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APR 2018

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • April 2018 • 7 IN THE KNOW investing in infrastructure," said John - son. "We have a President in the White House who understands that the way to get this economy going again is to build. When we're building, as a country, those are our best times," said Johnson. Captain Michael Abrashoff, former Naval Commander & Author of "It's Your Ship," gave the opening keynote of the 2018 NSSGA Convention. He talked about what it took to turn around the performance of the U.S.S. Benfold, one of the lowest performing ships in the U.S. Navy when he took command. By the time he left his command, the ship had won multiple awards, including the Spokane Trophy as the highest performing ship in the Pacific Fleet. The crew set a record that still stands today for the highest gunnery score in the Navy, scoring 104.4 points out of a possible 105. To change the culture, Captain Abra- shoff met with each crew member, 310 in all, individually. He turned the mil- itary hierarchy upside down. "I don't care what your age is or what your rank is. You can come into work every day and challenge 240 years of rules and regulations, and if you have an idea that can improve something even 1 percent, I want to hear from you. I want to be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we were today," he said. Leaders from NSSGA, the National Ready Mix Concrete Association and Portland Cement Association discussed legislative and regulatory matters that affect the many aspects of the construc- tion materials industries. Jeff Davis, editor of Transportation Weekly and a senior fellow at the Eno Center for Transportation, highlighted the challenges involved with tackling infrastructure on the heels of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. "We had hoped that infrastructure would be one of the very first legislative items in the Trump Administration," Davis said. "However, Congress decided to attempt healthcare reform, followed by tax cuts. The tax cuts added $1.5 trillion to the deficit, which makes proposing another $1.5 trillion outlay for infrastructure diffi- cult to pass." Randy Lake, president, CRH Americas Materials, was elected chairman of the NSSGA board of directors during the convention. "Optimism is the strongest building material on earth, and I am optimistic about our industry's future as this association continues to focus on advocating for infrastructure," said Lake. "I appreciate this opportunity to serve the members of NSSGA and the industry as chairman." Lake leads a family of companies across 43 states with more than 22,600 employees and 1,200 locations as the CEO of the largest vertically integrated construction materials company in the United States. As chairman, Lake told NSSGA members during the 2018 Annual Convention that executing on the Rocks Build Amer- ica 2020 strategic plan will be critical to achieving positive goals for the entire industry. "The potential impact of a $1.5 trillion investment in our infrastructure would be incredible, and should be the focus of the association and member companies throughout the year. Our collective voice is stronger than any single company," Lake said. Since joining CRH in the Americas in 1996, Lake has held a number of operating positions with increasing responsibility, beginning in the Archi- tectural Products Group as the general manager of several block and paving stone manufacturing facilities. He holds an MBA from Marymount University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Grace College. Johnson said that the association and member companies are looking forward to Lake's leadership. "We are very for- tunate to have someone so experienced and dedicated to the industry as Randy to lead us through the next year. He is the ideal person to lead our association through the tremendous opportunities ahead," he said. NSSGA recognized two operations for outstanding community relations programs during the 2018 Annual Con- vention in Houston. FEC Quarry, a Cemex operation in Miami, and Stringtown Quarry, a LafargeHolcim operation in Stringtown, Okla., each received a Platinum Award of Excellence. "Quarries provide good-paying jobs in addition to producing the materials used to build local roads, schools, hos- pitals and more. A good community relations program is key to any opera- tion anywhere in the country because it educates our neighbors about the value of our operations," said Johnson. "The people at FEC and Stringtown Quarries exemplify what it means to not just work in a community, but to be a part of that community." Outgoing NSSGA Chairman Mark Helm addresses the convention. NSSGA President Michael Johnson urges producers to take lessons from the convention to improve their own skills and businesses.

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