By NASH NUNNERY
English poet and playwright William Shakespeare once famously wrote, “What’s in a name?”
At Yak Access, the company name says it all.
“A lot of people wonder why we are called ‘Yak Access’,” said Kathy Hopper, the company’s director of marketing. “Yaks are strong and dependable animals that travel in herds, carrying heavy loads through tough terrain and used for centuries to transport goods across mountain passes. Our employees work together to create a project plan that provides the best access solutions even through the toughest terrains.
“For those reasons, we believe our name is both memorable and shows the strength and endurance of our team.”
Yak Access is one of the largest and most versatile access companies providing matting solutions, installation and removal of temporary roads, construction of permanent access roads and civil services for various construction industries throughout North America and parts of Canada.
With headquarters in Columbia, Yak Access was founded in 2017, combining the expertise of several matting and service companies under one roof. Those include:
» Yak Mat – the largest supplier of access mats in North America
» New South – Based in Madison, the company provides access solutions that protect and enhance environmentally sensitive sites
» BlueRoc – a construction division of Yak Access specializing in the electric transmission market
» Klein’s Restoration – a small maintenance company offering a diverse suite of infrastructure services
“In addition to our company headquarters in Columbia and New South in Madison, many of our mat yards are located in Mississippi,” Hopper said. “Also, many of the mills where we get our mats are located here, and we perform work with various utilities and contractors throughout the state.”
Last July, Yak Access acquired Ohio-based Klein Restoration to broaden Yak’s services to include restoration of sites, matting, site development, construction and traffic control solutions primarily to the powerline industry.
Yak Access CEO Jonathan Duhon said Klein’s is a natural fit under the Yak Access umbrella.
“Klein’s blends seamlessly into our business, expanding our ability to serve customers and providing new avenues of growth,” Duhon said.
The Klein’s acquisition marked Yak Access’s third add-on acquisition after purchasing New South in 2016 and BluRoc in 2017.
Currently, the company employs 745 across 26 states, from Oregon to Florida and Maine to California. Mississippi boasts the most employees with 197.
The bulk of Yak Access projects are large-scale within the pipeline and powerline industries, according to Hopper.
“One of the main things that sets us apart (from competitors) is our ability to support large projects regardless of mat type,” she said. “Currently, we have two pipeline projects in Texas that equal over 500 miles each. These projects require a significant number of mats because of weather conditions, terrain and overall location.”
One of the largest projects in the company’s brief history was on the powerline side in Cainhoy, S.C., a location that proved quite challenging.
“This project was our largest wetland access job and used over 10,000 mats during an eight—month time period,” Hopper said. “It also (survived) and stayed in place during a CAT 4 hurricane.”
Hopper added that the Yak Access leadership team approaches each project separately, regardless of size.
“Whether it’s a simple road or an extensive pipeline right-of-way, we try to understand all of the factors and needs in order for the project to be completed successfully.” she said. “’Where is the project going to start and end?’ ‘What is the terrain like?’ ‘Are you looking to rent or buy the mats?’ ‘Do you need help with installation and removal?’ We ask all the pertinent questions to make sure to provide the customer with a custom solution to their project.”
The Yak Access culture stems from its roots. Originally part of the Jones Companies, the company stands by a core value system called IPUSH, an acronym for integrity, passion, unity, sustainability and humility.
“IPUSH is the foundation of our organization,” said Hopper. “Teams within each business unit work together and operate like a family.
“By adding these other businesses, it’s strengthened our leadership team, provided us with expertise we didn’t have, and allowed us to reach territories, geographical locations and customers we may not have reached otherwise.”
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