Rod Martin received the 2016 Mark S. Walsh Leadership Award, sponsored by Rock Products, at the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s (NSSGA)Young Leaders Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Martin is the third-generation executive of Bechtelsville, Pa.-based Martin Stone Quarries Inc.
How do you feel about receiving the Mark S. Walsh Award?
It was a great honor to receive the Mark S. Walsh Award. The Young Leaders is where I started my journey with the NSSGA so to be recognized by my peers in the group is awesome.
Why is the Young Leaders organization so important to the industry?
The Young Leaders is the future of the NSSGA. The relationships that we build in the group will stay with us for our entire career in the aggregates industry.
How did you get involved in Young Leaders?
I got involved when another producer near us encouraged Martin Stone Quarries to join NSSGA in order to be active in the Young Leaders. We joined and I started to get involved with the Young Leaders, attending my first meeting in 2000 at Marco Island, Fla. From then until I “aged out” in 2012 we only missed one meeting. I remember the first full NSSGA Board Meeting I went to as the chair of the Steering Committee was in Pinehurst, N.C. It was a good meeting, but it was a much older crowd. Now the board meetings are filled with people who have come up through the ranks of the Young Leaders, and we all have relationships from the group.
What do you like best about the organization’s annual meeting?
The best part about the Young Leaders Annual Meeting is the ability to network and learn from your peers in the industry.
Having a meeting where everyone is at around the same stage in life is great for relationship building. When we were active most everyone brought their spouses as well as kids, so not only did I get to build friendships with people so did Jenn and our boys. A lot of those people from across the country we are still close with today.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming young leaders?
Take advantage of the Young Leaders programs. You will build relationships there that will benefit you and your company more than what the “cost” is to attend. The people you meet and the things you learn from those people are more valuable than any class you can go to. You will be able to call someone from across the country and ask them how they deal with certain situations and get fresh ideas you may have never thought of before.
How is technology changing the way the aggregates industry works?
Technology is moving fast and the aggregates industry is keeping pace. Just looking at the way plants are automated now is amazing. You can start up a crushing plant on your iPad now where in the past there would be about 20 buttons you would need to hit, in the correct order, or there would be trouble!
In what ways can the Young Leaders “lead” the industry into the future?
As part of the NSSGA’s initiative started by Charlie Luck III, the Young Leaders will have a bigger role in the leadership of the organization which is great. The Young Leaders are the future of our industry so the sooner we can get them involved the better. The more committees members of the Young Leaders can get involved in the more they learn about our association and how it operates which will help them to one day move into leadership roles.