Zelnak named winner of Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award

Staff Report

March 13, 2013

Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr.
Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) named Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr.,  as the recipient of the 16th annual Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award for his dedication to the construction aggregates industry, his family and his community.

Zelnak is chairman of the board of directors, Martin Marietta Materials, and served as the 2004 chairman of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

“In my 15-plus years with the association, I have personally witnessed Steve’s commitment to the association, the board and the aggregates industry,” said NSSGA’s President and CEO R. A. Edwards, III.  “We are deeply thankful for his efforts at NSSGA and, undoubtedly, he has helped better every organization in which he has been involved.  His 32 years of service to Martin Marietta Materials and his service to our association have been exemplary.  We have all benefited richly from Steve’s good counsel and judgment.  He clearly merits the association’s highest honor.”

Zelnak entered the aggregates industry in 1974 with Birmingham, Ala.-based Vulcan Materials Co.  His five-year tenure with Vulcan was then followed by two years with Koppers Corp. in Pennsylvania.  Zelnak joined the Martin Marietta Corporation in 1981 as vice president of planning and business development for its aggregates company and was rapidly promoted to positions of increasing responsibility.  He was appointed president of the aggregates company in 1982, elected an officer of the parent corporation in 1989, and promoted to president of the Materials Group in 1991.  In 1994, as president and chief executive officer, Zelnak led the process as Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., became a publicly traded corporation on the New York Stock Exchange.  He was elected chairman of the company’s board of directors in 1997.

During his time as CEO, Zelnak grew Martin Marietta Materials revenues from $450 million to more than $2.2 billion.  He was responsible for more than 70 acquisitions, which significantly broadened the company’s geographic footprint.  He also devised and implemented what was a novel long-haul distribution strategy, which made Martin Marietta the industry leader in rail and/or water distributed aggregates products.

In 2008 and 2009, Martin Marietta Materials was recognized as the leading company in its industry category worldwide in Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Company” listing.

Zelnak serves or has served on the boards of Beazer Homes and Pace Industries, and is active in civic affairs and business groups.  He also holds positions on the Georgia Tech Foundation Board and the Georgia Tech College of Management’s Advisory Board.  In his commitment to Georgia Tech, he established the Stephen P. Zelnak, Jr., Dean’s Chair in the College of Management.  Zelnak has also chaired the boards of many organizations, including the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.  He serves or has served on the North Carolina State University Board of Visitors, as well as its Poole College of Management’s Board of Advisors and Peace College Board of Trustees.

In 1999, Zelnak was the first recipient of the MBA Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Alabama–Birmingham and, in 2008, was elected to the Georgia Tech College of Management Hall of Fame.  In 2010, he was named the “Person of the Year” by North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management.

Zelnak’s commitment to the aggregates industry is underscored by his service to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association as a trustee of the Rocks Build America Foundation (1998-2010); first vice chairman, NSSGA Board of Directors (2003-04); chairman, Personnel, Audit & Finance Committee (2003-04); committee member, NSSGA Membership Development Committee (2004-06); chairman, NSSGA Board of Directors (2004-05); and committee member, NSSGA Nominating committee (2005 to present).

Zelnak and Judy, his wife of 44 years, are committed to their three children and seven grandchildren, as well as to the greater Raleigh community.  Among their many contributions, in 2010, the Zelnaks were pivotal in kicking off a $12-million campaign for the Salvation Army of Wake County, N. C., to fund the construction of a new center to better serve those in need. The campaign, officially named “Campaign for Hope–Building the Center of Hope,” received immediate commitments in excess of $7.1 million, including a generous pledge from the Zelnaks.  The facility is known as the Judy D. Zelnak Center of Hope.

The Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award is named for Iowan Barry K. Wendt (1946-97), a Cedarapids, Inc., employee and industry leader who was universally recognized as a leader in the aggregates industry. It is the association’s highest individual honor and service award.

The award is being announced on March 18 at NSSGA’s 2013 Annual Convention Honor Awards Ceremony in San Antonio, Texas.  Zelnak will be presented the award by NSSGA’s Manufacturers and Services Division’s Chairman Joe Vig, president, Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc., at NSSGA’s Fall Board of Directors meeting in Amelia Island, Fla., in October.  According to Vig, “On behalf of the M&S Division, we are proud to have such a respected and dedicated member of our industry to honor with this award.  He truly exemplifies the spirit of this award.”

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