There’s a word that never crosses Mike Hamrick’s mouth as he talks about the success of Charlotte Quarry.
It’s there when he describes the site’s safety culture and it’s there when he says the granite operation will still be going strong should our great, great grandchildren one day care to take a tour.
The word is there, but the man is just too excited about his team’s progress to find it.
It’s “momentum” and Charlotte Quarry’s got it.
Hamrick, the site’s plant manager, says dozens of changes have moved the quarry forward in recent years, but none have been more important than the implementation of Guardian Angel in 2015.
Charlotte’s team was already working safely – the last lost-time incident at the site occurred in 2007 – but Hamrick believes the companywide program provides a great cornerstone on which to continue building Martin Marietta’s business.
“It took us 10 years to get to this point where we continually improve and speak about safety with more intensity,” he says. “Now, nearly everything we do feeds into that culture. When I put my safety vest and glasses on in the morning, when I put my wheel chocks down after getting out of my truck – these are the things that bind us as a team. It’s been 10 years of hard work and I believe we’re only now starting to reap the benefits.”
The plant manager’s focus on Charlotte Quarry’s safety is not surprising. There is simply too much wind at the team’s back for an unnecessary accident to slow things down.
After several years of economic stagnation, the Charlotte market is booming again and the centrally located quarry is poised to supply material for multiple housing, highway and airport projects. Several multi-million dollar improvements have also provided the quarry team with a rebuilt crusher and a fleet of new or recently rebuilt loaders and haul trucks.
Indeed, the future looks bright – not just for the business, but for its employees.
Eric Haines, a 32-year-old plant operator, has enjoyed his time at Martin Marietta, in part, because he’s been able to move his career forward.
“I like learning something new,” he says. “I started as a truck driver and I’ve become a plant operator. Hopefully, that growth continues.”
Cody Martin, a 25-year-old maintenance man, agrees and says that moving forward as a miner requires an ability to adapt to change.
“This job is a lot of hard work, but I love it because you never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next,” he says. “You’ve got to be flexible.”