Granite named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies

Granite has been named as one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies. The Fortune list is a ranking of the world’s most respected and reputable companies as graded by their corporate peers.

Granite President and CEO James H. Roberts attributes the award to the company’s 7,200-person workforce. “It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized among the most admirable companies in the world,” he said in a press release. “This recognition is a testament to our people who are the driving force behind our success.”

Fortune collaborated with partner Korn Ferry to conduct this survey of corporate reputation in which executives, directors, and securities analysts rated Granite on nine criteria, from investment value and quality of management and products to social responsibility and ability to attract talent.

The complete World’s Most Admired Companies list appears in the February issue of the magazine. Industry manufacturers also appearing on the list include Caterpillar, Deere, and Komatsu.

Athabasca Minerals to open Coffey Lake Public Pit

Athabasca Minerals Inc. (AMI) announced that the Province of Alberta issued it a disposition for the Coffey Lake Public Pit (Coffey Lake) and a surface material lease that allows for the extraction of sand and gravel. The authorization, given Jan. 13, enables AMI to commence with activities to open aggregate operations at Coffey Lake to the public.

The Coffey Lake Public Pit is located on 828 acres of land, 56 miles from Fort McMurray and 28 miles from Fort McKay in the heart of oil sands major industrial operations. Coffey Lake is the sequel to the province’s Susan Lake Public Pit which AMI operated and closed in 2019 after 20 years of operation. AMI’s pit management contract with the province for Coffey Lake is 15 years.

“We are pleased to proceed with opening the Coffey Lake Public Pit to serve the needs of local industry, infrastructure projects and contractors,” says CEO Robert Beekhuizen. “The annual demand for aggregates in the Ft. McMurray region is considerable, which past production from the Susan Lake Public Pit demonstrated over 20 years. Coffey Lake is able to satisfy this demand as an important supply source, as well as expand the availability of specialty products. We look forward to bringing Coffey Lake Public Pit into operation this year with best practices, creating economic benefit for the local community and demonstrating our commitment to environmental sustainability.”

AMI will begin with clearing and stripping activities immediately to achieve the goal of opening aggregate operations in the second or third quarter of this year. AMI has already awarded a clearing contract to Shott Earthworks Inc., a local Indigenous Fort McKay Contractor. 

For more information about Coffey Lake Public Pit, AMI has launched a website www.coffeylakepit.ca

Luck Companies takes top honors for employee engagement

In an industry that ranks attracting and retaining employees among its greatest challenges, Luck Companies is having quite a bit of, well luck. It was ranked as one of the top three most engaged places to work in the United States in 2019.

The recognition came as part of the Korn Ferry annual Employee Engagement Awards. This is the second consecutive year that Luck Companies has earned the distinction. Other recipients include Toyota Motor North America, L’Oreal, and the Bank of England.

“This prestigious award recognizes companies that have built superior levels of engagement and work environments in which team members can thrive and want to contribute,” said Charlie Luck, president and CEO of Luck Companies, in a press release.

Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, conducts an annual study of more than three million respondents from more than 500 companies in more than 60 countries. The winners are chosen based on the largest percentage of employees who “strongly agreed” or “agreed” with the following statements:
• “I feel proud to work for the company.”
• “I would recommend the company as a good place to work.”

Winners are companies that hold one of the top three highest scores within their country and category. Luck Companies was selected as a winner in the Small Business category in the U.S.

“This success is directly related to all of our leaders remaining committed to keeping our associates engaged and active in our culture. Administering an Associate Engagement Survey each year keeps us accountable; we’re always looking to raise the bar,” said Mark Barth, chief talent officer at Luck Companies.

“People really care and they know we are going to do something about what they share,” added Luck. “Our engagement, enablement, and values scores show that people are truly invested, they truly want to do a great job, and they truly understand the mission of our company.”

So at the end of the day, the company’s success at employee engagement may have to do more with a focus on its employees and less on luck.

MSHA increases civil monetary penalties

On Jan. 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule in the Federal Register that increases Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) civil monetary penalties by 1.764 percent.

Name/DescriptionMine Act Citation2019 Minimum Penalty2019 Maximum Penalty2020 Minimum Penalty2020 Maximum Penalty
Regular Assessment30 CFR 100.3(a) $72,620 $73,901
Penalty Conversion Table30 CFR 100.3(g)$135$72,620$137$73,901
Minimum Penalty for any order issued under 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.4(a)$2,421 $2,464 
Minimum penalty for any order issued under 104(d)(2) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.4(b)$4,840 $4,925 
Penalty for failure to provide timely notification under 103(j) of the Mine Act39 CFR 100.4(c)$6,052$72,620$6,159$73,901
Any operator who fails to correct a violation for which a citation or order was issued under 104(a) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.5(c) $7,867 $8,006
Violation of mandatory safety standards related to smoking standards30 CFR 100.5(d) $332 $338
Flagrant violations under 110(b)(2) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.5(e) $266,275 $270,972

MSHA publishes final rule for electronic detonators

On Jan. 14, 2020, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a direct final rule to revise safety standards for explosives.  The rule updates existing provisions consistent with technological advancements involving electronic detonators at metal and non-metal mines.  A companion rule provides a procedural framework to finalize the rule if it receives enough adverse comments to withdraw the direct final rule. More information can be found at https://www.msha.gov/regulations/rulemaking.

Peckham Industries acquires John S. Lane & Son

All production employees and most salaried employees will be retained by Peckham Industries, MassLive reports.

Peckham Industries, Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Westfield, Mass.-based JSL Materials, Inc. JSL is the parent company of John S. Lane & Son and JSL Asphalt Inc. In a press release, Peckham noted that JSL Material’s operations, leadership, and more than 100 employees will provide it with expanding opportunities in New England.

“This acquisition allows us to further integrate a very important part of our supply chain in the Massachusetts and Connecticut markets,” said John R. Peckham, president of Peckham Industries. “We recognize the prominent history of JSL Materials, Inc. and the significant contribution the business has made to the region. The acquisition of JSL Materials is a very proud moment for Peckham Industries, and we look forward to the integration of these two family-owned and operated companies.”

JSL Materials Inc. has served the construction materials industry since 1980 and is a leading aggregate producer in New England. It has four quarries and one sand and gravel pit.

“We are extremely excited for John S. Lane & Son to join Peckham Industries,” added Jonathan Lane, vice president and secretary of JSL Materials. “Our shared values as family-owned companies will ensure a seamless transition as we work through the integration process. We are looking forward to being a part of the growth of Peckham Industries into Massachusetts and the surrounding region.”

FMI Capitol Advisors served as the financial advisor to JSL Materials for the transaction. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Vulcan to kick off expansion of its Rockingham Quarry

The North Site will be designed and operated to meet or exceed all state and federal requirements and regulations.

Vulcan Materials Co. announced plans to begin development of a 68-acre property to support its existing quarry in Rockingham, North Carolina, noting that it will generate economic growth and create jobs in the local community.

“This project demonstrates growth and strength in the local and regional economy and will serve as a catalyst that will help us continue generating economic and community benefits in Richmond County,” said Plant Manager Matthew Medlin, in a press release. “For more than 50 years, the Rockingham Quarry has served as an important economic engine for Richmond County and a local community partner, which will continue into 2020 and beyond.”

The quarry, which has 70 employees, has spent more than $3 million with area businesses since 2014. It has also donated more than $233,000 to local schools and community organizations over that same time period.

The Rockingham Quarry has 70 employees and fuels the local economy.
Photo courtesy of Vulcan Materials Co.

Construction on the North Site will begin this month and is expected to be complete in the fall. Vulcan notes that the site will be screened from local roadways by existing vegetation and landscaped berms that will be planted to provide visual screening. The company will also make improvements to a portion of Galestown Road.

To address community questions related to the North Site project, Vulcan created a website and established a community phone line. A community open house is being planned at the quarry later in the year.

In three to five years, Vulcan plans to develop a 218-acre property adjacent to the North Site project. Unlike the North Site project, it will require zoning and permitting. The operator pledged to work with neighbors and the community to “design a responsive plan before submitting plans for the project.”

Boucher succeeds Hartery as CRH chairman

As announced last fall, Richie Boucher steps up as chairman of the board at CRH. Photo courtesy of CRH.

Richie Boucher took the helm as chairman of the board at CRH on Jan. 1, succeeding Nicky Hartery, who stepped down on Dec. 31, 2019, CRH reports. “I would like to thank Nicky for his excellent stewardship of the CRH board during his tenure as chairman and for his commitment to CRH as a non-executive director since 2004, during which time he also held roles of senior independent director and remuneration committee chairman,” Boucher said in a news release. “I and my board colleagues wish him well in the future.” The leadership change was initially announced in September 2019.

Ash Grove Cement seeks shale exploration project

The exploration license would allow Ash Grove to extract 10,000 tons of shale for testing and construct a haul road to the test area. Photo by Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash.

Through Jan. 3, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will take public comment on a draft environmental assessment for a shale-clay exploration project proposed by Ash Grove Cement Co. near Montana City.

According to The Monitor, the state DEQ received an amendment to Ash Grove’s Exploration License to extract a 10,000-ton bulk sample of shale for chemical testing. The site is above Ash Grove’s existing Clark Gulch Quarry just west of Montana City.

In addition, Ash Grove would construct a one-mile haul road to access the test pit area and would complete four drill holes in the area.

View the draft EA online at deq.mt.gov/Public/ea/hardrock.