Telfer Oil Company has evolved over the last 50 years into a diversified company. However in order to fully understand the Telfer Companies today, I think we must look back in time to see how it all began. John “Jack” Telfer grew up during the depression, working as a young child to help support his family. His resilience and ambition was apparent at a young age when he put himself through Iowa State University and graduated with a degree in Chemistry. In 1946, Jack was hired as a chemical engineer for Shell Oil Company. Ten years later, in 1958 he purchased Blomquist tank Lines, which would soon become Telfer Tank Lines. As the years progressed he purchased additional trucking companies and expanded his fleet. By the mid-1970s Telfer had even expanded across the US-Mexico border, when the company was contracted to transport asphalt from Los Angeles refineries to Mexico for the legendary Baja 1000 races.
Starting in 1965, John and Mike Telfer, Jack’s sons began in the shop sweeping floors and packing wheel bearings. However, as they were not very good at these chores, they were destined to do something else. Only being a year apart and sharing many interests such as hunting, fishing, and family, it was no surprise when they decided to participate in the family business together. During the next few years, both of the “dynamic duo” worked as Transport Drivers during the summer months while attending college. Mike graduated with a degree in business from the University of the Pacific and John studied History at St. Mary’s College. In 1977, John took an interest in marketing the products and transportation services that Telfer offered, while Mike became the Drivers Supervisor. In 1980 Jack, with the help of Mike, John, and Al Hector (another uncle) started an asphalt emulsion manufacturing plant in Martinez. By the mid -1980’s Mike and John took ownership of Telfer with Mike becoming the President and taking over the operations and John, becoming the Executive Vice President, overseeing the marketing aspects of the company.
In addition to the emulsion plant, Mike and John expanded to Southern California with the start up of Continental Western Transportation (CWT) in Fontana, California. It was moved 2 years later to San Diego where it remains today transporting and spreading liquid asphalts and emulsions for Chip Seals, Sand Seals, Fog Seals, Fabric Installations and other highway maintenance treatments. In 1984 Windsor Fuel Company (WFC) was purchased which moved the company into the North Coast. WFC is the home of the heavy construction division providing Bonded Wearing Course, Chip Seals, and larger installation jobs throughout California. WFC has recently split into two divisions: Public Works operated out of Pittsburg and Private Works operated out of Windsor, CA. WFC has all over the US in the past several years installing bonded wearing courses. In 1985, Telfer acquired Western Oil Spreading, expanding its service area into the the Central Valley and Northern Nevada Areas. That same year, Telfer purchased Douglas Oil Co. an asphalt terminal in Pittsburg, California and converted it into the largest polymer manufacturing facility on the West Coast. The plant was able to produce 75 truck and trailer loads of modified asphalts per day and was capable of storing 400,000 barrels of asphalt, from facilities in the Rocky Mountains, Bakersfield, and the Bay Areas. In 1992 Telfer formed a partnership with Sheldon Oil Company bringing the famous Telfer yellow color to the trucks. In 1995 Telfer bought our Sheldon's interest in the partnership making it 100% Telfer again. The most recent addition to the Telfer family of companies is California Paving Fabrics (CPF), located in Anderson, CA. CPF gives the company the ability to supply anywhere in the state of California very quickly.
When asked about the evolution of Telfer over the last 50 years, Mike Telfer stated, “The physical assets, such as trucks, pavers, rollers, etc. are insignificant compared to the human assets, which make us who we are. I am very proud of our company; we stand for integrity, quality, and loyalty. Everyday I look forward to coming to work because I am surrounded by quality people, who are my friends, working towards our common goal of making our business the best in the industry.” He also said, “The support, advice, and confidence my wife Judy has given me has always helped me immensely throughout the years.”
Today Telfer continues to evolve and change. In looking to the future Telfer recognizes the need for environmentally friendly products and services to better serve the roadways and yet still protect the environment. In the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we are offering products like TruPave, a paving mat which not only adds a moisture barrier and increased tensile strength to overlays, extending the pavement life, but also is completely recyclable. This fits in with our viewpoint of how essential it will continue to be to recycle everything we put on our roadways. In addition, the Bonded Wearing Course product uses less resources and provides longer lasting surfaces than conventional materials. Continuing with this thought process, Warm Mix Asphalt using Evotherm® is a product that we also supply to HMA suppliers and paving contractors.
The Telfer Companies are proud of their past accomplishments and look forward to a bright future.