Luck Companies donates to help rebuild high school hit by tornado damage

Ben Thompson presented the Luck Companies donation to high school principal David Branham.

Luck Companies presented a $15,000 check to North Central High School (NCHS) in Kershaw County School District. The donation will help rebuild the school following the storm damage caused from a tornado in January. The tornado devastated North Central High School causing insurmountable damage leaving students without a place to call home. Currently, NCHS students are finishing out the remainder of the school year at the district’s vocational building but have been left without necessary resources like a functioning library.

“Luck Companies is focused on actively supporting our communities. It’s an honor to give back by collaborating with North Central High School in their efforts to rebuild their library,” said Ben Thompson, Luck Companies greenfield development director, according to the school district’s web site. “The administration, staff, and community are doing great work and Luck is proud to participate in support of this collective effort. The donation will be used to rebuild the school, but also to purchase high quality, shelf-ready books and other media center materials for the school’s library.

“We are extremely grateful for Luck Companies’ outreach and generosity,” said David Branham, North Central High School principal. “They are serving as a great role model for our students on how to make a positive difference in your local community. The Knight family is very appreciative of their support.” Despite the severe damage caused to the school, the community has come together to support the students and faculty during this difficult time.

“We are honored to call Kershaw County home and to be able to join those who are working to rebuild a great learning environment,” Thompson said. “At Luck Companies, we make it our mission to ignite human potential by engaging in support of our local communities.”

Construction materials companies help tackle local hunger issue

Three construction materials companies – Rogers Group, Blue Water Industries, and Smyrna Ready Mix – are helping tackle hunger issues in Rutherford County, Tenn., the Rutherford Source reports.

The companies made donations that allowed 250 county workers and their families to package 51,250 meals. The meals were then distributed to eight local non-profits who help feed the area’s hungry.

The event was organized by The Outreach Program, a non-profit organization that has distributed more than 550 million meals across the United States and around the world. The local project was the brainchild of Mayor Bill Ketron, who noted the companies’ contribution. “This event would not have been the success it was without the generous sponsorships and volunteers that made it possible,” he told the news outlet.

Six Walker Aggregate sites recognized by OSSGA

Six Walker Aggregates Inc. sites were recognized by the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (OSSGA), earning its Industry Advancement Award, including the Duntroon Quarry, McGregor Quarry, Ridgemount Quarry, Severn Quarry, Vineland Quarries and Crushed Stone, and Walker Brothers Quarries.

The award program recognizes activities that contribute to the progressive image of producer members and the aggregate industry as a whole. The key goal is to raise the bar in the industry by highlighting operations that go above and beyond what is required by legislation.

Highlights from the various operations, in addition to a focus on noise and dust control, include:

Duntroon Quarry keeps neighbors informed through its website, newsletters, and Public Liason Committee (PLC) events. It also engages in sponsorship of community groups, makes contributions to local charities, and provides volunteers for local organizations.

McGregor Quarry hosts an annual community barbecue, site tours, and an annual PLC holiday wine and cheese reception. It also hosts site tours from local schools and public members who want to learn more about its operation. It sponsors numerous organizations and helped organize a food drive for its local food bank.

Ridgemount Quarry donated 128 tons of stone to Habitat for Humanity Niagara and made a cash donation to a local organization that protects and improves the local waterscape. The site is well known to paleontologists who look for fossilized sea scorpions which were once native to the area. It supplied fossil photos and samples for OSSGA’s pilot educational program, Rocks ‘N Our World.

Severn Quarry enforces strict traffic guidelines with the help of a retired police officer. It hosts annual PLC events, student tours, and local model airplane club meetings. Two groups of Georgian College students visited the site last fall as part of their Earth Science program.

Vineland Quarries and Crushed Stone hosts a hut for a local Scout troop, conservation lands, and bee crates for a local beekeeper. In 2019, it donated more than 243 tons of stones to a variety of local organizations, as well as cash and volunteer donations to a local community.

Walker Brothers Quarries also uses a retired police officer to enforce traffic policies. In addition to donated cash and 129 tons of stone to local charitable organizations, site staff lent their time to tree planting and maintenance work at a local butterfly garden.

Aggregate Industries kicks off annual apprenticeship program

In the U.K., Aggregate Industries launched its 2020 Apprenticeship Program, designed to offer people the chance to earn while they learn. Successful candidates are given the opportunity to gain on-the-job experience, while achieving professional qualifications – helping them to lay a solid foundation for a career in construction.

Each year, the Aggregate Industries offers placements for the apprentices across a variety of business divisions, including working at some of the U.K.’s largest quarries, state-of-the-art asphalt plants, and on major road improvement projects – as well as areas such as finance and HR.

“With the continued need to address the ongoing skills gap faced by the sector, a key focus for us is our 2020 Apprentice Program, which demonstrates our commitment to training and investing in the next generation of talent,” said James Roberts, human resources director at Aggregate Industries U.K., in a press release. “Successful applicants will be exposed to a wide range of roles within the business and learn valuable skills.

This year’s program will include nearly 30 nationwide positions, including apprenticeship roles in areas such as business administration, mobile and stationary plants, minerals management, electrical and mechanical engineering, plant operations, and sales. In the program’s 15th year, Aggregate Industries has successfully trained more than 300 graduates and apprentices in a number of these roles to date.

“In recent years through our Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, we’ve also worked hard to increase the uptake of the females,” Roberts added. “To support this, we’ve introduced a successful female mentorship program designed to help our female apprentices tackle the unique challenges they may face within the sector. We look forward to welcoming this year’s recruits and helping them reach their full potential in the future.”

LafargeHolcim decreases debt, increases North American sales in 2019

LafargeHolcim CEO Jan Jenisch described 2019 as “a very successful year,” noting that the company achieved record results in operating profit, net income, EPS, and free cash flow. “Our sharp decrease in net debt has significantly strengthened our balance sheet,” he added in a press release. “We have achieved all our targets for 2019 and have moved our company to a new level of performance.”

Midway through its Strategy 2022 “Building for Growth,” the company has achieved almost all of its 2022 targets. It significantly strengthened its balance sheet and is now well positioned to continue growing profitably with strong market positions in all regions. It also completed eight bolt-on acquisitions in the ready-mix and aggregates markets in 2019.

LafargeHolcim had 2019 net sales of $27.9 billion, which grew 3.1 on a like-for-like basis, driven by growth in Europe and North America, good prices dynamics across all business segments, and higher prices in most markets.

Recurring EBITDA reached $6.4 billion, up 6.5 percent on a like-for-like full year. Contributing to the increase is a $418 million SG&A cost savings program. Net debt was reduced by $4.9 billion.

From a global perspective, aggregate sales were down 3.1 percent to 269.9 million tons in 2019, while cement sales were down 6.3 percent to 207.9 million tons and ready-mixed concrete sales were also down 6.3 percent to 47.7 million cubic meters.

In North America, aggregate sales were up 3.6 percent to 113.5 million tons, cement sales were up 5.3 percent to 20.8 million tons, and ready-mixed concrete sales were up 7.6 percent to 10.2 million cubic meters.

Celebrate Women in Construction Week with educational opportunities

While celebrating Women in Construction (WIC) Week, March 1-7, consider opportunities at next week’s ConExpo-Con/Agg show to sign up for one of several events focused on women in the industry.

“As the largest construction industry-focused trade show in North America, ConExpo-Con/Agg seeks to draw attention to and celebrate the important role women play in the industry,” said Dana Wuesthoff, vice president of expositions and event services with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and ConExpo-Con/Agg show director in a press release. “Working together, Con-Expo-Con/Agg, NAWIC, and WOFA, will not only showcase women industry leaders, but reinforce the career growth potential for women, who today represent a small percentage of the workforce and the opportunity to diversify the industry.”

“According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey, women make up only 9 percent of total workers in construction,” said Chrissy Ingram, executive administrator of NAWIC National. “As our industry continues to grapple with a labor shortage, women are poised to help play a greater role in all areas of construction. By teaming up with ConExpo-Con/Agg, organizations like NAWIC and WOFA can help women thrive in a male-dominated industry.”

The partnership kicks off with a breakfast event, Genders on the Jobsite, on Wednesday, March 11. It features Vicki O’Leary, founder of Be That One Guy, and Lorein Barlow, director and producer of Hart Hatted Women, who will have a candid discussion on how women experience job site opportunities and challenges and explore how everyone has a role in keeping job sites productive and safe for all workers.

On Wednesday afternoon, a panel discussion and networking event will be held in the Tech Experience. It features social media influencer and construction business owner Missy Scherber, Aaron Witt of BuildWitt, Keaton Turner of Turner Mining Group, and Stacey Tompkins of Tompkins Excavating.

To sign up for these and other women events, click here. And, if you know of a woman in the aggregates industry who deserves recognition, email me about a potential profile in Rock Product’s Women who Rock.

Granite named one of the world’s most ethical companies for 11th year

For the 11th consecutive year, Granite has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. It was chosen as one of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. Granite is among 132 honorees who are exemplifying and advancing corporate citizenship, transparency, and the standards of integrity.

“We are extremely honored that Granite has once again received this award,” said President and CEO James H. Roberts in a press release. “Congratulations to all Granite employees for earning this distinction.”

Grounded in Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethics Quotient, the World’s Most Ethical Companies assessment process includes more than 200 questions on culture, environmental and social practices, ethics and compliance activities, governance, diversity, and initiatives to support a strong value chain. The process serves as an operating framework to capture and codify the leading practices of organizations across industries and around the globe. Best practices and insights from the 2020 honorees will be released in a report and webcast in March and April of this year.

“Congratulations to everyone at Granite for earning this recognition,” added Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich.“This is a moment to acknowledge the leaders working to advance corporate cultures defined by integrity and affirm those companies contributing to broader societal imperatives and the greater good.”

U.S. Concrete reports results for fourth quarter, full year

Its focus on operational, technology, and financial improvement initiatives led to strong results in 2019 for U.S. Concrete, Inc. “Our record-high EBITDA in the second half of 2019 highlights the traction that our profit improvement initiatives are gaining within our operations,” said William J. Sandbrook, chairman and CEO, in a press release.

“While our fourth quarter of 2019 results were negatively impacted by a significant increase in our self-insurance reserves, cost claims, and premiums year-over-year,” he added, “we experienced good growth in our aggregate products segment and are seeing positive momentum in ready-mixed concrete pricing to further increase profitability.”

While consolidated revenue in the fourth quarter was down 0.2 percent to $369.2 million, aggregate product revenue increased 7.5 percent to $49.9 million. Aggregate volume increased 7.1 percent to 2.9 million tons. During the quarter, the average selling price increased from $11.35 to $11.93 per ton.

For the full year, consolidated revenue fell from $1.5 billion in 2018 to $1.48 billion. Aggregate product revenues increased 6.9 percent to $195 million, and aggregate volume increased 2.5 percent to 11.4 million tons.

The company’s outlook for 2020, which incorporates its acquisition of Coram Materials, calls for consolidated revenue of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion and total adjusted EBITDA of $195 million to $215 million.

U.S. Concrete acquires New York-based Coram Materials for $142 million

U.S. Concrete, Inc. completed the acquisition of Coram Materials Corp. for a purchase price of $142 million and significantly expanded its East Coast aggregates reserves. “The acquisition should produce a margin profile in excess of the company’s average within the first full year of ownership,” said William J. Sandbrook, chairman and CEO, in a press release. “Post synergies, which we expect to achieve within two years, the deal represents a multiple of approximately seven times EBITDA.”

The acquisition includes significant, premium sand reserves that will not only supply U.S. Concrete’s ready-mix operation in New York City, but also allow for external sales to third-party customers. “Coram’s 50 million tons of reserves, located in the quickly depleting Long Island sand market, increases the vertical integration of our New York operations, strengthens our competitive position, and advances the continuation of our strategy of expanding into higher margin aggregates businesses,” Sandbrook noted. “Following our successful Polaris acquisition, we continue to seek out accretive opportunities of coupling the pull through capabilities of our large regional footprints of ready-mixed concrete operations with attractive aggregate assets.”

CEMEX announces plans for further CO2 emission cuts

CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. announced a new Climate Action strategy, which outlines the company’s vision to advance towards a carbon-neutral economy and to address society’s increasing demands more efficiently, noting ” we believe that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and support the urgency of collective action.”

To date, it reports that it has reduced net specific CO2 emissions by more than 22 percent compared to its 1990 baseline. “But we acknowledge that this is not enough,” the company wrote in a press release. The company has increased its target to a 35-percent reduction of net specific CO2 emissions by 2030. It is also establishing a new ambition to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050.

“Climate change has been a priority for CEMEX for many years. Our efforts have brought significant progress to date, but we must do more. This is why we have defined a more ambitious strategy to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030 and to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050,” said Fernando A. Gonzalez, CEO of CEMEX. CEMEX has an alternative fuel substitution rate of 27 percent.

The company has created a detailed CO2 roadmap to accelerate the roll-out of proven technologies in all of its facilities, including investing in energy efficiency, using alternative fuels, expanding the use of renewable energy, and increasing the substitution of clinker with alternative cementitious materials.