Martin Marietta’s most senior leaders have cut the ceremonial ribbon on a $158 million, rail-connected limestone quarry in Hondo, Texas.
The site, known as Medina Rock & Rail, is the Company’s largest capital investment to date and stands out among the industry’s most impressive operations.
Before opening the grounds for an inaugural tour on April 12, Chairman, President and CEO Ward Nye praised all involved in the project for maintaining Martin Marietta's commitment to safety.
"We started this project with the view that no one was going to get hurt and we ended this project with the view that no one was going to get hurt," he said. "We worked to control behaviors and made sure ours were not empty words. When we talk about safety, we mean it and we live it."
Southwest Division President Larry Roberts said he was excited to see an idea conceived more than a decade ago come to fruition.
“Medina Quarry not only provides the stone required today, it establishes a strong growth foundation for our future business,” he said.
Echoing Roberts’ comments, Central Texas Aggregates District Regional Vice President-General Manager Chance Allen described the site as a “half-century opportunity” to strategically support south Texas, Houston and beyond.
Describing Medina as “a sign of Martin Marietta’s ambition,” Allen said the effort required the Company’s sharpest talent.
“Collectively – from procurement and permitting to engineering, long-term planning, construction and beyond – the best of the best people at Martin Marietta were involved in this,” he said.
To fully comprehend Medina’s size is nearly impossible without first standing in its shadows.
More than 14,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in its construction. Its rail spur is 57,300 track feet (nearly 11 miles) long. Take out its mobile crusher and the steel used to construct the rest of the operation still weighs more than 7.9 million pounds.
The site features 59 conveyors, 17 screens, five crushers and a state-of-the-art automated rail loading system that’s able to fully load trains of 120-ton cars at 3,500 tons per hour.
The equipment may be top-notch, but without the right people in place, it would mean nothing.
Central Texas Aggregates District Production Manager Barton Chevreaux said the team at the new quarry has been responsible for continuing Martin Marietta’s storied safety culture while designing and implementing systems that soon will allow the site to run at full capacity.
“By the time we gave our presentation to Ward Nye, he had already heard everything about the plant. He wanted to know about the people,” Chevreaux said. “I told him that 100 percent of our crew volunteered to work here and that they’re fired up and excited to be part of something big. We couldn’t ask for a better group.”
Tapped to head the Medina team was Plant Manager Jason Jones, a big man with a big laugh and a team-minded leader who appears to be well-liked and respected by his employees.
As the Medina crew members forge a set of best practices and try to understand how their equipment works with the rock at the 4,000-acre site, Jones said he’s been focused on providing high levels of support and training.
“I’m giving these guys a lot of latitude,” he said. “If they’re not in a position to get hurt and they’re not in a position to damage the equipment, we’re giving them the opportunity to learn so they feel empowered at their jobs and feel more successful.”
Superintendent Jacinto “J.C.” Capetillo volunteered to leave Beckmann Quarry for Medina because he wanted to help establish a set of best practices that would serve as a groundwork for generations of safe mining at the quarry.
“I tell the younger guys that once we’ve gone through these obstacles, they’ll be able to tell the next crew, ‘Look, this is how it’s done,’” Capetillo said. “I tell them that one day, we’ll be able to pass on what we’ve learned.”
Though the ribbon cutting ceremony was held April 12, the site has been in operation since Jan. 1. It is currently producing about 500,000 tons of material each month.