Putting Core Values First
When Cemex looked for ways to improve company performance, it turned to six core values determined by its employees.
by Kerry Clines, Senior Editor
Cemex’s Balcones Quarry is located in New Braunfels, right in the heart of Texas hill country and next door to the Cemex Balcones cement plant. The quarry has been one of the top aggregate producers in the nation for several years running. According to Lance Griffin, Cemex’s director of aggregate operations for Texas and New Mexico, a lot of that is due to the company’s core values, which were developed by employees two years ago and have been implemented across all Cemex operations.
“We have six core values that we try to adhere to,” Griffin says. “They are posted everywhere in the plant. It has been a wonderful driving tool to bring us all together.”
The core values consist of Safety, Ownership, Teamwork, Customer Centric, Innovation, and Transparency. “Obviously, Safety is #1, because we care about our employees,” Griffin explains. “They have to return home safe. Transparency is a huge one. We’re about as transparent as a company would want to be. Trying to get everyone to take Ownership is a huge part of it also. It helps to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”
The quarry property covers about 2,400 acres, with mining expected to reach depths of approximately 200 feet. The first 90 feet of the limestone deposit yields quality aggregate, while the next 30 to 40 feet is softer and grinds well, making it suitable for cement. Beneath that is another 70 to 80 feet of aggregate.
“We’re pretty much the economic engine for this area and for Texas, providing a lot of the aggregate for concrete and cement,” Griffin says. “We supply about 3 million tons of cement rock to our cement plant every year. We have a clean stone market — some local clean stone and ready-mix suppliers — but our major clean stone market is down in Houston. We rail six trains per week to Houston. Houston is tied to energy, and the energy sector is doing very well. We also supply the oilfield business.”
The quarry supplies a lot of aggregate for the Eagle Ford Shale, an energy production area nearby in South Central Texas. That area is full of clay rather than rock, so a considerable amount of stone from the quarry is used for building roadways and drill rig pads.
“We look at this market to be very strong, at least for the next 10 to 15 years,” Griffin says. “Obviously, the big push for domestic oil isn’t going to go away. Underneath the Eagle Ford Shale, there’s the Pearsall Shale, which is just as lucrative. It’s about 4,000 to 5,000 feet deeper, so they’re targeting Eagle Ford first, then they’ll go deeper to Pearsall.”
Griffin says the quarry processes about 35,000 tons a day through the primary crusher and is capable of processing more, if necessary. “We’re permitted up to 4,500 tons per hour,” he says. “We run two drills steady. We’re running 220,000 to 250,000 tons per week out of here.”
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