Assessing all things aggregates

By |  July 25, 2022


KRISTEN RANDALL (HAVER & BOECKER NIAGARA): For our manufacturing plants, we saw in 2020 and 2021 that people were resistant or reluctant to buy new equipment. As a manufacturer, that made us more creative. We learned to focus on rebuilds and stocking programs for aftermarket parts. In 2021 particularly, we saw the highest number of rebuilds ever for our company. That was really helpful during that time.

Now in 2022 and looking forward to 2023, we see a lot of interest in buying new equipment. The capital investing looks really strong.

We’re very thankful for the lessons we learned in the last two years, because we don’t know what’s going to happen beyond 2022 or 2023.

ALEX KANARIS (VDG): The challenge we’ve been facing in our company as a manufacturer has primarily been hiring people. It’s very difficult to get people today; there are only so many on the market. And, of course, with inflation being at 8.5 percent, we have to pay more for the people who already work for us.

The other thing we’ve been chasing, of course, is raw material supply. That triggered us to make large investments as COVID hit so we could keep up during the times. We were successful at that. We can do that. But it has been a lot of strain in space. Where do we put the raw material now? And, of course, we have to make last-minute large investments to procure that.

MARVIN WOODIE (CONN-WELD):  We hear that there’s this global economy. I think there is a global economy, but I don’t think it’s what everybody defines it as because we don’t have global politics. We still ship around the world.

But in terms of solutions for employees, as an example, we sat down and reviewed – with all our people inside who worked for our company for 30-plus years – how we can solve employee problems that we may have or the supply chain problems that we may have. We went all the way down to the grassroots of education – the elementary schools in our area, all the way up to the universities. We gave presentations to the students and told them what future they had in West Virginia and the United States. And we got great feedback. We had resumes pouring in. We want to come to work for you, a company in the United States that still manufactures in the United States and delivers on time, which we are doing. We invested in our inventory. And we are building our facility.

We’ve got great young people in this country who want to work. For everybody who reads the media, they might think that’s true. But I can tell you in West Virginia we’re hiring a lot of people. We went from 160 employees in 2020, and we’ve got 250 employees right now – and we’re still growing.



ALEXANDER: I’d like to camp behind that and share an observation. Recently, I was able to tour a large equipment manufacturer’s facility. It was pretty impressive. They had 900 employees there. As I walked around the facility, I saw a building called ‘Training Academy.’ That was a big part of their business. I inquired and found out that they had an apprenticeship program. They’re taking people who don’t even have a high school education. They had to be 18. They’re bringing them in, spending thousands of dollars on tools for them. And if the employee stays there long enough, they get to own those tools. But they’re compensated.

As an industry, we have to be thinking more along those lines to develop future workers. I asked [this manufacturer] what their turnover rate was, and they said it’s under 10 percent. That’s pretty huge in this day and age. So I just throw that out as a challenge to the industry to look more at developing people.

KANARIS: I would very much like to be here. But you cannot get castings made in the United States because of regulations, environmental controls. It’s just very, very difficult.

Now, on the other subject of hiring people and what we have experienced when we are interviewing young people to enter our workforce: One of the questions they ask is about a work-from-home program. This is a problem. A lot of people want to stay home and work. I believe the only thing that’s going to solve this is to go through a recession so they understand that you have to get up in the morning, dress, take a shower, get into your car and get to your office. Otherwise, you will not – you cannot work.

Comments are closed