It’s hard to imagine, but I have been a member of the business trade press for almost 25 years. Not counting a few brief stops to cover other industries, most of those 25 years have been spent covering the aggregates industry.
When I think back upon some of the places I have been in search of a good aggregates story, I am amazed by the variety and diversity of the experiences. It’s one thing to have attended hundreds of trade shows, seminars, meetings, tours, press junkets, media events, press conferences and customer dinners as part of your job, quite another to walk through the gates of an aggregates operation.
The first quarry I visited was in 1988 in Kentucky. I didn’t have steel-toed boots, and I had to stop on the way to the quarry and buy a pair. I still have them!
I remember being in a small quarry where the owner was busy clearing land to get at some reserves. He asked me to come along and there I was, hanging on the edge of a bulldozer while he ripped trees down and told me about his operation. I’m lucky I didn’t end up as roadkill.
I remember being in a quarry in California where the wind was blowing so hard, I almost flew away standing on the top of one of the screening towers to take pictures. My face was literally sandblasted.
I remember being in an underground quarry in Kansas where the quarry manager took me to the deepest part of the mine and turned off the engine of his truck, along with the lights. “You are now in complete absence of light,” he said. “It doesn’t get any darker.” And that was a bit scary.
I have been privileged to push the button that set off a blast at a quarry in New York, and let me tell you, that’s a feeling of power.
I have been in quarries next to the ocean and on the banks of rivers; I have traveled to operations in great rural expanses where there is no phone service and very little electricity; I have visited suburban locations in constant conflict with encroaching development; if you count recycling operations, I have even seen aggregates being produced in the big city; and so much more.
This is an industry that is infinitely interesting. I can’t wait for the next 25 years.
Mark S. Kuhar, editor
Member: Construction Writers Association