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Young Leaders a Great Event

Dragline_BucketMay 16, 2011 – The NSSGA Young Leaders (YL) Annual Meeting took place this past weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  I am glad I was able to take part in such a great event. The YL meeting is a way for the younger generation (age 40 and below) to develop leadership and management skills, build a national network of industry professionals and to discuss/address industry topics. This was my first YL event AND my first visit to CEMEX FEC Quarry. As the photo of the dragline bucket depicts, I had a blast at the quarry and well, even witnessed a blast while I was there. Beyond the quarry fun, there were educational meetings, a community project with Feeding South Florida and a lot of relationship-building, which I hope turns into life-long friendships. Stay tuned for a more detailed account of my experience at the YL meeting in our upcoming issue of Rock Products. -- Josephine Smith

Bipartisan PR

artbaMarch 13, 2011 – Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton didn’t agree on much, but they were both strong supporters of transportation investment to create jobs and grow the economy. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the American Public Transportation Association announced the launch of a radio and television ad campaign featuring these presidential icons. The two groups aim to elevate transportation investment into the ongoing congressional debate about the federal budget and future investment priorities. They are calling on Congress to pass a well-funded, multi-year highway and public transportation bill this year. The surface transportation authorization legislation expired on September 30, 2009, and has been extended until September 2011. I like the idea behind this campaign. Both sides of the aisle are covered, and the big issue is illustrated effectively. Let's hope it helps.

ConExpo-Con/Agg Survivor

idaho131x200May 9, 2011 – Many of us like to say we survived ConExpo-Con/Agg, but Rita Chretien is a REAL survivor. She never made it to the show, becoming stranded for 49 days in the wilderness in northern Nevada, where the vehicle in which she was traveling became stuck on a snowy logging road. She was found alive by hunters about 4:00 p.m. last Friday – seven weeks after she and her husband Albert, who own an excavating business in Canada,  went missing. He is still missing. He left the vehicle to try and find help and never returned. Rita Chretien was reported in a fair condition at a Twin Falls, Idaho, hospital. Read the amazing story here.

Don James Looks Ahead

JamesMay 5, 2011 – Vulcan Materials released its first quarter 2011 financial report, and in dissecting it, it is interesting to read what the company's president, Don James, identifies as the factors that will influence demand for the company's products in 2011. He specifically cites 1) the need for modest growth in residential construction; 2) the stabilization of private nonresidential construction and 3) the continuity of federal funding for highways at current levels. "We expect the full year growth in volumes to be weighted more towards the second half of the year driven primarily by growth in demand," he said. "Certain large projects in a number of key markets are expected to drive aggregates volume growth in the second half of the year. The mid-point of our estimated range in aggregates shipments continues to be 2 percent above the prior year's level. Additionally, recent weather-related disruptions from tornadoes and flooding are likely to affect second quarter aggregates shipments in a number of southeastern and Mississippi River markets and push some demand to later in the year. We believe a more stable demand outlook will benefit pricing and we expect most of our markets to achieve year-over-year price growth in 2011. As a result, we continue to expect aggregates pricing in 2011 to increase 1 to 3 percent from the prior year's level. The earnings effect of the increase in aggregates pricing will be somewhat offset by the energy-related cost pressures expected throughout the remainder of the year. With that said, we expect aggregates earnings in 2011 to increase from the prior year due to higher shipments, increased average selling prices and the benefits of production efficiencies and cost management measures."

NIMBY up North

nimby2May 3, 2011 – There is a major NIMBY storm brewing in Canada. The Highland Companies is seeing local opposition to its proposed Melancthon Township, Ontario,  mega-quarry. The site is located in prime farmland in Ontario’s potato-growing region known for a rare type of soil that is particularly suited to potato cultivation, the locals say. If allowed to proceed it would reportedly be the second-largest U.S. owned quarry in Canada. “It will destroy productive farmland and threaten the headwaters of three important rivers – the Grand, the Nottawasaga and the Pine- water sources for one million people.” Carl Cosack, a local cattle and horse rancher told the local media. “200 ft. below the water table is deeper than Niagara Falls and will require the extraction of 600 million litres of water per day. They claim it will not have a negative impact, it’s simply not credible. The company application runs more than 3,100 pages, and took five years and 20 consulting firms to create. The public was given 45 days to respond." The Highand Companies disputes claims that its operation will have a negative environmental impact. Read its response here. Look for a full story in an upcoming issue of Rock Products.