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Baker honors Hall of Fame brother during induction ceremony

By |  April 25, 2022
John Baker II delivered remarks honoring his brother, 2022 P&Q Hall of Fame inductee Ted Baker, who was unable to attend the ceremony last month in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Pamella Lee Photography

John Baker II delivered remarks honoring his brother, Pit & Quarry Hall of Famer Ted Baker, during the March 2022 induction ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: PamElla Lee Photography

Ted Baker, who served Florida Rock Industries in capacities such as CEO and chairman over a long and fruitful career, was inducted March 28 into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame. Baker unfortunately could not attend the induction ceremony, but his younger brother, John Baker II, accepted the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame honor on his behalf.

Below are highlights John shared about his brother and his dedication to the aggregate industry. 

ON TED GROWING UP AROUND THE INDUSTRY: Ted Baker is a great example of those who should be honored in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame. He’s literally been involved in the aggregates business all of his adolescent and adult life. And that does not include the dinner table conversations, the trips to the quarry to play in the stockpile, the total immersion of the family in the aggregates business and his life since a toddler.

ON TED’S EARLY CAREER: As a college student, he drove a Dempsey Dumpster at our Brooksville Quarry. Dempsey Dumpster is an early version of the quarry truck we all know today. You drove the truck backward, and you ran into the primary hopper. If you hit it hard enough, it sprung the dump so it would go into the primary hopper. That was before safety was a key indicator. After college, he enlisted in the Marines. His MOS (military occupational specialty) was not infantry; he ran a quarry in Vieques, Puerto Rico. A perfect match.

ON TED TAKING OVER THE FAMILY BUSINESS: After his discharge, he was initially a sales engineer. He was no engineer, but he could sell anything. Quickly, he became sales manager and then president of our family company, Shands & Baker, at the ripe old age of 28.

Ted Baker was inducted into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame as a member of the 2022 class. Photo: P&Q Staff

Ted Baker was inducted into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame as a member of the 2022 class. Photo: P&Q Staff

ON TED STARTING FLORIDA ROCK INDUSTRIES: He quickly analyzed, as is always the case, that the business was changing. Aggregates competitors were fully integrated, and if Shands & Baker was to thrive, or even survive, it needed to do the same. In 1972, he orchestrated a merger of ready-mix companies in Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando and Tampa, with Shands & Baker, who had aggregates operations throughout north, central and southwest Florida. That new company was called Florida Rock Industries and soon became a public company on the American and, later, the New York Stock Exchange.

ON TED’S LEADERSHIP: Under his leadership, the company expanded in Florida, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland. He was a genius in putting together fully-integrated materials companies. He was no ordinary son of a founder. He had drive, vision and execution. He was, above all else, a great salesperson, whether it was a big order, a merger or our stock price. What made him great was his honesty, direct leadership, charm and humility. He is an intuitive genius. That is to say, he plays chess while others are playing checkers.

ON TED’S RELATIONSHIP’S WITH EMPLOYEES AND CO-WORKERS: More than all his public, companywide interactions, what made him so beloved was his dealings with our people – plant managers, scale operators, truck drivers. They all knew him not as Mr. Baker, but as Ted. They all really knew him, and they considered him their friend. This is what the aggregate business – our business – was based on. He was one of the greatest builders of our industry.

For more on the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, click here. To learn more about Ted Baker 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

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