Industry promotion discussed at Ohio trade show

By |  November 19, 2012

The Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) hosted its annual meeting and trade show Nov. 15-16 in Columbus, Ohio. About 500 manufacturers, dealers and producers attended the event, which featured more than 50 exhibitors.

A few educational sessions were available to attendees, including one featuring a panel of schoolteachers who discussed a program that introduced them and their students to the aggregates industry.  The program, Project Stone, is hosted by Wright State University in partnership with OAIMA, which encourages producers to contact their local school district to get teachers involved.

Project Stone is funded through a state grant and OAIMA. There is no charge to the teachers participating in this project, and all teachers receive a stipend. Part one of the 2012 project included a two-week summer inquiry-based field trip and laboratory experience. The field trips served as an opportunity for teachers to collect samples for their classroom, take photographs and use collected materials to develop their own inquiry-based classroom activities.

“Our industry is [poor] on public relations,” says Dennis Phillips, president of both Phillips Companies and OAIMA. “We tend to be out of sight, out of mind. But we aren’t the evil guy. We’re necessary for the economy.”

And Project Stone conveys that very notion to Ohio’s schoolteachers and, in turn, their students.

“We as an industry need to let people know what’s going on and that we are good for the entire area,” Phillips says.

In addition to its educational track, OAIMA invited two local celebrities to the Nov. 15 festivities. Legendary Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce delivered a rousing speech at the day’s luncheon, while Drew Hastings, a national comedian and mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio, drew laughs in a late-afternoon session as he discussed his ineptitude as a farmer.

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