In the world of terrazzo and terrazzo installations, few companies can boast a pedigree that rivals that of the David Allen Company. Founded in 1920 in North Carolina, the Raleigh-based company began to make a name for itself during the great terrazzo boom of the Art Deco period, successfully weathered the downturn in terrazzo use in the 1960s and 1970s, and has been pivotal in spearheading what can justifiably be called the “terrazzo revival” that seems to be picking up steam with every passing day.
Looking at the company’s portfolio gives you a good idea of the esteem that architects and designers place in the work done by David Allen’s craftsmen. Among the high-profile installations for which the company was selected are the Pentagon, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Longworth Congressional Office building, the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, and the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NASA, and the CIA.
The company also specializes in airport installations, and its handiwork can be seen at major international hubs in Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Washington D.C. (Ronald Reagan International and Dulles), Richmond, Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, and Jacksonville, to name a few. In addition, it’s responsible for terrazzo work at dozens of universities and hundreds of elementary schools, as well as in hospitals, museums, courthouses, and military buildings. This long track record of customer satisfaction, combined with a corporate atmosphere that places a heavy emphasis on employee safety and professional development, led to the David Allen Company being named the 2016 Contractor of the Year by the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national construction industry trade association with more than 21,000 members.
David Allen CEO David Roberson presided over many of these landmark projects. He has been CEO of the company for 3 years after having spent 46 years as Senior VP of the Terrazzo Division. He now manages all single terrazzo contracts over $20 million—and his passion for terrazzo as both a construction material and artistic medium has undoubtedly been an ingredient in the company’s formula for success. In addition to contributing to the company’s growth to upwards of 300-400 employees at the Raleigh headquarters and in five branch offices (Charlotte, Birmingham, Columbia, South Florida, and Washington D.C.), Roberson served for a dozen years on the board of directors, including a term as president, of the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association (NTMA).
Simply put, Roberson knows terrazzo from the ground up, and his commitment to delivering first-rate services depends in no small degree to the quality of the aggregates and other materials his artisans employ for installations. And while David Allen obviously uses aggregates from more than one supplier—no single source could handle the company’s massive demand for such a wide variety of aggregate types—it has made New Jersey-based Arim, Inc. one of its trusted suppliers when it’s in need of high-quality colored aggregates.
Roberson first became familiar with Arim, Inc. during the course of a terrazzo installation at a WaWa convenience store in the Northeast in the late 2000s; Arim’s location in New Jersey made it an attractive option because shipping costs are an unavoidable factor in aggregate costs to contractors. The flawless installation using Arim’s aggregates meant he would keep them in mind for future projects, but it was Arim’s samples kit that made him aware that the relatively new company offered aggregates in just about every color imaginable.
“Arim’s samples kit is without question the finest in the industry,” says Roberson. “It gives you an excellent idea of just how broad a color palette their aggregates can create, which is pretty much unrivaled by other manufacturers and suppliers.” And while the issue of color may be a secondary consideration for some terrazzo installations, for others it’s a deal breaker or maker, especially for clients whose logo or emblems are an inextricable part of the corporate or community identity. Consider the case of WaWa: it wound up signing an agreement with Arim, Inc. to provide aggregates for the terrazzo flooring in all its stores based on that samples kit.
Another aspect of Arim, Inc.’s products that Roberson can count upon is consistency, both in color and in quality. Arim owns an aggregate production facility in Turkey and sources its stone and marble from the region, which in turn means the finished products are highly consistent in their hues and tones. Also vital is that the aggregates are clean and dust-free. “Dust on the aggregates can bleed into the resin and affect the color to varying degrees,” he says. “Just one speck of the wrong color would mean removing and refilling that area.” To help ensure its aggregates are consistently clean and free of dust, Arim has implemented the ISO 9001 quality management system—the only ISO standard with third-party certification.
Over the past decade, David Allen Company’s skilled installers and artists have been using Arim, Inc. aggregates on a broad array of projects—and it certainly seems to be a winning combination. Just last year (2017), David Allen garnered several Honor Awards from the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association for a variety of installations using Arim, Inc.’s aggregates, including the Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia, Clover Middle School in Clover, South Carolina, and the Landmark Center Two office complex in Orlando.
“Arim offers wonderfully colored chips that are reasonably priced,” says Roberson. And given his company’s commitment to excellence and Arim Inc.’s increasing supplies thanks to owning its own manufacturing facility, there’s no reason to not expect more breathtaking—and award-winning—collaborations from them in the future.