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Luck Stone setting the standard for workshops

By |  September 12, 2022
The maintenance bays at Luck Stone’s Rockville Plant are immaculately clean. Photo: P&Q Staff

The maintenance bays at Luck Stone’s Rockville Plant are immaculately clean. Photo: P&Q Staff

Maintenance facilities tend to have a similar look and feel at operations across the aggregate industry.

Dust and dirt coat surfaces while tools and miscellaneous items mindlessly pile up, creating environments that reek of chaos. Such workshops are hardly inviting to those who regularly work within them, too.

But just because maintenance facilities are often disorderly doesn’t mean disorder must be the industry norm. Leaders at Luck Stone believe as much, and the pristine workshop at their Rockville Plant in Rockville, Virginia, illustrates what’s possible when expectations are elevated.

“Luck Stone’s mission is to ignite human potential,” says Bobby Kluczyk, plant manager at the company’s Rockville Plant. “The mission focuses on developing people and giving them the best. When you show up and you have one of the best shops, it sets the bar.”

Tone-setting facility

1 Luck Stone’s Mitchell Edwards, left, and Bobby Kluczyk toured P&Q around the Rockville Plant during a May 2022 visit. Photo: P&Q Staff

Luck Stone’s Mitchell Edwards, left, and Bobby Kluczyk toured P&Q around the Rockville Plant during a May 2022 visit. Photo: P&Q Staff

The Rockville Plant is one of Luck Stone’s top sites by volume, producing 2.4 million tons in 2021 while selling roughly 2.35 million tons last year. According to Kluczyk, those marks set site records for an operation that averages about 2.2 million tpy.

A culture that emphasizes aesthetics regularly contributes to those high marks. As Kluczyk describes, the workshop sets a daily tone for employees at the Rockville Plant because they’ll apply the work approach set there throughout the operation.

“It sets the stage [because] it’s the first thing the guys see down to the bottom bench of the pit,” says Kluczyk, who’s spent 15 of his 19 years with Luck Stone at Rockville. “You send a guy to work on berms and he has that aesthetics feel.”

In addition to maintenance bays are that are immaculately clean, the shop contains a locker room, training room and kitchen that establishes a homey feel for employees. Luck Stone’s Mitchell Edwards says the facility’s amenities are sometimes a shock to outsiders when they lay eyes on them for the first time.

“We hear from vendors who come in here and say: ‘I’ve been in this industry for 25 or 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,’’’ says Edwards, the foreman at the Rockville Plant who’s spent nine-plus years at the operation. “Luck Stone definitely holds its standards a little higher, and [president and CEO] Charlie [Luck IV] puts a lot of emphasis on this shop and continuing to do other shops just like this.”

Companywide value

s. 4 The aesthetics emphasis at the Rockville Plant is also seen in the operation’s scale house. Photo: P&Q Staff

The aesthetics emphasis at the Rockville Plant is also seen in the operation’s scale house. Photo: P&Q Staff

Still, the state-of-the-art workshop wasn’t always in place at the Rockville Plant.

In recent years, Luck Stone made the decision to relocate its shop in order to access additional aggregate reserves. With the move, company leaders sought to establish a friendlier facility atmosphere for employees.

“The idea was to focus on employees and give them a nice place to work,” Kluczyk says. “That drives the aesthetic feel throughout the whole site. If you start your day in a nice area that’s kept clean and it’s yours, then it’s going to lead to the same feeling throughout the plant and throughout the whole site.”

Luck Stone’s employees in Rockville aren’t the only ones to benefit from the facility, though. According to Edwards, employees from across the company visit the shop for training on the company’s values, safety and techniques.

A kitchen, a locker room and training facility are containing within the pristine shop at Luck Stone’s Rockville Plant. Photo: P&Q Staff

A pristine kitchen, locker room and training room are among the amenities that establish a homey feel for Rockville Plant employees. Photo: P&Q Staff

“On average, there’s at least two classes here each month and sometimes three, four or five classes here in a month,” he says.

Of course, the Rockville Plant is hardly the only Luck Stone site that puts a high value on aesthetics. Luck Stone operations compete each year for the company’s Aesthetics Award, and Rockville employees earned it the last three years.

“Luck has a high standard for aesthetics,” Kluczyk says. “We’re expected to keep our sites to that level, and there is an aesthetics competition among the sites. The guys take a lot of pride in it, and hopefully this year we bring that trophy back home.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

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

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