Engagement is key in community relations
Grove Stone and Sand Company, a Hedrick Industries operation in Black Mountain, North Carolina, holds a 2013 Star of Excellence and a 2013 Gold Award for Community Relations.
Presented in March by the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), the Star of Excellence shows that the operation has won at least two gold awards in the past five years. The Gold Award reflects Grove Stone and Sand’s work within its community in 2013.
Hedrick Industries Environmental Director Jason Conner says the operations’ efforts to reach out to its neighbors was a major factor that helped bring home the award.
The operation, Conner says, has a community advisory board that consists of up to 10 neighbors. Grove Stone and Sand meets with the board once a year, giving board members the chance to have input about site operations.
“We go over what we’re going to do this year, look ahead two to three years, then give them a chance to ask questions,” Conner says.
He notes that the operation considers the board’s input and implements
Conner adds that Grove Stone and Sand aims to keep an open-door policy with its neighbors.
“We want to be a great neighbor,” Conner says.
In addition to communicating with neighbors and taking input, the operation participates in community events.
Every year, Grove Stone and Sand opens its site for a 5k trail run. The race, dubbed “Rock the Quarry,” raises funds for the Black Mountain Home for Children, which Conner says is “a great charity.” The race is now in its sixth year.
The operation also hosts a hike to the site’s waterfall, during which participants can hike around the property.
Grove Stone and Sand offers on-site educational tours for Grand Valley State University, local elementary schools and the Colburn Science Museum. Conner says the goal is to “educate on how to mine sustainably and educate on geology.”
He notes that operation teaches what is mined and why it is mined.
“We want to teach them everything you use is mined or its grown,” Conner says. “We want to educate the community on the importance of mining and why mining is necessary.”
Conner says the operation hopes to further strengthen its community relations by focusing on growing its educational outreach. He says the operation also intends to continue to develop the 5k trail run and to develop wildlife areas.
Conner says other operations who want to grow community relations should start by developing an open-door policy with neighbors.
“Reach out to neighbors and develop a community advisory board. Open your doors and let them see what you’re doing,” Conner says. “Brag about your industry and brag about mining.”
He says it is also important to demonstrate that everything your neighbors use is mined or grown.
“Have your neighbors involved and educated them about why you do what you do,” Conner says.
Conner says the best way to build a strong relationship with the community is to let them know their opinions are important. “Let them have a say in how you’ll operate.”