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Baker, Burke, Stedman, Thomey enter Hall of Fame

By and |  March 29, 2022
Chris Nawalaniec, left, Dave Thomey, EJ Burke and John Baker, pose with plaques representing the class of 2021 and 2022 Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame inductees. Photo: P&Q Staff

Chris Nawalaniec, left, Dave Thomey, EJ Burke and John Baker II pose with plaques representing the class of 2021 and 2022 Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame inductees. Photo: P&Q Staff

Four new members were welcomed to the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame Monday night during a black-tie induction ceremony and dinner at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

Those inducted were Ted Baker, EJ Burke, Nathan P. Stedman and Dave Thomey. While Baker and Thomey were enshrined as members of the 2022 class, Burke and Stedman entered the Hall’s ranks as representatives of the 2021 class.

More than 130 guests attended the ceremony, which was the eighth in Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame history. The ceremony took place in conjunction with the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) Annual Convention the night before the start of AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo.

“We feel very fortunate to finally return to a live event to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of our 2021 and 2022 classes,” says Rob Fulop, the publisher of Pit & Quarry who served as an emcee of the induction ceremony. “Congratulations to our new inductees, and a huge thank you to those who joined us in celebrating them.”

Edward L. ‘Ted’ Baker

Photo: Edward L. Ted Baker

Baker

Baker, now 87, served Florida Rock Industries in capacities such as CEO and chairman during a career that spanned nearly a half-century.

Baker was the biggest driver of Florida Rock’s growth, taking an enterprise his father started during the Great Depression and expanding its reach across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic tremendously during the latter half of the 20th century.

In 1972, following the merger of several established concrete companies into Shands & Baker, the name of the corporation was officially changed to Florida Rock. The Shands & Baker Division was incorporated into an aggregate group.

Florida Rock sold in 2007 to Vulcan Materials in a deal valued at more than $4 billion, but not before Baker diversified his company and grew it through his own strategic acquisitions and a highly calculated plan over many years.

“What made him great was his honesty, direct leadership, charm and humility,” says John Baker II, who delivered induction remarks on behalf of his older brother, who was unable to attend the induction ceremony due to health reasons. “More than all his public company-wide interactions, what made him so beloved was his interpersonal dealings with our people. They all knew him not as Mr. Baker, but as Ted. They all really knew him and they considered him their friend.”

Edward J. ‘EJ’ Burke

EJ Burke

Burke

Burke, meanwhile, made a name for himself in the blasting industry as an acclaimed salesman, people person and someone regarded as the consummate gentleman.

Burke’s career started in 1968 when he joined DuPont following the death of his father. He spent 28 years with the company, holding a variety of positions.

In 1996, Burke joined Dyno Nobel and spent another 24 years with the mining explosives manufacturer before retiring. Burke’s retirement, however, lasted all of 11 days, as he joined Quick Supply Co. in 2021. Burke now serves the company as general manager of national accounts.

“To be a member of the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame and to be talked about in the same breath as the wonderful people who are members of the Hall of Fame, is truly a privilege,” says Burke, who was on hand in Nashville for the celebration. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with these men over the years and to be a part of this is truly, truly special.”

Nathan P. Stedman

Nathan P. Stedman

Stedman

Born in Cincinnati in 1838, Stedman brought forward the disintegrator – now commonly known as the cage mill – more than a century ago.

Stedman was the son of Nathan R. and Sarah Stedman. Historical documents note that he grew to maturity at age 11 in Aurora, Indiana, spending two years in college before going to work in his father’s foundry, where he spent 50 years of his life.

Upon his father’s death, Stedman took over the business and conducted it with his sons, W.R. and George M. Stedman. The cage mill was patented in 1894, proving highly valuable in producing agricultural lime. But the Indiana businessman’s machine was also employed to disintegrate or pulverize ores, clay and other substances.

Stedman’s company, now known as Stedman Machine Company, continues to operate today out of Aurora.

“We would like to think that if Nathan P. Stedman could travel through time and see Stedman today, he would be pleased,” says Chris Nawalaniec, president of Stedman Machine Company, who accepted the Hall of Fame honor on behalf of the 2021 inductee. “His story is certainly inspiring, in that, we are still celebrating his genius, his inventiveness [and] his entrepreneurial spirit more than 145 years after introducing the cage mill to our great country.”

David R. Thomey

David Thomey

Thomey

Unlike Stedman, Thomey’s track into the Hall of Fame was in the area of community relations, where he continues to work to change the perception of local quarries. Over the years, Thomey did as much in a variety of positions at the national, state and local levels.

Thomey began his industry career in 1980 with Maryland Materials, a company owned, at the time, by his father. Thomey remained there until 2000.

He spent nearly the next decade in several different industry positions, including ones with NSSGA and the Maryland Aggregates Association. Thomey also oversaw hot-mix asphalt operations for a period at Edgemoor Materials.

Thomey returned to Maryland Materials in 2008 and stayed there until 2015, when Bluegrass Materials purchased the company. Thomey currently serves as a consultant in Maryland for Martin Marietta.

Without his community relations efforts, Thomey’s peers say the perception of the aggregate industry would be vastly different than it is today.

“As I got into this industry, I was determined to learn everything I could about it, and boy, did the teachers appear,” says Thomey, as part of his Hall of Fame induction remarks. “From Bernie Grove, I learned to get involved. From Kim Snyder, I learned to listen. And from my dear friend Paul Mellott, I learned to attack each day with infectious enthusiasm. If we get involved, if we listen and we attack this life with infectious enthusiasm, we can not only make our life a little bit better, we can indeed change the world.”

A lasting legacy

Baker, Burke, Stedman and Thomey join 32 others who were enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame between 2013 and 2019.

Like their Hall of Fame predecessors, the 2021 and 2022 classes will be represented in the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum in Leadville, Colorado, where replicas of their plaques will be on display.

Other members of the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame include:

Bob Bartlett, National Stone Association
Glen Barton, Caterpillar
Eli Whitney Blake, Blake Rock Crusher Co.
J. Don Brock, Astec Industries Inc.
Emil Deister, Deister Machine Co.
Paul Detwiler Jr., New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co.
Paul Detwiler III, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co.
Richard J. Feltes, Feltes Sand & Gravel Co.
Gene Fisher, Fisher Industries
Manfred Freissle, Polydeck
Bernie Grove, Genstar
LeRoy Hagenbuch, Philippi-Hagenbuch
Howard Hall, Iowa Manufacturing/Cedarapids Inc.
Donald M. James, Vulcan Materials Co.
Charles W. Ireland, Vulcan Materials Co.
Chuck Lien, Pete Lien & Sons
Charles Luck Jr., Luck Stone
Charles S. Luck III, Luck Stone
Samuel Calvin McLanahan, McLanahan Corp.
Paul C. Mellott Jr., Mellott Company
Bruno Nordberg, Nordberg Manufacturing Co.
C. Howard “Ward” Nye, Martin Marietta
Ralph Rogers, Rogers Group
William J. Sandbrook, U.S. Concrete
George Sidney, McLanahan Corp.
Neil Schmidgall, Superior Industries
Kim Snyder, Eastern Industries
Franklin E. Squires, Superior Industries
Arthur Taggart, Columbia and Yale Universities
Mark Towe, Oldcastle
Washington Samuel Tyler, W.S. Tyler/Haver & Boecker
Stephen P. Zelnak Jr., Martin Marietta

Learn more about the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame at www.pitandquarryhalloffame.com.


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