On being the editor of Pit & Quarry

By |  October 14, 2019

My last job interview was seven and a half years ago when I applied for a position at Pit & Quarry.

I wasn’t familiar with the magazine at the time, and I honestly didn’t know much about the crushed stone, sand and gravel industry.

In the interview, I remember sitting across from Rob Fulop, Pit & Quarry’s publisher, and hearing how Pit & Quarry covers the aggregate industry. As Rob gave me the lowdown, I recall panicking inside and thinking: “The aggregate industry? What the heck is that?”

I was nearly 26 at the time, but I was raw to concept of “aggregate.” Still, looking for career advancement, I took the job when it was offered and told myself I’d figure this industry out once I got into it.

A common thread

I’ve learned an awful lot about our industry over the years, and I continue to learn as I go. But one thing that did not surprise me as I dug into this industry is the high character of its people.

Before Pit & Quarry, I covered the greenhouse industry for four years. Like many aggregate producers, greenhouse growers are family-oriented people who value a hard day’s work. While the end products of the two couldn’t be any more different, both strive to provide goods they consider essential to a way of life.

I learned years ago that successfully covering an industry means getting to know its people. The stories we tell in Pit & Quarry, at the end of the day, are about our industry’s people.

On attitude

One producer I had the opportunity to visit with this summer is Jim Lile, the owner of Lile Quarry outside of Springfield, Missouri. Jim, who works alongside his sister and daughter, is one of the industry’s salt of the earth people who takes great pleasure in going to work.

“I enjoy getting up and seeing things done,” says Jim. “It’s just natural to work to see things done.”

Twenty minutes into my visit with Jim, he momentarily turns the tables on me and shares his impression of what it must be like getting to see the industry from the point of view of Pit & Quarry’s editor-in-chief.

“You have a good job,” Lile says. “You get to see such a variety of people and how people think and do things. It’s all in the way they think.”

Jim’s right: I do have a good job, and I feel fortunate that my feelings toward work are like his. As Jim reminded me, a person’s work is a reflection of their attitude.

“If you see a messy place, it’s all in the way they think,” Jim says. “If you see a clean place, it’s the way they think. It’s the attitude.”

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