AggMan of the Year 2008: David W. Carroll
As the structure developed, the number of environmental professionals throughout the organization has grown. Now, nearly every cement and gypsum wallboard plant has at least one environmental manager, and key environmental leaders have been developed in each of the construction materials regional operations. The company also has its own formal auditing plan. “Over time, it has borne some fruit,” he observes. “Ultimately, we had to make sure we had better compliance assurance programs in place with more routine reporting to senior management and more formal auditing programs.”
At the same time Carroll was helping to build Lafarge’s internal environmental structure, his influence rapidly expanded beyond the internal organization. “As a close colleague and friend, David Carroll has proven integral in forging vital partnerships between Lafarge and key associations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations),” says Herve Stoeck, LNA’s vice president of environment and public affairs.
For example, when Carroll joined Lafarge, the company’s assets were being run as a string of local operations. Executives recognized that the result was the company lacked impact and influence and sought ways to increase both. “The guy who hired me said, ‘You’ve got a blank piece of paper. What would you do?’” he recalls. His response was to become more active in the many trade associations to which Lafarge belonged.
After having worked for ACC, Carroll recognized that the value of association membership is driven by active involvement. “It’s not just showing up at trade association annual meetings,” he says. “It’s the people who commit for the long haul and volunteer to work on specific trade association projects that end up in leadership roles.” He suggested that the company leverage the value of its association memberships, and he became active in the Portland Cement Association and the National Stone Association (NSA), which later merged into the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA). Carroll lobbied for the hiring of NSA staff members to address environmental issues, even as prior association leadership was resistant to addressing such issues. “It’s no longer an industry that can hide from regulations,” Carroll says. Ultimately, the staff grew to include subject matter experts, became more assertive with regulatory agencies and personnel, and grew its influence over decision makers.
“David has encouraged NSSGA to look at environmental stewardship in a more holistic manner through his leadership and vision in sustainability and biodiversity,” says John S. Hayden, PG, REM, NSSGA’s vice president, environment, safety and health.
In 1997, Lafarge acquired Redland and Carroll acquired another organization membership – this time with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). He attended meetings and thought the council offered an interesting opportunity for medium and large corporations to work collaboratively with conservation organizations. “The aggregate people started first,” Carroll says of Lafarge’s ventures with the organization. “It fit neatly into reclamation activities.” Later, cement and gypsum wallboard operations also joined the efforts. “It helped change how the operations were perceived in the community,” he adds.
During the last decade, Lafarge has had 48 site programs certified as wildlife habitat and another seven site programs meet the criteria for WHC’s Corporate Lands for Learning program. Through that program, operations partner with local schools to bring students to the sites to see and learn about wildlife and conservation in a natural habitat. “When students have a field trip to one of these sites, they just can’t stop talking about the field trip and they just jabber away when they get home,” Carroll says. “They listen and they learn, and that’s the amazing thing.”
The program takes a lot of work, he adds, but can also pay huge dividends. “You go to a public meeting and have your friends from the schools show up,” he says. “The teachers start talking and they are people who are known and respected in the community. These are very potent programs.”