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Burke reflects on family, career at Hall of Fame

By |  April 26, 2022
EJ Burke, who entered the Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 class, began his industry career 54 years ago when he took a job with DuPont. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

EJ Burke, who entered the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 class, began his industry career 54 years ago when he took a job with DuPont. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

EJ Burke, who has spent his 54-year career in the explosives and aggregate industries with DuPont, Dyno Nobel and Quick Supply Co., was inducted March 28 into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame. Below are highlights from Burke’s induction speech. 

ON GROWING UP: I did absolutely nothing to be born into the United States of America. I did absolutely nothing to be born into a kind, loving family in Richmond, Virginia, who gave me my faith. They also gave me a core set of values that provided a foundation for my life – a life that has known happiness and success because of them.

ON THE FIRST LESSON HE LEARNED FROM HIS FAMILY: I was taught to always remember that my life was a gift from God and what I did with my life was an act of thanksgiving back to God for that.

ON THE SECOND LESSON HE LEARNED FROM HIS FAMILY: The second lesson was to always remember, to those who have been given much, much is expected. In our house, we used to always [say]: ‘Look to your left and look to your right, but for the grace of God do you have life.’ We were taught to look to our left and our right, and when we saw those people who were less fortunate, we were to use our time, talent and treasure to help them.

ON THE THIRD LESSON HE LEARNED FROM HIS FAMILY: The third lesson they taught was always to treat everyone the same. In our family, we refer to it as: ‘Be they prince or pauper, you treat everybody the same. With the same respect and kindness that you would like them to give you.’ They were the keys from my family, and I was taught early on that if you live according to that, you will know happiness and success all the days of your life – and my family was right.

EJ Burke and his wife, Barbara, embrace during the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last month in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

EJ Burke and his wife, Barbara, embrace during the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last month in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

ON HIS WIFE & DAUGHTER: To my wife, Barbara, and my daughter, Ramsey: I’d like to say thank you for the love and support and, particularly, the sacrifices you’ve made on my behalf. Relocation under the best of circumstances is never easy. We had several. I would become immersed in a new role and a new assignment, and you ladies would have to be immersed in a new home, finding new friends, the new school, the new churches, the new doctors – you name it. With each transition, it could not have gone smoother. I wouldn’t be here without the both of you.

ON BARBARA: Barbara, for over 47 1/2 years, young lady, you’ve been right by my side. What a ride it’s been, Barbara. What a ride it’s been. Regardless of whether we’re in Venezuela celebrating a distributorship, representing DuPont to the Australian Mining Council in Canberra, at [the] National Stone Association, representing DuPont at the National Mining Association, the AGC, the Pipeline Contractors of America, whether it was the moles, the beavers or the many, many DuPont and Dyno Nobel distributor meetings – regardless of the event, Barbara, your presence and your participation at any of those events enhanced every event. And tonight is no different. Thank you.

ON CUSTOMERS & COWORKERS: To the customers and colleagues that I’ve been blessed to work with over these years, thank you so much. Thank you so much for the opportunity, thank you so much for the council and, most importantly, thank you for your friendship. It is a privilege to know and work with each one of you.

For more on the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, click here. To learn about EJ Burke and his impact on the industry, read his Hall of Fame profile

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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