Helping the environment with a concrete business plan

Second place = a win for this entrepreneur

Zac Barbato ’24

According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, construction waste and demolition waste counts for 17.5% of the state’s landfills.

Through his company Keystone Crushing in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Zac Barbato ’24, a business administration major with a minor in entrepreneurship, found a way to solve part of this problem. By accepting concrete waste from job sites, he repurposes it for building and landscaping projects.

“We receive demoed concrete or asphalt and turn the inevitable waste into a reusable product,” he explained. “It’s cheaper than a quarry stone and a recyclable material.”

He first vetted the idea through the 2022 Impact Venture Challenge contest, which helped him visualize the business long before it was a reality.

“You go from the starting steps of formulating an idea and what that looks like, trying to fill a need in the market, from a biblical perspective. It’s more than just making money,” he said.

After coming in second place in the competition, he formed an LLC with his business partner, and the business was off and running. Keystone Crushing currently has more than 1,000 tons of concrete at their Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania location.

Running a business while being a college student has its challenges.

“It becomes more real when you’re writing checks for insurance and in school playing volleyball. It makes for some early mornings,” he said.

His Messiah experience

As a kid growing up in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, learning how to use excavators and working outside, he wasn’t sure he wanted to attend college.

“The Lord works in a lot of ways. If you would’ve asked my mom in high school, all I wanted to do was work. The Lord has put more and more people in my life—mentors—who have been incredibly helpful. In college, you get a new perspective on business, what it looks like to use business as a ministry—not just a way to make money or be your occupation. Coming here, you meet so many different people. You wouldn’t learn from them elsewhere. It’s been a blessing to be forced to learn it,” he said.

As he finishes up his college career next year, he says the goal is to continue with the business after graduation.

“People are saying, ‘We need your product.’ The goal is to make a product that’s at a high caliber. It’s something that people want.”

Sometimes, coming in second place works out just fine.

—Anna Seip