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.

CEMEX’s social programs impact 45,000 youth in 11 countries

CEMEX executives from around the world supported Soccer in the Streets, a non-profit youth development organization in Atlanta.

According to CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V., its social programs have supported approximately 45,000 young people in 11 countries. The programs are designed to enhance and develop employability capabilities for youth.

Since 2014, the company has collaborated to develop youth employability and entrepreneurial skills through social initiatives such as its leadership of the New Employment Opportunities (NEO) initiative, the CEMEX-Tec de Monterrey social innovation award, community engagement plans, inclusive businesses, and skilled volunteering activities globally, it reported in a press release.

Additionally, as part of these efforts, CEMEX continues to partner with the Global Alliance for YOUth (All4YOUth) to positively impact more than 65,000 young people by 2022. All4YOUth is a business-driven movement of like-minded organizations working together to help young people around the world to acquire the skills they need to thrive in the workplace of today and tomorrow.

“At CEMEX, we partner with NGOs, universities, technical schools, and government to help youth to develop the necessary capabilities to improve their employability and entrepreneurial skills throughout the communities and countries in which we operate,” says Martha Herrera, corporate social responsibility director of CEMEX. “We are pleased that our partnership with All4YOUth exceeded our goal for the first year of our collaboration, and we now aim to support even more young people, representing greater opportunities for both the participating companies and the youth.”

RGI team helps raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana

Community relations is all about relationships, and those relationships – with both customers and community organizations – drive some of the initiatives that Rogers Group Inc. (RGI) supports in the Louisville area. For example, the group’s Central Kentucky team recently worked with one of its customers, Irving Materials, Inc. (IMI), to help fund the Kids and Clays event, which benefitted the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana.

“Steven Brandenburg, sales manager at IMI, reached out to me and asked if we would participate,” says Scott Harrison, Rogers Group’s sales manager for central Ohio and Kentucky. “And, of course, we did.” Rogers Group donated to the event and sent a team to tour the local Ronald McDonald House.

“I’m doing everything I can – and we’re doing everything we can as a team – to give back to the communities that we operate in,” he says. “We sell rock, and for a lot of people, it’s hard to understand what it is we sell and why that product is needed. That’s why we do our best to educate the community about us, what we stand for, and how important our product is. In the construction of anything they see, roads, bridges, and buildings, our product is in all of that.”

The event was a tremendous success. It raised more than $83,000 – nearly double the prior year’s event. “You helped make this an incredible event… We are truly amazed at the kindness and generosity you have given us,” wrote Hal Hedley, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Kentuckiana, in thank you note sent after the event. “Your sponsorship means families will have a soft landing place when life interrupts their plans. When their children require critical medical treatment that isn’t in their hometown, we can embrace families and give them the support they need during a challenging times in their lives. Your meaningful donation helps underwrite our vision that no family should have to sleep in their car nor in a waiting room while their child receives the healthcare they need.”

Harrison says that his group participates in numerous community-minded events throughout the year, including local ministries, school programs, field trips, and more. “But there are a few that just stand out,” he explains. “This was one of them because any time you’re giving back and it impacts kids and families directly, it really reaches out and grabs you.”

For more information about the organizations Rogers Group Inc. supports, check out my February Good Neighbors column in Rock Products.

Start with People

People are the most valuable asset you have. Sharing their stories can be the best way to share the story of your own business.

For the better part of three decades, I have written about the aggregates industry. Oh, I’ve had opportunities to cover other industries: engineering, bridge building, road construction, the veterinary care, and even the salon industry. But my heart has always belonged in the aggregates industry. Why? Two words. The people.

The aggregates industry is populated by all types of interesting people and sharing their stories is profoundly satisfying. While having spent decades sharing these stories from one producer to another, I’m now expanding that role. I will continue to highlight people throughout the industry, but I also want to help the industry tell its story to the public at large.

It is a critical time for the industry to more broadly open its doors to the communities in which they operate. We fiercely compete with other fields for potential employees. This means we need to show potential workers the benefit of investing their time with us.

We also need to show local communities what good neighbors we are by sharing our stories in new ways. A story in the local paper might cross someone’s breakfast table, but will it be easy to find when they want to learn more about this business? Probably not, but social media offers many avenues to show the public what the industry is about.

Operators regularly hold open houses, host school tours, and sponsor benefits for local charities. Share these stories and – most importantly – share the stories of the people who work for and with us. They are members of the communities in which we operate.

It’s common to hear the phrase, ‘people are our most important asset.’ Typically, it’s said with regards to safety and worker protection, but the same holds true with community outreach. They are – quite literally – the face of your business.

Building stronger community ties is all about building relationships. And those relationships start with people.