Pit & Quarry unveils its 2024 Hall of Fame class

By |  January 10, 2024

HOF 2024 graphic

The Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame will add four new members this year – two aggregate producers and two equipment manufacturers – as representatives of the 2024 class.

The four individuals selected for induction to the Hall of Fame in 2024 are Tom Hill (Summit Materials), Neil Hise (Cemco), Louis Johnson (El-Jay Manufacturing) and Charlie Luck (Luck Companies).

A selection committee comprised of producers, manufacturers, equipment dealers and other allied trade leaders voted alongside living members of the Hall of Fame to determine this year’s class.

“We are thrilled to be able to present such a worthy and deserving class in 2024,” says Rob Fulop, group publisher of Pit & Quarry. “These gentlemen have dedicated their lives to their craft. All four are very well known to those who have spent any time at all in this great industry.”

Hill, Hise, Johnson and Luck will be enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame on March 24 during an induction ceremony at the Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The magazine encourages the industry to attend the black-tie gala to celebrate the careers and accomplishments of its inductees.

The ceremony, which takes place one day before the start of AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo, will be held in conjunction with the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) Annual Convention. Tickets for the ceremony are available at pitandquarryhalloffame.com/tickets. They can also be secured when registering for the NSSGA Annual Convention.

Tom Hill

Headshot: Tom Hill, Summit Materials


Hill, who devoted his entire career to the aggregate industry, led a small team that ultimately established Summit Materials.

Under Hill’s guidance, Summit transformed from a small, private construction company to a public company with annual net revenues of $2 billion.

“This he led from a small start-up company with seven employees in 2009 to a public company listing with 2,000-plus employees in 2015,” says Damian Murphy, now the CEO of Peckham Industries who previously worked alongside Hill on Summit’s management team.

Before founding Summit with a group of investors, Hill was a CEO at CRH’s Oldcastle Materials. Over a 14-year span under Hill, sales at Oldcastle blossomed from $100 million to $7 billion.

Mergers and acquisitions were central to Oldcastle Materials’ growth during Hill’s tenure. In all, he was a part of 187 mergers and acquisitions.

“Tom initially started in operations and then in business development, where he truly made his mark,” Murphy says. “Tom was part of the team that led the growth of CRH from a small beginning to one of the largest producers by the end of the 1980s. He became president of Oldcastle Materials in the early 1990s and led CRH’s major expansion in the U.S. for almost two decades.”

Taking the skills he learned at Oldcastle, Hill and his team formed Summit with a goal of developing a leading business in the aggregate and heavy-side building materials sector through strategic acquisitions. Hamm was Summit’s very first acquisition, providing Summit with a platform for growth and development in the Midwest.

Beyond his companies, Hill was focused on the greater industry’s growth.

“He was heavily involved in lobbying efforts to promote the aggregates industry,” Murphy says. “Tom served not only on the board of NSSGA but on ARTBA (the American Road & Transportation Builders Association), NRMCA (the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association), NAPA (the National Asphalt Pavement Association) and other local and national boards.”

Neil Hise

Neil Hise


Hise served as the second-generation owner and longtime president of Cemco, a manufacturer of vertical shaft impact crushers (VSIs) and other specialty equipment based in New Mexico.

Hise’s involvement in Cemco dates back to his early years.

“Toward the end of the 1960s, it became apparent that the processes of producing roadway material had to change due to the intense amount of labor and cost of the compression crushing methods being used,” Hise says. “This demand of change caused us to seek out a solution to the problem of creating chips and fines more readily for the highway contractors.”

Cemco’s solution was the VSI.

“We built the first one in 1967 and endured through the development process of trial and error,” Hise says. “The first Turbo crusher was sold in 1969 and is still in service.”

According to Hise, his family was always in the construction or mining business.

“After [World War II] ended, my father came home from England where he had met my mother and went to work with his brother in highway construction,” Hise says. “My mother and I arrived in America in January 1947. I had the good fortune to grow up in construction camps alongside highway projects that were ongoing in the Wild West at that time.”

In 1962, Hise’s entrepreneurial father purchased Crusher Service Co., a repair service company that specialized in rebuilding crusher rolls and jaw plates. The very first year of operation was extremely difficult, Hise recalls, as resources were tight and the work was hard.

“We had challenges of servicing the customers across the fifth-largest state in the country: New Mexico,” he says. “To do so required the dare to purchase service trucks and hire people to work on their own in remote jobsites. There were successes and failures as we slowly grew.”

Over the years, Cemco’s offerings grew in aggregate processing, recycling, precious mineral extraction and clean energy applications. The VSI, however, is at the heart of Cemco’s success and among Hise’s industry contributions.

As of 2022, the Turbo VSI was the precursor to eight different model sizes Cemco manufactured that are operating around the world. Cemco was sold to Superior Industries in 2023, with the company rebranding as Superior. The Cemco VSI name, however, lives on as a trademark for Superior VSI crushers.

Louis Johnson

Johnson, who founded El-Jay Manufacturing in 1947 in Oregon, is best regarded industrywide for his contributions in crushing and screening.

Credited with developing the Rollercone roller bearing cone crusher and inventing the triple-shaft horizontal screen, Johnson built El-Jay into a world leader in rock processing equipment.

“Mr. Johnson’s inventions and companies helped to revolutionize the aggregate processing industry – especially portable aggregate-processing equipment,” says Cade Seeley, director of purchasing at Kimball Equipment.

As Seeley describes, the El-Jay Rollercone crusher is the forefather of the Terex Cedarapids MVP and Astec Kodiak cone crushers. Additionally, he says many leading equipment manufacturers make updated versions of the El-Jay triple-shaft horizontal screen today.

Born in 1916, Johnson joined his father in purchasing a gravel plant in 1937. Together, they built a machine shop that later became El-Jay Manufacturing.

El-Jay was sold in 1976 to Iowa Manufacturing, which Raytheon Co. acquired three years earlier. In his time, though, Johnson’s creative genius earned him more than 50 patents. He died in 2007.

Charlie Luck

Charlie Luck


Luck, the president and CEO of Luck Companies, is the third-generation leader of his family company.

“Charlie is one of the great leaders in our industry,” says Paul Mellott Jr., the longtime Mellott leader who was enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame in 2013. “Charlie’s commitment, integrity and respect have been witnessed every day by everyone who passes him in their life’s journey. His legacy will be that he added value to Luck Companies, the industry through his leadership in NSSGA and VAA (the Virginia Asphalt Association), and the understanding of the communities that had his operations nearby. His leadership in his company has shown all producers how to excel in our operations.”

Inspired by his father’s and grandfather’s deep love for people, Luck is responsible for establishing Luck Companies’ mission to “ignite human potential” through values-based leadership and positively impacting the lives of people around the world. As Luck Companies describes, this philosophy fueled two decades of significant and meaningful growth for people inside and outside of Luck Companies.

Luck formally joined his family company in 1980 as a summer trainee while attending Virginia Military Institute, although he spent summers as a youth sweeping shop floors, helping to rebuild engines and looking up to the men in the company’s shop facility in Manakin, Virginia.

Under Luck’s leadership, Luck Companies created several five-year strategic planning periods from 2000 to 2025. Luck Companies says the planning windows have been instrumental in the growth and evolution of the company, culminating with expansion into new markets and communities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

As a 2024 inductee, Luck will join his father (Charles S. Luck III) and grandfather (Charles Luck Jr.) in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame.

Additional Hall of Fame info

The March 24 induction ceremony will be the ninth in the history of the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame – and the second consecutive Hall of Fame ceremony to take place in Nashville.

Pit & Quarry last hosted an induction ceremony in the Music City in 2022, when Ted Baker (Florida Rock Industries), EJ Burke (DuPont/Dyno Nobel), Nathan P. Stedman (Stedman’s Foundry & Machine Works) and Dave Thomey (Maryland Materials) were enshrined. The addition of Hill, Hise, Johnson and Luck will take the total number of Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame inductees to 40.

Pit & Quarry established its Hall of Fame in 2013 to pay tribute to the pioneers of the past, as well as present-day industry leaders. The Hall of Fame is comprised of those who made significant contributions to the aggregate industry. Inventors, innovators, forward thinkers and leaders are among those who’ve been enshrined. Inductees were not only successful in their own businesses but gave of themselves to advance the greater industry.

Replica plaques of those enshrined in the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame are on display at the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum in Leadville, Colorado.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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