During the decades since 1942 when Buckner Hinkle founded Hinkle Contracting Company and built it into a major paving contractor and quarry operator, he has been actively involved in promotion of the industry on both a state and national level.
He has been active in associations including Kentucky Crushed Stone Association, Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky, Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors, The Road Information Program (TRIP), and American Road Builders and Transportation Association (ARTBA). In 1985, he received ARTBA’s highest individual award as an industry member for his contributions to the betterment of transportation in America. Mr. Hinkle was recognized for his contributions to the Kentucky highway industry in March of 1991 when he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by Transportation Secretary Milo D. Bryant.
Mr. Hinkle’s construction career began in 1942 when he founded Hinkle Contracting Company, a family partnership. During the World War II years, the company worked exclusively on defense projects, performing erosion control and seeding work. The company worked on projects which embrace an area that included most of the states east of the Mississippi River plus several states west of the Mississippi.
With the curtailment of defense projects in 1945, the company entered into highway construction in Kentucky. Early projects consisted of building small bridges and culverts and, later, highway resurfacing projects. In 1947, the company acquired its first bituminous hot-mix plant. It incorporated in 1957 and, in the late 1950s, bought its first limestone quarry. Beginning in the early 1950s, Hinkle Contracting Corporation and partners opened quarries for the construction of the Bert Combs Mountain Parkway, Bluegrass Parkway, and the Western Kentucky Parkway. A decade later, Hinkle Contracting acquired interest in Bourbon Limestone Company, becoming a joint owner with Walker Construction Company of Mt. Sterling. Bourbon Limestone currently owns and operates two quarries. In the early 1960s, Hinkle Contracting also began acquiring additional bituminous hot-mix plants.
In 1972, Hinkle Contracting and Codell Construction of Winchester formed a joint venture with a Guatemalan partner to pave the Guatemala City airport, and continued to operate in Guatemala until 1982. In the late 1970s, Hinkle acquired an additional bituminous hot-mix plant and paved the San Salvador airport in El Salvador.
Closer to home, Hinkle Contracting and Walker Construction performed a contract in 1986 which called for the crushing of stone for the Toyota Motor Manufacturing facility in Georgetown. Through this venture, the companies crushed four million tons of stone in a six-month period.
Currently, Hinkle Contracting owns and operates six limestone quarries in Kentucky which produce and sell approximately two million tons of stone per year. In addition, Hinkle owns and operates 15 bituminous hot-mix plants in Kentucky.
Mr. Hinkle remains active in the company, but to a lesser degree. He became chairman of the board in 1982 and Henry Hinkle, his son, serves as president and chief executive officer while another son, Tom, serves as vice president. A third son, Buckner Jr., an attorney in Lexington, serves on the executive committee. Mr. Hinkle and his wife, Sally, reside in Paris, Kentucky.