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Now Incorporating Aggregates Manager
 

 

 
 


Whether as an Operator or Manufacturer, Hise-Trujillo Leverages Communication Skills to Build Relationships.

Jennifer Hise-Trujillo has literally spent her life in and around the aggregates industry. She grew up listening to her parents talk openly about the family’s manufacturing business, earned a degree in mining engineering from New Mexico Tech, and worked as an operations production coordinator and plant manager before returning to CEMCO, where she serves as vice president.

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Jennifer Hise-Trujillo, vice president of CEMCO, grew up around the industry and started her career with TXI.

Finding Her Own Path

As a child, Hise-Trujillo loved animals and recalls that her earliest career aspiration was to be a veterinarian. When the family’s Great Dane had a tumor on its leg, she was allowed into the procedure room where the vet used a scalpel to cut to where the tumor was located. “They said I turned three shades of green,” she remembered. Since then, emergency first aid, site safety and CPR training have been the extent of her medical inclinations.

Instead, she reviewed her interests and realized she liked to work with equipment and be outdoors. She also recognized her disposition was well suited to engineering. When considering colleges, her parents nudged her out of the nest. “My folks were awesome,’” she said, noting that they advised her to push herself and expand her comfort zone.

She took that lesson to heart. During an internship with a copper company, she did “grunt labor” with the mill’s clean-up crew, but soon realized she wasn’t gaining meaningful experience. She spoke up to the mill manager, asking to be challenged. The result? A transfer to quality control. “I got sieve and crusher analysis, I got particle size monitoring, working with all the big toys,” she said. “It was flipping awesome!”

Taking the Long Way Home

After completing her degree in mining engineering, Hise-Trujillo was hired by Texas Industries, now part of Martin Marietta. She started in the corporate headquarters, but was “very, very happy” to be moved to its Bridgeport Plant, where she spent two years as production coordinator, responsible for the concrete and asphalt plants. “A lot of the guys on the team were amazed that I could operate cranes and forklifts and could listen to the motor sounds on the crusher and know when it was starting to bog down,” she said. “It helped for building that team camaraderie.” After two years, she was promoted to plant manager of TXI’s Red River Sand Plant and gained her first experience in dredging. Communications again played a big role in her success as she spent time in the field each day. “I remember having an initial meeting and basically saying that we would learn together, but if I make a call and you have an issue and will not follow through, there’s the gate.”

Returning to the Fold

After about a year at the sand and gravel plant, it was time for Hise-Trujillo to return home, join the family business, and learn to balance being a daughter and an employee. “There was a change in communication style. It was hard that first year,” she said, noting that relationships evolved, and family time and work time were clearly delineated.

Since her return, CEMCO has moved the business to a new location and received ISO 9001:2015 certification. While learning the business management and financial side of the business, Hise-Trujillo said that she also focuses on the relationship-side of the business with customers, vendors, and employees. “You have to define your company culture, style and drive,” she explained. “I love our corporate motto. It’s progress and integrity.”