MSHA cancels Program Policy Letter on escapeways

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced the cancellation of a proposed Program Policy Letter on escapeways and refuges in underground metal and non-metal mines.

The proposed Program Policy Letter was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2019, (84 FR 36623) for public comment.  In October 2019, MSHA held a public stakeholder meeting to give the public additional opportunity to provide feedback.  After reviewing the comments, MSHA has determined that the proposed clarification is not needed.

The Notice of Cancellation can be viewed on May 26, 2020, at the Office of the Federal Register’s Public Inspection Desk.

Foundation established by former Ash Grove Cement president funds relief efforts

The Sunderland Foundation gave The Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) a $100,000 gift, the Ozarks Independent reports. In turn, the CFO has passed over $1 million in COVID-19 grants.

In its latest round of donations includes grants to the following:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Springfield for food, supplies and virtual programming opportunities.
  • O-STEAM to support the use of 3D printers to make face shields for emergency workers.
  • People Helping People for food pantry expenses.
  • Shepherd’s Nook Food Pantry for food pantry expenses.
  • Ministerial Alliance of the Hermann Area to assist low-income families with COVID-19 emergency expenses.
  • Mountain Grove Love Food Center for food distribution.
  • NAMI for virtual support-group expenses and mental health responders.

The Sutherland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as the president of Ash Grove Cement Co. for 33 years.

CalPortland named Energy Star Partner 16th time

CalPortland announced that it has once again been awarded the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership and superior contributions to Energy Star by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“CalPortland is proud to receive the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award,” said CalPortland President/CEO Allen Hamblen in a press release. The award is the highest honor among Energy Star awards.

“Finding new and innovative solutions to create energy efficiencies has become an integral part of our company culture, and we are honored to celebrate our employees’ ongoing efforts by achieving this tremendous award for the 16th consecutive year,” Hamblen added. “CalPortland remains committed to reducing emissions and reducing our company’s environmental footprint by contributing to the circular economy.”

CalPortland has been an Energy Star Partner since 1996 and says it remains dedicated to demonstrating and promoting energy efficiency within the company and to other companies in the construction materials industry. The 2020 national award is the sixteenth consecutive Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for CalPortland; a feat that has never been matched by any other industrial company.

Since 2003, CalPortland’s energy management efforts have reduced the company’s overall energy intensity by 16.5 percent, avoiding $135 million in unnecessary energy costs. Key 2019 accomplishments include:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint and embodied energy of its cement products by developing for the market blended cements.
  • Advancing energy efficiency and emission reductions through extensive upgrades to the company’s mobile fleet, rail operations, and cement plants, amounting to significant expenditures in capital efficiency projects.
  • Working with the leadership of the national cement, concrete, and asphalt trade associations to increase industry involvement in energy management and Energy Star.
  • Earning Energy Star certification for the eighth consecutive time for the Rillito Cement Plant.
  • Incorporating strategic elements in the corporate energy program by using Energy Star’s cement plant certification, Challenge for Industry, and Treasure Hunt campaign.
  • Focusing on community engagement and in-person education by reaching more than 136,000 individuals on good energy management best practices and Energy Star.
  • Incorporating energy management and Energy Star into the company’s corporate-wide professional development training program through videos, an intranet site, new employee orientation, and regular employee engagements.

“I salute the 2020 Energy Star award winners,” said Anne Idsal, EPA principal deputy assistant administrator for air and radiation. “These leaders demonstrate how energy efficiency drives economic competitiveness in tandem with environmental protection.”

NSSGA pushes Young Leaders meeting to August

In response to the situation surrounding COVID-19 virus, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) announced it would reschedule its Young Leaders Annual Meeting to Aug. 2-5 in Naples. The event was originally scheduled for May 4-7.

“NSSGA and our member leadership had to make difficult decisions regarding our upcoming Young Leaders Annual Meeting,” the association posted on its website. “In an effort to protect the health of our members and staff, we are postponing the 2020 Young Leaders Annual Meeting, to be rescheduled for Aug 2-5, 2020 in Naples at the La Playa Beach & Golf Resort.”

NSSGA staff will work with currently registered attendees to either refund registration fees or transfer it to the new dates. Those who have registered will not be charged a cancellation fee if they choose to cancel.

“We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this process in the coming weeks,” the post said. “The YL Annual Meeting is an event that we look forward to every year for its unparalleled opportunities to build your professional network and advance your leadership skills.”

CRH holds inaugural Women’s IMPACT Conference in Washington, D.C.

A total of 31 female leaders from across CRH’s businesses joined together in Washington, D.C. in mid-March to celebrate Women in Construction Week. The event was in the lead up to International Women’s Day as part of CRH’s inaugural Women’s IMPACT Conference. The women engaged with Congress to educate them on the issues facing the industry.

Over a two-day span, the group met with 45 representatives, senators, and chiefs of staff and lobbied Congress to discuss critical issues for the construction materials industry including workforce development, infrastructure funding, and regulatory and permitting reform.

“The conference gave us a platform to tell our story as women and construction industry professionals,” said Sheila Barkevich, hot mix asphalt (HMA) performance manager for CRH Americas Materials. “Decisions made at the federal level can directly affect our lives and businesses. It’s up to us as industry experts to help guide them to make the best decisions. To be given the opportunity make an impact with this amazing group of women was an awesome experience.”

With an estimated 1.1 million women working in construction, women now represent 9.9 percent of the industry workforce. The gender pay gap is significantly smaller in construction occupations, with women earning on average 99.1 percent of what men make. The U.S. average is 81.1 percent.

CRH has set a goal to achieve 33 percent female senior leadership by 2030, aligning with the standard set for FTSE 100 companies.

CRH brought dozens of its female leaders to Washington, D.C. for its first Women’s IMPACT Conference. Over two days, they met with 45 representatives, senators, and chiefs of staff, including Rep. Roger Williams.

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.”

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 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.”

Martin Marietta to move into new corporate headquarters

In 2021, Martin Marietta will move its corporate headquarters from 2710 Wycliff Road in Raleigh into a new office building, according to a Triangle Business Journal report. The company leased the new five-story, 125,000-square-foot GlenLake Seven office building and will be its sole tenant.

Construction began on GlenLake Seven in the first quarter of 2019 and is expected to be ready for use during the first quarter of 2021. Amenities will include a fitness facility, conference center, cafe, and activated outdoor spaces, according to the news report.

“This new building at GlenLake Seven, together with the surrounding Office Park, perfectly meets the needs of our growing business and complements our focus on enhanced efficiencies and sustainability,” Ward Nye, chairman, president, and CEO of Martin Marietta, told the Triangle Business Journal.

Louis Griesemer to receive Barry K. Wendt Commitment Award

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) announced Louis Griesemer, former president and board member of Springfield Underground, will receive the 2020 Barry K. Wendt Commitment Award during NSSGA’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We are pleased to recognize Louis with our association’s most distinguished individual award for his dedication to family and service to the aggregates industry,” said NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson in a press release. “He has shown incredible commitment to improving both the lives of those around him and the industry broadly, and we are truly grateful for his service.”

As a lasting memorial to Wendt, who exemplified extraordinary commitment to family, career and the aggregates industry, NSSGA’s Manufacturers and Services Division established the annual award in 1998 to recognize an individual in the industry who exhibits the dedication exemplified by Barry Wendt, both in commitment to the industry and the community in which they live.

Griesemer has been a leader in the aggregates industry at within NSSGA for years, including service as NSSGA’s Board Chairman in 2007.  He has been a leader on safety, which culminated in NSSGA honoring him by renaming the top safety award to be the Louis Griesemer Sterling Safety Award.

“I’m very honored to receive this award,” said Griesemer. “Barry Wendt encouraged me, as he did so many others, to actively engage in the Association.  I can only hope that I was able to encourage others in the way Barry inspired me.”

The Barry K. Wendt Commitment Award will be presented to Louis Griesemer during NSSGA’s 2020 Annual Convention on Tuesday, March 10.