AggMan of the Year Steve Hatfield: A flight plan for success
An ability to adapt to
change — and to wear many different hats — ensures blue
skies for Steve Hatfield.
Therese Dunphy Executive Editor
Nicknamed the Sand-Man Pilot, Steven P. Hatfield’s career in the
aggregates industry reflects a soaring flight pattern despite the
fact that he joined it as a college student with no industry
experience, simply looking for part-time work. As the industry
struggles with how to retain and recruit good employees, his career
could be used as a blueprint for keeping good employees inside the
“There was never a time that I thought this
was my career,” Hatfield says. “I thought this was just a job to get
through college. Whatever needed [to be] done, I’d just do. I was
just the one who was always building stuff and tinkering with it.”
Hatfield’s commitment to getting things
done, his willingness to take the initiative, and his deep work
ethic have served him well. During his 37-year tenure with Wichita,
Kansas-based Ritchie Sand, Inc., Hatfield’s role has evolved from
night watchman to foreman to plant manager to vice president.
In addition to his ever-growing
responsibilities within Ritchie Sand, Hatfield has also been very
active in state and national associations and has demonstrated
strong leadership in advancing operational concerns at those levels.
And, although he’s personally modest about his contributions to the
aggregates industry, the staff of Aggregates Manager is pleased to
recognize Hatfield as the “AggMan of the Year” for 2005.
During his 37
Sand-Man Pilot, Hatfield has logged more than 2,300
hours in his Cessna 182.
|Hatfield has helped
educate industry peers by arranging plant tours such as
this one, held at Ritchie Sand’s Wichita location in
“Steve is deserving of this recognition,”
says Johnny Green, president of Franklinton, Louisiana-based
Standard Gravel Co., Inc., and a friend of Hatfield. “He has a long
history of serving the industry in areas that aren’t always
glamorous, but are sure useful to the industry and the people in
Hatfield joined Ritchie Sand in 1968. During
his second year in college, Hatfield was a newlywed looking for a
part-time income. After starting at one of the company’s asphalt
plants, he decided to go to summer school and switched to a night
shift at the company’s Wichita sand plant.
As the type of employee who always gets
things done, Hatfield worked with great diversity and autonomy even
as a very young, inexperienced employee. “I ran the plant at night.
I loaded rail cars. I ran the loader and serviced it,” he says.
“They turned me loose, and I learned and didn’t get myself into
Years later, he asked his
former manager how he could have entrusted those responsibilities to
a 19-year-old kid. The manager reminded him that he’d succeeded in
In the early days, Hatfield says that he
truly considered his employment with Ritchie Sand to be a job rather
than a career. “I was almost done with school when the foreman’s job
was offered to me,” he recalls. “I told them that I wouldn’t take it
unless I could complete my last semester of education.”
At that point, Hatfield was traveling 100
miles every other day to finish his bachelor’s degree in industrial
technology and working on days he wasn’t in class. “Looking back,
you do all kinds of bizarre things when you’re young and don’t know
any better,” he laughs.
Through his career path, he’s worn numerous
hats including maintenance foreman, production and maintenance
manager, and general manager. “It went from part-time to full-time
to becoming foreman in five years and becoming a general manager in
another five years,” he says. “That background allowed me to do
essentially everything here. Through my career, I’ve run all of the
equipment. I have a basic understanding of everything from the
dredge to the plant.
MORE FROM Articles
SUBSCRIBE & FOLLOW
- Vulcan shareholders reject board changes at annual meeting960 Views
- Excavators uncover ancient quarry in Jerusalem923 Views
- Former gravel quarry-turned-landfill transforms into nature reserve493 Views
- Americans consume 3 million pounds of minerals in a lifetime238 Views
- Diesel fuel price report: May 13, 2013185 Views