P&Q Profile: Luck Companies’ Mark Williams

By |  January 15, 2019
Luck Companies' Mark Williams


The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) recognized Luck Companies’ Mark Williams in November with its 2019 Environmental Leadership Award. P&Q caught up with Williams afterward to learn more about the environmental efforts he leads for one of the nation’s top aggregate producers.

How did you get your start in the industry?

Thirty years ago, my professor promoted the radical idea that someday, a business might measure its success in both financial and environmental terms. Since the 1980s, I have been studying water and air permits, collecting samples and growing along with the industry as we work to show our commitment to the environment and to the communities in which we operate.

You’ve been with Luck Companies for about 15 years. What do you enjoy most about working there?

Luck Companies has a simple goal: We will ignite human potential. If there is an idea that I am passionate about, the company will support my path to success as we work toward a common goal. I thrive with a great team that sees our potential to be a world-class organization, and we challenge each other to grow, pursue our passions and make a difference in our communities.

Photo by Kevin Yanik

Luck Stone is the nation’s largest family-owned and operated aggregate producer. Photo by Kevin Yanik

You guide Luck Companies’ environmental plan in your role, and that includes the implementation of the company’s Environmental Management System (EMS). What are some of the key tenets of Luck’s award-winning environmental program, and what do you feel you uniquely bring to the company’s program?

Each site sets goals to make environmental improvements each year – not to maintain mere compliance, but to ensure that we are operating in accordance with our values and that we are positively impacting the communities we get to be a part of.

Everyone also has a responsibility toward recycling and committing to our community involvement. If we are committed to our neighbors and to each other, then we know that our decisions will lead us to the safest and healthiest workplace we can imagine.

These ideas have led me to become very involved in numerous local nonprofit organizations, and I am currently president of the Friends of Goochland Parks (in Virginia), which supports the Goochland [County] Parks & Recreation department in many ways. I am able to share our company’s environmental success with dozens of school and civic groups throughout the year.

Part of Luck Stone’s environmental program is driven around the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP), and Luck Stone is a VEEP participant at the Exemplary Environmental Enterprise (E3) level. As a producer with multiple quarries in Virginia, what are the environmental expectations set by this program?

The backbone of VEEP is the EMS, in which all members are expected to make improvements in their potential environmental impacts.

Every Luck Stone site sets goals to improve their stormwater discharge results and their potential dust emissions every year. We have seen our recycling totals climb steadily, and in terms of recycling concrete, steel and petroleum, we have made significant contributions to the company’s bottom line.

For us, it’s critical that we continue to be seen as an asset to the community and that we can communicate with potential new neighbors that quarries will improve their quality of life in many ways.

Photo by Kevin Yanik.

Luck Stone’s Boscobel Plant is fully automated from the primary surge pile through the tertiary plant. Photo by Kevin Yanik.

For aggregate producers everywhere, what is currently your top environmental concern for the industry?

A specific concern [in 2019] is the proposed definition of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), which until recently might have included any conveyance or storage of water on our site. Our association (NSSGA) has worked diligently to ensure that temporarily wet basins, gullies, ditches and buffers do not get saddled with overly stringent regulation that makes our operations too expensive to develop. Aggregates are urgently needed during times of emergency, such as floods and severe weather, and we need to have access to the reserves that help to rebuild our communities.

Do you feel better about the WOTUS rule now that a more friendly version is expected to be on the way in early 2020?

We feel that the proposed rule has addressed many of our concerns about temporary impacts and disturbances caused by mining. Aggregate materials are seeing an increasing demand as the nation turns its attention toward infrastructure improvement, and every lane of highway contains 40 tons of aggregate per mile.

We need to continue to improve our access to reserves, not to restrict access because of minimal land development practices. The new WOTUS rule will provide clarity to reduce the need for regulatory oversight, and our industry can begin to plan in five- to 10-year windows.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am greatly appreciative of NSSGA’s award for environmental leadership. The recognition must be shared with my colleagues at Luck Companies who work every day to be environmental leaders in the aggregates industry, and it is for their commitment to positive results, improving air quality, and becoming the community’s environmental leader, that has led to this award.

I have written policies, provided training and offered advice, but it is the Luck Companies associates who work every day to be environmental stewards of the land that we are borrowing from our children who truly deserve to be recognized.


BEST ADVICE RECEIVED – An issue is something that you can debate and decide if it needs your attention, but a value is an indelible idea for which you always provide resources. Know your values, and spend your resources wisely.

FIRST JOB – As a short order cook at a local diner, I learned the values of speed and efficiency, and doing what it takes to make a customer (stakeholder) happy. Hard work and attention to the small details made a huge difference in my growth and development.

HOBBIES – I am a sports fanatic, having started in organized soccer when I was 3 years old, and still try to improve “my personal best” every day. 

SPORTS – My greatest joy has been as the father of two sons who play sports all year, whether it’s as their coach, trainer, scorekeeper or parent.

TRAVEL – My wife and I have just decided to visit a new country every year, after having almost completed our stops in all 50 states. So many beautiful spots!

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