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How Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel rolls with the changes

By |  January 16, 2020
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Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel sits alongside the East Fork of the San Jacinto River that runs through Cleveland, Texas. Photo by Joe McCarthy

Rolling with the changes.

Aggregate producers adopt mantras like this for a number of reasons – as the workforce landscape evolves, because of environmental requirements and as new equipment and technology emerge.

For Robert Reynolds, a manager at Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel, rolling with the changes is a way of life.

“Everything changes,” he says. “Work ethics change, products change and equipment changes. You just have to be prepared to change with it.”

Learning to adapt is vital for aggregate producers, especially in an industry that values its long roots. Traditional approaches to workforce challenges and the everyday production flow have come under the microscope for aggregate producers wanting to enhance their operations.

At Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel, questioning the status quo and adapting to the changes have become a way of life.

An open door and mind

Labor is critical for aggregate producers. Finding the next workforce wave is a fundamental component of the future success of any operation, but even more so in the state of Texas where total production exceeds Florida and California combined.

Fortunately for Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel, Reynolds rests easy knowing his labor situation is in a comfortable spot.

“We do pretty good with our workforce,” Reynolds says. “We have good people already, and generally we always have people coming by and filling out applications. We are always accepting applications.”

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Robert Reynolds, a manager at Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel, holds rainbow rock that’s used in exposed aggregate applications. Photo by Joe McCarthy

According to Reynolds, working in the leading aggregate-producing state actually remedies any workforce worries he has. With so many operations around, Reynolds often sees equipment operators from crushed stone sites looking to sand operations for opportunities.

Texas Concrete Sand & Gravel, which employs about 15 people at each of its two sites, sees change as a benefit and the means to a better future. This mentality starts with Reynolds, who has about 20 years of experience in the aggregate industry.

Reynolds, who has a construction background, takes change head on and carries this same approach to his work in the aggregate industry.

“I always tell people change is usually for the better,” Reynolds says. “It’s like throwing a rock into the pond. It’s going to ripple for a while, but the water will calm down and go flat again. And when it does, it will generally be good.”

Managing 30 employees in two different parts of the Greater Houston area brings out different work ethics and personalities. Despite these differences, the job still needs to get done at the end of the day.

“I taught people that you need to adapt and you’ve got to change to the people you work with or to your environment,” Reynolds says.

People may push back on change because they are rooted in their experience, Reynolds adds, but that isn’t always the best thinking. Challenging the status quo, learning a new skill or taking a different look at an operation can be the key to unlock better production.

“People view the world as ‘it’s my way or the highway,’” Reynolds says. “My way might have been the way someone’s been doing it for 30 years, but that person might learn a better way that shows my way might not have always been right. Someone might show me a way that saves me money or makes working easier. We all need to be more open-minded.”

Joe McCarthy

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is a former Associate Editor of Pit and Quarry Magazine.

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