going on. We have a really well rounded group.” 

Colonial Surety is here to boost construction companies forward too: through The Partnership Account® contractors get an edge—and better control of their finances. Specifically, in addition to a surety line of credit in writing, The Partnership Account®  arms qualified construction companies with:


  • Control of bidding and bonding, online and in real time.
  • Powers of attorney to seal and issue their own bid bonds—in minutes.
  • Fast, direct, confidential bid bonds—no middleman.
  • Direct access to performance and payment bonds on a customized dashboard.
  • Real time tracking of bids and work on hand.
  • Immediate access to Colonial’s lead underwriter as new opportunities emerge.
  • A private Owner’s Dashboard to view surety lines, adjust work and analyze bids.

Learn more and pre-qualify for a Partnership Account® now!



Continuous Innovation

Good businesses are always looking ahead and right now that means thinking green. The demand for “environmentally conscious” materials and processes is only going to rise, and Pros point out that leading with a green approach is another way to enhance reputation and differentiate a contracting business:So, leading with your environmental credentials might just give your business a boost.” As Joliet Asphalt aims for the future, they are exploring how to advance “more sustainable asphalt paving solutions”: “We are providing pavement preservation technology from RePLay,” Rahn said. “This is all based on soybean oil, and it’s a sustainable product. It’s just getting people on board. Down the road maybe it’ll start catching up, but [for now] we are the sole distributor for all of Illinois.”


Adapting new approaches keeps contractors moving forward, and so does the financial intel that comes with The Partnership Account® for Contractors from Colonial Surety. Using this free business service, builders access a private digital dashboard, with a day to day snapshot of single and aggregate limits, as well as current and available bond capacity. As work in progress decreases, you can even update your work on hand—increasing your aggregate so you can go ahead and move that next project ahead. After all, it’s your business—and you’re in control. Get started today:


The Partnership Account® for Contractors


Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.