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1040 Bonaventure Dr. | Elk Grove Village, Il. 60007 | www.msl-corp.com

The old joke about the Chicago area having only two seasons, winter and construction, came about because our highways always seem to be in a perpetual state of maintenance. Although this is mostly due to the amount of traffic and the freeze/thaw cycles they are subjected to, there have also been cases where highways have had to be resurfaced because of improper materials or bad asphalt mixes which caused rutting and other structural problems. Luckily, companies like Material Solutions Laboratory (MSL) are on hand to minimize that particular problem.

Material Solutions Laboratory is a civil engineering company which specializes in testing construction materials such as asphalt, concrete, soil and steel for various factors such as density, gradation, cement and asphalt content, specific gravity, and mix design and stability.

MSL also provides geotechnical and environmental engineering consultation services, and maintains a fully-equipped laboratory which is accredited by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory (AMRL); the American Concrete Institute (ACI); Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory (CCRL); and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). IDOT is in fact one of MSL's primary clients, along with the City of Chicago, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, and a variety of large and small construction companies.

"Construction projects always go to the lowest bidder and whoever wins the award is supposed to follow certain specifications and criteria," explains Sam Kukadia, the chairman and principal of Material Solutions Laboratory. "Concrete and asphalt are made up of different components, and they have to be compatible with each other, just like a recipe is. When you make that recipe, the ingredients you use will determine how successful you are in the end. In concrete and asphalt, if you're tempted to skimp on expensive ingredients the final product won't turn out right. Concrete and asphalt won't hold up if you get the proportions of any of the components wrong or use the wrong components. We're there to make sure that everything is done properly and that the end user gets what they pay for."

Mr. Kukadia purchased MSL from its previous owners in 2009 along with his two partners, Dan Tiltges, President of the company, and Mohammed Ali, Lab Manager. They recently relocated from the original 2,300-square-foot location at the corner of Devon Avenue and Rt. 83 to a larger, 7,000-square-foot facility at 1040 Bonaventure Road.

"We're very happy to be located in Elk Grove Village, because it's such a business-friendly community," says Kukadia. "I can source anything I want within a few miles. And if I can't find it here, it's usually because it's not available in the Chicago area." All three of MSL's young partners have extensive experience in civil engineering and construction materials testing, as does the staff of 25 civil engineers and engineering technicians they employ.

"We obviously look for people with solid technical skills," says Kukadia, "but we also want people who like to be part of a small business where everyone knows each other, because it's a very family-like atmosphere here. We're a small company that provides the same services as the larger material testing firms but for a lower cost because we do all services in house. We've carved out a niche for ourselves, but we don't rest on our laurels like the big companies. We're still eager to expand and make a name for ourselves."

A Product of Matthew D. Walker Publishing, LLC © 2012