“The Best Professional Experience of my Life”
A couple of years out of college and freshly married, my career trajectory was not set on one within the aggregates industry, but as with many of us, fate intervened. I found myself in the land of full-sized Tonka trucks and boulders larger than my car, but I was young, new and excited to have such a unique career.
With the prompting of our supervisor, my wife Danette and I attended our first Young Leaders event in Tampa in 2004 with 58 other people. We didn’t know anyone attending and it was a little intimidating at first, but everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly. Shortly after arriving, we started spending time with other “first timers;” little did we know, these people would turn into some of our best friends.
Fourteen years later, our group is now over 150. We’ve explored Mexican Ruins and danced at a fish fry on a Bahamian beach. We’ve learned about aggregate dredging in Louisiana and toured quarries in Arizona. From blasts at quarries, the smells of artificial cherry fragrance at a landfill in California and solar arrays near Tucson to golfing, shotgun shooting and off-road Jeep adventures, we’ve seen each other’s families grow.
Young Leaders gives back to the communities we visit and a few of the amazing groups we’ve helped include the Wounded Warriors, Navy SeaBee’s, Habitat for Humanity, Miami Dade Community Food Bank and multiple park systems.
It’s been the best professional experience of my career and I would highly recommend anyone that is serious about a long-term career in the aggregates industry to become a part. And now, as “alumni,” my wife and I look forward to the reunion years such as this year in Phoenix where we’ll be able to casually re-connect with friendships that started more than a decade ago in Tampa.