Silence no longer an option for industry stakeholders

By |  February 8, 2023

Says P&Q editor-in-chief Kevin Yanik: “That mining is essential and that companies within our industry are indeed tech-oriented are two messages that aren’t always conveyed well to industry outsiders.” Photo: Alexandr Baranov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

An underlying theme revealed itself as I reflected on a pair of stories that appear in this month’s edition of Pit & Quarry.

Parts of the stories – our cover story on autonomous hauling and a feature on Pennsylvania’s aggregate producers – touch on the idea that the aggregate industry is too often silent when a moment calls for our voices to be heard.

While the autonomous hauling story published this month largely focuses on an exciting venture between Caterpillar and Luck Stone, P&Q also details how Cat made the unique decision to exhibit at CES, a popular consumer trade show in Las Vegas whose attendees are techies.

Cat featured an autonomous 777 haul truck in its booth, with CES goers lining up to board and learn about lidar, GPS and other embedded technology. Those who explored the 777’s truck bed came across a station detailing the critical role mining plays in shaping the modern world – a message that, unfortunately, still does not resonate with the public at-large.

“CES is a great opportunity for us to share a little bit about mining equipment and our technology, but also to remind people that all of the other technologies you see around CES are not going to be possible without mining trucks,” says Luis Pustiglione, a marketing manager at Caterpillar. “A lot of them rely on copper and other materials that derive from mine sites. Batteries, flat-screen TVs and all the conveniences we have would not be possible without mining.”

Additionally, Pustiglione says Cat invited students to CES to see its technology and apply for jobs on-site.

“We are here to remind people that Caterpillar is more than just yellow machines,” Pustiglione says. “We are a technology company.”

That mining is essential and that companies within our industry are indeed tech-oriented are two messages that aren’t always conveyed well to industry outsiders. While aggregate producers are traditionally masters at operations, many historically haven’t been great at promoting the value of their businesses and, in effect, the industry. That, however, must change.

Leaders at the Pennsylvania Aggregates & Concrete Association (PACA) recognize industry change is in order. Industrywide messaging improvements aren’t just necessary to the general public, but to public officials whose influence can seemingly make or break an operation. 

“The challenge our industry has is the lack of a narrative,” says Peter Vlahos, president and CEO of PACA. “This is not just within our state, but across the U.S.”

The industry doesn’t have to overreach to establish a narrative, though. Our products are essential to life as we know it. We just need to do a better job of telling our story – and stop being afraid of promoting who we are.

PACA, for one, partnered with a public relations and public affairs firm to better communicate the industry’s value proposition. Getting the word out about the good we all do and how exciting our industry is will serve everyone in a variety of ways, from permitting and community relations to hiring and highway funding.

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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

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