The future of the aggregates industry

By |  June 8, 2016

Marking a milestone year, the propensity is to look back on accomplishments rather than to look forward to the possibilities.

On behalf of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), I’d like to congratulate Pit & Quarry on marking its milestone by looking forward. At AEM, we believe the opportunities for the aggregates industry over the next century can be limitless if we continue to look forward and prepare for that future beginning now.

For AEM, that preparation begins with developing a comprehensive vision of our infrastructure. AEM’s Infrastructure Vision 2050 is a high-level thought leadership program aimed at developing tangible, innovative proposals to improve America’s water, transportation and energy/utility infrastructure. In order to successfully rebuild our nation’s aging infrastructure, we need to set a bold vision of what we are trying to achieve.

The aggregates industry has played a vital role in spotlighting the need for change and will obviously be integral to future action as the building blocks of our infrastructure.

Dennis Slater

Dennis Slater

In March, Al Cervero, AEM’s vice president of construction, mining and utility, shared in a blog his thoughts on the disruptive forces that are on a collision course and threatening the industry and our infrastructure. What are these forces? Phenomenal equipment innovations and true visionary technology impacting everything on the jobsite are two of the forces that will either make or break our industry depending on the third, which is the lack of interested or knowledgeable people.

In addition to a long-term vision for infrastructure, we need to develop a skilled workforce to get the job done. Here too, the aggregates industry will continue to help lead the way: promote the industry through involvement in trade organization advocacy with lawmakers, as well as our schools; and promote not only how aggregates contribute to our infrastructure, but the opportunity for the future.

As important as the need to draw attention to the investment required in the infrastructure itself is, there’s a need for qualified people who will design and build it.

Also needed: the tools to achieve success. AEM is here to help the industry imagine what’s next. In March, the gigantic ConExpo-Con/Agg gathering place for the construction and construction materials industries will highlight the latest technologies and innovations, as well as a renewed focus on the future. You can expect a dedicated aggregates product area, as well as expanded educational opportunities.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association will also be holding its annual conference there. Gathering our industry together to have a united and loud voice on the importance of our industry will help lay the foundation at these events and for the next 100 years.

Where do I see the aggregates industry 100 years from now? If we lay the foundation of planning our infrastructure, advocating with lawmakers and educators and continuously educating our current and future workforce as technology advances, I see a smooth road ahead.

Dennis Slater is the president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). He can be reached at

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