By Tina Grady Barbaccia
Boulder Dash Makes a Bold Statement
Hosting a run through the quarry promotes healthy living, employee camaraderie, and community education.
The aggregates industry has long suffered from the “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) mentality because its operations are often thought to be dirty, unsafe, and a nuisance to the community. But opening up the operation to the community for a 5K (3.1 miles) “Boulder Dash” race through the quarry, followed by a spring fling party, has helped Lafarge’s Cumming, Ga., location clear up these misperceptions.
“Quarries are a mystery to the community,” explains Jason Teter, vice president and general manager of Lafarge’s Georgia aggregates operations. “It is an excellent opportunity for Lafarge to make a lasting positive impression on the community.”
Teter, who ran the race last year and is planning to run with his wife and 1-year-old daughter in a jogger this year (the race is slated for April 16, after Aggregates Manager press time), says the comments he heard during the race last year demonstrate the positive impression the race makes on the community.
“I heard so many people say, ‘I can’t believe how clean the quarry is,’” Teter points out. “They assume because dirt and rock — stone — come out of it, that it is a dirty place. But we take a lot of pride in keeping a clean operation. This is an opportunity to show this to the community.”
Creating a positive atmosphere goes a long way if the operation needs to get a new permit or get a new piece of property zoned, Teter says, especially because the operation is in an urban, densely populated area with a residential area, hospital, commercial businesses, and retail stores as neighbors.
It is events such as the race that can really help make the quarry an integral part of the community by giving back, he says. Nearly 1,500 people from the community participated in the race.
The 2nd Annual Boulder Dash 5K Run in the Quarry starts at the local hospital (Northside – Forsyth), a race co-sponsor, and goes down the pit’s road to the scale house, circles the base pile, passes under the conveyor, and back out of the quarry.
“People do not know what to expect when inside the gate,” Teter says. “This race has helped to create a positive perception of our business in the community. It also allows our employees to show off their work place. This means a lot, as the quarry employees take great pride in their work.” The Cumming Quarry’s plant manager approaching Teter about painting “Home of the Boulder Dash” on the loadout bins is proof of this pride.
In addition to the benefits of improved community relations, Teter says, the race gives the site an opportunity to stress the importance of health as part of what it does. “We really push safety and health at Lafarge,” Teter says, “but in the past, we have overlooked the health side. This is a great opportunity for the families of those that work at Lafarge to get out and do something active together.”
Lafarge picked up the cost for any employees who wanted to participate in the race. It’s a small gesture, Teter says, but in a difficult economic environment, it helps demonstrate appreciation for employees and shows them Lafarge really values health. It also builds solidarity amongst employees. “My operations manager and I go out and train together,” Teter says. “It motivates people. We have created an informal competition with my direct group. It builds a bit of a team and gives employees something positive to hang on to in difficult times.”
The proceeds of the race help fund the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department’s “Envision a Fit Forsyth” project. Last year’s proceeds went toward nutritional guides and signs at various intervals along the Big Creek Greenway, a fitness path in the community where the Cumming operation is located. The guide shows the relationship between exercise, good nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle.
“This is the culmination of a lot of work and effort,” said Lynn Jackson, chief administrator of co-sponsor Northside Hospital – Forsyth, following last year’s donation. “It’s a great way to enhance our greenway with these signs that link healthy eating and exercise.” This year’s donation will again benefit the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department for a project or program that has not yet been determined.
2010 Inaugural Boulder Dash
Number of runners and walkers: 1,470 plus 200 post-race participants for Spring Fling
Money raised: $36,615
Money donated: $10,000 to Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department through the Healthcare Association of Forsyth County for “Envision a Fit Forsyth” program
2011 2nd Annual Boulder Dash*
Expected number of runners and walkers: 1,600 plus 300 post-race participants for Spring Fling
Expected money to be raised: $40,000.
Money to be donated: Donation will be made to the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department for a yet-to-be designated program in 2011.
*As of Aggregates Manager press time.
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Knive River Expands Operations in Western North Dakota Division
Knife River Corp. plans to open a Western North Dakota Division to be headquartered in Williston with full aggregate, ready-mix, asphalt, and concrete construction services and employees performing both private and public work throughout western North Dakota and eastern Montana.
“As the energy industry continues to expand its reach in northwestern North Dakota, the construction demand and need for ready-mix and aggregate products is also increasing,” said Knife River President and CEO Bill Schneider in a press statement announcing the expansion plans. “One of the biggest critical needs in that area is to rebuild the highway infrastructure. Knife River also excels in highway reconstruction and rehabilitation and will be ready to make safer, stronger roads that can handle the increased truck traffic.”
Brad Arntson, Knife River’s Central Minnesota Division operations manager and a 35-year construction industry veteran, will serve as the new Western North Dakota Division president.
The office and all production equipment will be situated on property in north Williston. At Aggregates Manager press time, Knife River had plans to have full ready-mix operations available by early May. Arntson said that when North Dakota’s spring road restrictions lift, an asphalt plant transferred from Knife River’s Boise, Idaho, operations will be placed there permanently. Knife River already has secured a paving contract with the city of Williston.
Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said he is encouraged that Knife River chose to expand into his region of the state.
“I am pleased to see a construction company with a solid reputation and proven project record bring more products and services to our area,” he said. “We have had unbelievable growth in Williston, which has put a strain on our infrastructure. Road development and reconstruction and residential expansion are primary needs within the city and county. Knife River will be a great addition to our business community.”
Knife River already has a strong presence in Bismarck, Fargo, Beulah, and Washburn, providing primarily ready-mix, aggregates, and concrete construction in those markets.
“We look forward to working with the energy companies, municipalities, the Department of Transportation and county personnel, farmers, and business owners in the area,” Arntson said. “Knife River is a North Dakota home-grown company and is proud to be expanding within the state, providing more construction jobs and the necessary products and services to build the state’s infrastructure.”
Vulcan, Luck Stone Receive Gold Awards
The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) gave top honors to Vulcan Materials Co.’s Stafford Quarry and to Luck Stone’s Powhatan and Spotsylvania operations during the NSSGA Annual Convention held in late March in Las Vegas.
Vulcan’s Stafford Quarry in Stafford, Va., part of Vulcan’s Mideast Division, received an Excellence in Community Relations Gold Award, a national award recognizing a superior level of active involvement with and positive contributions to the facility’s neighboring community. Luck Stone’s Powhatan plant in Powhatan, Va., won a Gold Award for Environmental Excellence, and its Spotsylvania plant in Fredericksburg, Va., received a Gold Award for Community Relations.
Stafford Quarry has been a long-standing participant of Vulcan’s Adopt-a-School program, which partners with Friends of the Rappahannock — the largest donor to date to the Stafford County Civil War Park — and offers tours of the operation to school groups, Cub Scouts, and geology students.
“Vulcan has been an excellent community partner in Stafford over the years, especially when it comes to our school children,” says Cord Sterling, Stafford County supervisor for the Rockhill District. “Vulcan is committed to improving our children’s lives through tours, scholarships, stone donations, and educational opportunities. We congratulate Vulcan on this special recognition and are proud of their continuing success — as a business and a good neighbor — in Stafford County.”
Pat Johnson, principal at Rockhill Elementary School, Stafford Quarry’s Adopt-a-School partner, says the operation, and Vulcan as a whole, has been a great supporter of the school. Todd Helton, Vulcan’s market manager, is an active tutor at the school, as well as a mentor to students. Vulcan also played an instrumental role in the construction of a student walking/running track, as well as having contributed labor and supplies to beautify the Children’s Garden at the entrance of the school, notes Johnson.
“Vulcan Materials Co. is highly deserving of this award,” says Johnson. “Vulcan supports our school in so many ways.”
Gray Kimel, Vulcan’s Mideast Division president, says this award exemplifies the commitment that Stafford Quarry employees have to the operation’s neighboring communities. “I am so very proud that our employees have achieved national recognition for their excellent community involvement,” says Kimel.
John Pullen, president of Luck Stone and chief growth officer of Luck Companies, is also proud of his company’s employees and notes that NSSGA’s recognition of the Powhatan and Spotsylvania plants is because of the “amazing work” associates at the plant have done.
Spotsylvania is involved with several community organizations, including the Spotsylvania Education Foundation, Spotsylvania Greenway Initiative, and Massaponax High School. The location proactively engaged federal and state officials to build relationships with members of Congress and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Powhatan implemented tactics that supported an environmental strategy focused on water quality, recycling, community involvement, and air quality.
Luck Stone Spotsylvania Plant Manager Hugh Stevens points out that this is the third Gold Award that his operation has won from NSSGA. “It makes us feel like we’ve set ourselves apart,” he says, adding that “the greatest impact to community relations is what we do here on a daily basis.” Hugh also notes the importance of consistently performing all environmental controls, responding to neighbors, maintaining the appearance of the site, and engaging the community.
Previously, Spotsylvania won an About Face in 2006 and an Environmental Excellence award in 2008.
Luck Stone’s Powhatan has also now won its third NSSGA award. The other two awards were an Environmental Eagle Award in 1996 and Quarry of the Year in 1998. In 2010, the Powhatan Plant won statewide recognition from the VTCA and DMME for reclamation.
“The guys have taken real pride in the recognition and the fruits of their labor,” said Powhatan Plant Manager Jamey Epps. “They’re all excited to see their plant’s name and their work recognized at a national level.”
For a downloadable PDF of all recipients of the 2010 Environmental Excellence Award Winners, go to http://www.nssga.org/communications/EnvAwards2010.pdf. For the full list of 2010 Awards of Excellence winners, go to http://www.nssga.org/communications/CRAwards2010.pdf. For the full list of the 2010 Safety Award winners, go to http://www.nssga.org/communications/SafetyAwards2009.pdf.
Gold Award Winners
Sterling Safety Award Winners
Agg Rock Materials Co. Small Category Grove City, Ohio
Renner Quarries Ltd. Small Category Dixon, III.
Tresca Bros. Sand & Gravel Inc. Small Category Millis, Mass.
Bond Construction Corp. Small Category Spencer, Mass.
Ted Ondrick Company, LLC Small Category Chicopee, Mass.
Iddings Quarry, Inc. Small Category Mifflinburg, Pa.
Bing Construction Co. of Nevada Small Category Minden, Nev.
Chantilly Crushed Stone, Inc. Medium Category Chantilly, Va.
Nugent Sand Co. Medium Category Louisville, Ky.
Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Co. Medium Category Pine Bluff, Ark.
Boxley Materials Co. Medium Category Roanoke, Va.
John S. Lane & Son, Inc. Medium Category Westfield, Mass.
Aggregates USA, LLC Large Category Knoxville, Tenn.
Safety Excellence Award Winners
Martin Marietta Materials W Division North Troy Quarry Mill Creek, Okla.
Vulcan Materials Co. SE Division Siloam Quarry Greensboro, Ga.
Vulcan Materials Co. SW Division Knippa Quarry Knippa, Texas
Vulcan Materials Co. SE Division Barin Quarry Fortson, Ga.
Vulcan Materials Co. SE Division Dalton Quarry Dalton, Ga.
Vulcan Materials Co. SW Division Abilene Black Abilene, Texas
Lehigh Hanson Inc., N Region KY Quarry Somerset, Ky
Tilcon Connecticut / Southington Sand & Pit Southington, Conn.
an Oldcastle company
New Enterprises Stone & Lime Co. Union Furnace Tryone, Pa.
Quarry & Mill
Fred Weber, Inc. Jotori Dredging, Maryland Heights, Mo.
TXI TXI Mill Creek Mill Creek, Okla.
Luck Stone Corp. Spotsylvania Plant Fredericksburg, Va.
Tilcon New York Inc. Mt. Hope Quarry Wharton, N.J.
Vulcan Materials Co. Stafford Quarry Stafford, Va.
Rogers Group, Inc. Gallatin Quarry Gallatin, Tenn.
Shelly Materials Co. Clay Center Quarry Clay Center, Ohio
Vulcan Materials Co. Huntsville Quarry Huntsville, Ala.
Granite Construction Co. Indio Facility Indio, Calif.
Luck Stone Corp. Powhatan Plant Powhatan, Va.
CalPortland Co. Pioneer Aggregates Dupont, Wash.
Conco Quarries Willard Quarry Willard, Mo.
Vulcan Materials Co. Pride Quarry Tuscumbia, Ala.