Reasons for optimism

By |  November 25, 2013

At the Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association meeting in Columbus this month, Jerry Wray, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, was less than optimistic about the chances for a large, multi-year highway bill anytime soon. “We will standing here a year from now still without a highway bill,” Wray said. “A big bucket of money from Washington is not coming.” And while Wray might be right on that point, there are many reasons for the aggregates industry to be optimistic going into 2014.

When we held the annual Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference this fall in Ft. Myers, Fla., the general outlook from both aggregate producers and equipment manufacturers was “cautiously optimistic.” During the event, Roland Boney, vice president at Vulcan Materials Co., said, “I’m based in Florida where the residential fall was steep. Now we’re starting to see the curve going back the other way. … Residentially, there is sustainable growth in Florida for the years to come.”

And Dan Goethel, vice president of aggregate operations at Rogers Group, added, “Certain areas of the country are benefiting from highway projects. Others are benefiting from residential and commercial upticks.” Read the roundtable transcripts in the December issue of Pit & Quarry.

Ward Nye, president and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials, is quoted in our State of the Industry report (also in the upcoming December issue): “We believe the recent positive trend in housing starts will continue and our residential end-use market will experience double-digit volume growth [in 2014].”

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association is optimistic about the future, as well. In an interview with Pit & Quarry, Mike Johnson, new NSSGA president and CEO, said, “Now is one of the strangest environments I have experienced in more than 20 years of working with Congress. That is not to say, by any means, that we cannot succeed in winning passage of a long-term highway bill and a sustainable funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund. It does require that we think and act differently though. As Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ ”

Read the full interview with Johnson in the January 2014 issue of Pit & Quarry.

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