Between power outages during February’s snowstorms and heightened consumption during the hot Texas summer, it seems that energy has definitely been on our minds during the first half of 2021. Before energy can be used in our homes, it must be generated and transported to our homes. And that’s exactly where Spire client, Yak Access, comes in—clearing the path for construction crews in the energy sector to construct the pipes, poles, panels, and propellers that transport America’s power.

Our newest Spire on Spotify playlist was constructed by EVP of Client Service and Planning Mike Stopper—Vol. 9: The Road Ahead—inspired by our client Yak Access.

Spire began working with Mississippi-based B2B company at the beginning of 2021. Yak Access is one of North America’s leading providers of right-of-way access solutions, offering unmatched expertise in total access planning, clearing, site work, and restoration. These end-to-end services are delivered by an experienced team who emphasize safety, environmental sensitivity, and especially, coming in on time and on budget.

Yak Access is also North America’s largest supplier of access mats and building products for temporary or permanent roads. The company has a million mats in inventory and 70+ mat yards across the U.S. The company was founded in 2016, but its origins date back to 1976, when Dixie Mat and Beasley Forest Products Matting merged to create Yak Mat.

A substantial part of Yak Access’ business today comes from the energy space, particularly powerline, pipeline, solar, and wind projects. Before energy contractors dig or construct, Yak Access must first clear grasslands, marshlands, mountainsides, and forests to create the right-of-way for construction equipment. Clearly, Yak covers a lot of terrain.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. primary energy consumption was about 101 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), which was about 17% of the total world primary energy consumption of about 598 quadrillion Btu. By comparison, the United States’ percentage share of world population is about 4%. However, China consumes more energy than any country in the world.

The U.S. engineering and construction (E&C) industry began 2020 on a bright note—and then COVID-19 hit. The pandemic has made the future of both the renewable and fossil fuel energy markets quite murky. But despite the challenges that have resulted, there are many reasons to be optimistic.

Global energy demand will rise 20% by 2040, and global energy demand will rise by 60%, according to Energy Watch. The same factors driving energy demand will also drive electricity demand worldwide. Expect natural gas, solar, and wind to be the fastest-growing energy sources helping to meet this demand; natural gas is already the number-one source of electricity in the United States.

Now that we have a powerful perspective on energy’s future, it’s time to clear the path for Spire’s new playlist from EVP of Client Service and Planning, Mike Stopper.

Stopper, what is the name of your album?

The album is called The Road Ahead. Something has really clicked with Yak Access and Spire in our first six months together. We’ve collaborated on many successful projects, so I’m filled with optimism around the cool work that lies ahead for us both. But the album name also symbolizes the temporary and permanent roads Yak’s crews construct, and how you can look down the road toward the horizon and see success for their company and their clients.

How would you describe this mix?

You could say that there are hard-working undertones to many of the songs, using driving guitars and strong drums. But many of the lyrics are balanced, with more emotions like patriotism, an eco-mindset, and the pride in a job well done.

What was the inspiration behind it?

Maybe it’s me, but there’s a feeling of the great outdoors in the mix since all of Yak Access’ work is done in nature. Because of that, you’ll find songs that talk about the environmental factors they work with, like trees, dirt, rocks, and water. You’ll also find songs that touch on the industries they serve, like the sun and the wind. I’ve also mixed in a song or two that just sound good on a job site. But the strongest song theme you’ll find is about roads, since they literally take us from Point A to Point B, but metaphorically represent our journey on this Third Rock of ours.

What is your favorite song, and why?

I’d have to say the throwback song “King of the Road.” Granted, it’s about a boxcar hobo and has absolutely nothing to do with right-of-way access construction. But it’s the perfect moniker for what Yak Access means in their space. The 1965 release by Roger Miller hit #1 on the U.S. country charts, and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 as a crossover hit. When you hear it, it’s impossible to not clap or snap at that moment in the chorus before singing, “King of the Road.”

If your playlist was a brand, what would it be and why?

Clearly, it’s Yak Access. But a strong #2 would be a Ford F-150 pickup. Strong, rugged Americana, ready to go anywhere and do anything once you pop it in four-wheel drive. There’s nothing that can get in the way of a Ford pickup, and the same can be said about Yak Access.

Any specific memory that comes to mind when you listen?

It makes me think about a family trip we took in the ol’ station wagon to Colorado in the early 80s. Being a Texas native, I was used to flat land and brown dirt. Seeing actual elevation, tall trees, greenery, and rugged mountains in the Rockies was new for me and made me see a very different part of America. It’s the type of terrain Yak Access works in. A lot of the tunes in this mix had late 70s and early 80s releases, so it’s likely I heard many of them on static FM or AM radio stations in that station wagon, which actually broke down the next summer on a family road trip to Florida.

What makes your playlist unique?

It’s the crossroads of multiple genres and decades that intersect in a nice way. I look at the titles and see a wide range of topics—sun, sky, wind, dirt, and mountains—mixed with hard-working and prideful values. Together, there’s some real Americana in this collection of hits that just might make you want to crack open a cold Budweiser at the end of a hard day’s work.

There are over 700,000 construction companies in the U.S. with total annual revenues of $1.7 trillion. Yak Access and Spire will continue down the B2B marketing road ahead to reach those who are in need of right-of-way access.

Until next time, we’re laying the groundwork for our next Spire on Spotify playlist. Stay tuned to the Spire Blog and Spotify Channel for the drop of our powerful new album. Can you dig it?