P&Q Hall of Fame Profile: David R. Thomey

By |  March 28, 2022


Growing up, Thomey did not initially plan to step foot into the aggregate industry.

Thomey graduated from the University of Maryland in 1970 with a degree in English language and literature. He taught for eight years and worked construction during summers.

Thomey was ready for a change by the summer of 1979, though.

“I was ready to leave teaching and go into construction full-time,” he says. “I wanted to buy the business I had been working with, but there was a crash. All of a sudden, there was no company. So I came to my dad and said I was looking for work.”

After spending three weeks as a Maryland Materials intern, Thomey was hooked.

“I fell in love with the industry and the people in it,” Thomey says. “It didn’t take long. I thought: ‘This is what I want to do.’”

Thomey joined Maryland Materials full-time in 1980, and he remained there until 2000. In the years that followed, Thomey served the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) as vice president of operations, and he oversaw hot-mix asphalt operations at Edgemoor Materials. He also served as president of the Maryland Aggregates Association, departing in 2006 only to return to NSSGA, which he rejoined as executive vice president. Thomey served NSSGA the second time around until 2008.

“It was a marvelous job,” Thomey says. “I loved it to death. I loved working with [president and CEO] Joy [Pinniger] and with the 30 to 35 brightest people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Thomey also served Maryland Materials a second time as executive vice present, completing his stint after Bluegrass Materials purchased the company in 2015.

With such a mix of career stops, Paul Mellott Jr., chairman of Mellott Company, says no other industry résumé can possibly rival Thomey’s.

“I keep telling him: ‘You’re the only person that’s ever done that,’” Mellott says. “The experience he has from all those jobs is incredible. He gets it. He gets the importance of what asphalt is to aggregate and what aggregate is to the foundation of our nation. He is on top of the world when it comes to state and national associations. The perspective is enormous.”

Thomey had two stints with the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, one from 2000-2001 and another from 2006-2008. Photo: NSSGA

Thomey had two stints with the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, one from 2000-2001 and another from 2006-2008. Photo: NSSGA

Lasting legacy

As Mellott describes, Thomey’s contributions in community relations are monumental.

“A lot of people in our industry would be in better shape with their neighbors if they took a proactive position like Dave does,” Mellott says. “He’s such a great guy and everyone – all the neighbors – see that and they begin to trust him. He follows through with what he says he’s going to do.”

Kim Snyder, who spent nearly 17 years as president of Eastern Industries, says it is impossible to adequately measure the impact Thomey had on the industry’s community relations efforts.

“He, along with Bernie Grove, was one of the original leaders of that mindset change,” Snyder says. “Instead of hiding in the quarry, go out there and get to know your neighbors, understand what your impact could be and work toward minimizing that impact.

“Even as difficult as it is to get new permits or expansions on permits now, without the work they did, it would be literally impossible right now,” Snyder adds.

Grove, a longtime executive at Genstar, has a similar view of Thomey’s industry legacy.

“There’s an old saying in the aggregate industry that I’d rather pay a PR man than a lawyer,” Grove says. “I think that probably describes Dave’s contribution. He gave the aggregate industry a different reputation than it previously had.”

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.

Comments are closed