Fort Payne Quarry, the Good Neighbor
In one case, the quarry worked with the city to develop a land-use plan involving set backs and vegetated, sloped embankments that bordered an old historic town cemetery. When stripping began near the area, the quarry employees made sure to leave plenty of space so the activity could not be seen from the cemetery. Little things like that make a huge difference to the community.
“That’s just an example of their community involvement,” Beddingfield says. “They have also supported downtown revitalization in Fort Payne. Usually, a quarry company wouldn’t even consider a thing like that — pleasing the citizens.”
The city of Fort Payne honored the quarry by presenting it with the city’s 2008 Large Manufacturer of the Year award for its improvements to the quarry and its commitment to the community. The accolades didn’t stop there, however. The Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce nominated the quarry for the 2009 Small Alabama Manufacturer of the Year award. This award is presented annually to a manufacturing company that employs up to 99 people and demonstrates superior performance in the area of customer focus, employee commitment, operational excellence, continuous improvement, profitable growth, and investment in training and retraining. Fort Payne Quarry won the award, an engraved piece of glass in the shape of Alabama, which was presented to Vulcan and Fort Payne Quarry representatives by the governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, during an awards ceremony in June.
“The company (Vulcan) is second-to-none in the industry with respect to safety, health, environmental stewardship, and community relations,” Beddingfield says. “They are all so community minded. If there’s any way, they will perform their jobs and provide the services yet keep the environment and community in mind. I think they do an excellent job of that.”
Fort Payne Quarry is considered a small quarry by Vulcan standards; it produces 300,000 to 350,000 tons of rock per year. It’s not one of Vulcan’s automated, high-tech heritage plants either. The plant is an older one, relatively speaking, with some older equipment and machines that have to be operated manually.
“Everything we do, we have to do by hand,” Grguric says. “We can’t throw a gate to change our stone sizes. We have to go out and change the screens. We run one mode, go up and change the screens, and then run something else.”
The older plant and equipment can be quite a challenge when it comes to maintenance, but the quarry developed a daily maintenance routine that helps the employees stay on top of any potential problems.
“Many parts of this plant are still original,” Grguric says, “and they don’t last if you don’t take care of them. Maintenance is important.”
Daily maintenance begins with a pre-shift checklist. “We made up a checklist for everybody to use in each one of the areas,” Grguric says. “The checklist is specific to this plant. They go over this everyday.”
Each area is checked by those who work in that area and any problems are reported immediately. “I do the pit,” says Jeffrey (Bodean) Dean, pit excavator and loader operator. “Rex does the processing plant, and the yard loader operator will do the stockpile and roads. The guy at the primary will check that off. Then I check the shop and, if we have a driller, he’ll check that [the drill]. The stripping crew will check the berms and make sure the roads haven’t washed away before we start.”
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