Drive far enough down rural Cook Road and you’ll dead end at a little wooded spot not far from the banks of Ohio’s Little Miami River.
It’s beautiful in its way – quiet, green, unobtrusive. There’s certainly nothing extraordinary about it.
But if you pause just for a moment, you feel a serenity there, a sense that in this hectic, fast-changing world there are still some places that are constant.
For Eric Gamble, Ohio District production manager, Cook Road Sand & Gravel, the Martin Marietta operation less than a half-mile from the Little Miami, has a similar effect - what it lacks in the spectacular, it makes up for with the consistent.
"That’s what’s unique here," he says. "If you ask what extraordinary measures we took to do things differently, we didn’t. To us, it’s just everyday business."
Gamble’s statement says much, but the site’s performance says more. Cook Road is a back-to-back Honor Plant winner celebrating its third award overall.
Plant Manager John Richardson describes the situation succinctly.
"We had an awesome year," he says. "There were no accidents, no incidents, zero citations from the inspections we had and we made a lot of improvements."
On-site infrastructure work and the purchase of a new Caterpillar 980K yard loader that allowed Richardson to increase output while operating half the machinery saved the Company thousands in fuel costs in 2014. Production rose by 5.6 percent while production costs fell. Sales jumped by almost 26 percent and gross profit increased 46 percent over the previous year.
Dan Spears, a utility man with Martin Marietta for 30 years, specifically credits Cook Road’s success to Richardson, a man he refers to as somewhat of a superhero.
"He’s Superboss," Spears says. "He isn’t standing on our throats and he gives us what we need to work. This award is all on him."