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.

Michigan bill could streamline sand and gravel permits

Michigan sand and gravel producers could see streamlined permitting if S.B. 431 passes.

If passed, Michigan Senate Bill 431, sponsored by Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), would protect future development of the state’s natural resources by “prohibiting a local unit of government from preventing, prohibiting, or denying a permit, approval, or other authorization for the mining of natural resources if the natural resources were valuable and very serious consequences would not result from the extraction of the natural resources.”

Testifying before a Senate committee hearing, Kevin Cotter, general manager of Bay Aggregates, noted that some townships place unfair obstacles in the way of obtaining permits. The result is higher costs for road construction.

“We are left to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and unnecessary time pursuing permits to remove aggregate from land that we own,” Cotter says in WUOMFM report.

Opponents, including State Rep. Gary Howell (R-North Branch), claim that bill was written by and for gravel companies. He noted that nearly 100 residents attended the hearings. “If SB 431 were to pass, these individuals would effectively have no voice at all regarding gravel mining operations in their own community,” he says. “The fight is far from over, but I intend to see it through.”

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.”

Carmeuse to move popular tourist attraction at its Calcite plant

As Carmeuse Lime & Stone plans to mine additional reserves at its Calcite plant in Rogers City, Mich., it will first have to move a popular tourist attraction: its quarry lookout. The yet-to-be-determined location will be its third in the quarry’s more than 100 years of operation.

“The original location of the quarry view, and that’s the name that was used, it was Lookout Point… was closer to Petersville, and it had a building that housed restroom facilities and interpretative materials about the plant,” Mark Thompson, Presque Isle County Historical Museum executive director, told Presque Isle County Advance and Onaway Outlook.

The viewing area was originally developed in 1949 by Michigan Limestone Operations (MLO) in response to growing interest in the operation. The fenced area was located at the highest point of the quarry’s south bank, about 140 feet above the quarry floor. A year later, the attraction became so popular that MLO added a visitors center and turned it over to the Rogers City Chamber of Commerce. By the middle of September 1950, nearly 16,000 individuals had signed the register in the visitor’s center. Estimates put the actual number of visitors closer to 20,000.

In 1951, the chamber of commerce placed billboard ads along nearby highways advertising the site, dubbing the quarry “the Eighth Wonder of the World.” Attendance climbed to more than 37,000 visitors, and limestone samples were distributed to visitors.

While the new location has not yet been identified, tree clearing has begun and Turner Mining Group will then remove overburden. “That’s just the first step,” William de Changy, operations manager. “We will do the test holes to see the chemistry. Our goal is to extract the stone from this area in the future. When we get to quarry view, then it would be the time to relocate it to somewhere else. When it’s time to close this one, the other could already be opened.”

In 2012, a documentary on the operation, A Century in Stone, commemorated 100 years of quarry operations at the plant. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards from the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences: Best Writer/Program and Best Historical Documentary in 2013 and won an Emmy in the Best Writer/Program category.

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.

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.

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.

Ohio earmarks funding for workforce training

Ohio has set allocated $34 million in funding for the new Innovative Workforce Incentive Program. Image by Neon Brand for Unsplash.

The Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) announced a list of industry-recognized credentials eligible for $34 million under the new Innovative Workforce Incentive Program. The program was developed by Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly so students could earn in-demand, industry-recognized credentials.

According to ODE, the program includes $9 million in the state’s two-year budget for grants to assist school districts, community schools, joint vocational schools, and STEM schools in establishing credential programs to prepare students for careers in priority industry sectors.

School districts are also eligible to receive a share of $25 million over the current state budget to encourage the start of additional credential programs. Under this program, schools can receive $1,250 for each qualifying credential earned by students.

“When Ohio students graduate high school, they should be college or career ready,” said Governor DeWine. “This program helps schools expand credentialing opportunities and ensures potential employers that students have the skills they need to succeed in high-wage, in-demand fields.”

Ohio’s MACC Tech program (Mining, Asphalt, Concrete, Construction Technology) is among the programs approved by ODE. It provides a 12-point industry credential for high school students.

“We applaud the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, ODE, and the Ohio General Assembly for providing funding to jumpstart important, groundbreaking programs like MACC Tech,” said Pat Jacomet, executive director of the Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals Association. “OAIMA members and our industry partners are excited to get started!”

Find more information on high school industry-recognized credentials here.