State and Province News December 2010
Knife River Corp. closed its Lockwood machining and fabrication shop, The Billings Gazette reports. “Montana’s construction industry continues to be in a depressed state, and we need to adapt our business to maintain our product quality, customer service, and competitiveness in our markets,” said Knife River’s Montana and Wyoming President Dave Zinke. He noted that the company can more effectively use its people, resources, and equipment. Pam Link, senior public relations representative for Knife River, told the newspaper that part of the cause of unemployment in the construction industry is due to Congress’ failure to pass a new six-year highway funding bill. In related news, the company’s Belgrade Division employees welcomed Montana U.S. Representative Danny Rehberg to their facility to discuss that very issue. “We had an excellent conversation about the need for a long-term highway funding bill,” said Knife River employee Jackie Flikkema, who tracks issues, campaigns, and candidates for the company’s Montana operations. “I believe it is important for all of our members of Congress to find out more about what has happened to our industry and understand how funding construction has a positive ripple effect for the whole country.”
District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the state Department of Transportation violated the law in its rejection of the lowest bid on a major 2009 road project and improperly withheld documents the losing company wanted for a bid protest. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Singleton said the DOT did not adhere to the state procurement code or the state Inspection of Public Records Act. She said that Fisher Sand & Gravel-New Mexico Inc. should have been awarded the contract for a $40 million widening of Interstate 10 south of Las Cruces. The company had the lowest bid, but before the contract could be awarded, the newspaper reports that DOT officials had secret conversations with the second-lowest bidder, FNF Construction. “NMDOT’s actions in entertaining FNF’s improper communication…undermine the integrity and transparency of the bid protest process,” the judge wrote.
Dolese Brothers announced that it acquired A&M Concrete Inc., noting that the move will allow it to expand its operations into Tulsa and the northeast region of Oklahoma. The Journal Record reports that terms of the sale were not disclosed. “This acquisition significantly extends Dolese’s market and should eventually open further growth opportunities in the northeast region of the state,” said Dolese President Mark Helm in a written statement. “We look forward to working with A&M’s employees and valued customers and are excited about the growth opportunities in this new market.” With the acquisition, Dolese has more than 40 ready-mixed concrete plants in Oklahoma and Louisiana and 15 stone, sand, and gravel operations.
The Nature Conservancy completed its $23.4 million purchase of 1,270 acres of property near Mount Pisgah from the Wildish family. According to The Register-Guard, the purchase was largely funded by lottery revenues from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and electricity ratepayer dollars from the federal Bonneville Power Administration. The property is adjacent to 3,500 acres of public land managed for conservation and recreation. The conservancy is expected to manage the new land for 10 to 15 years before transferring it to public ownership.
The Utah Safety Council honored Staker Parsons Companies and its subsidiary Western Rock Products with three awards for the company’s safety performance, the company reports. Western Rock was honored with the Perfect Record Award, an award presented to organizations that work 12 consecutive months without incurring an OSHA recordable injury, illness, days away from work, or death. The Award of Merit, presented to Staker Parsons and Western Rock, recognizes organizations that demonstrate an improvement in lost-time and incidents rates, and/or maintain rates that are consistently below the industry average. Staker Parson Vice President of Safety & Human Resource, Chris Kinnersley, credits Western Rock’s safety record to behavior-based safety processes that value active involvement and ownership of every employee in the safety culture. “BBS has been a positive experience. It has served as an awakening, making me more aware of my safety and aware of others’ safety,” said Western Rock’s Tina Jasper. “I have noticed that co-workers are more comfortable communicating about safety concerns and are offering their suggestions about how we can all improve safety.”
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