Foreman Tony Lem is driving his pickup above ground at Ames Mine when he stops to let a haul truck pass.
“That’s Tim (Brinkman),” Lem says with a wave and a nod. “Today’s his day off, but he’s volunteered to come in to train another driver. That’s the level of dedication I’m talking about. It’s really impressive.”
In a few hours, Lem, along with Brinkman and the rest of the team at Ames, will sit down to dinner with Midwest Division President Bill Gahan to celebrate 1 million hours worked without a lost-time incident. But for now, the foreman is reflecting on how the milestone was reached.
“One million hours is incredible,” he says with a brief pause. “I think the most important thing is that we take pride in what we do and want to do it well. Everywhere we drive is a part of us – something we made. Every single road we’re on is a road that comes from the rock we dug out.”
The April 27 dinner near the Iowa mine drew a number of Company leaders in addition to Gahan, including Martin Marietta’s Vice President of Safety and Health Michael Hunt, Midwest Division HR Director Tom Nelson, Des Moines District Vice President-General Manager Todd Clock and Area Production Manager Scotty Gerbes.
Also in attendance was Plant Manager Doug Robey, who has led the Ames team for the past decade. Robey says the safety culture at the mine has, out of necessity, evolved tremendously in recent years.
“I returned to Ames as plant manager in 2006 at a time when we had seven or eight minor medical and lost-time incidents,” he says. “The first thing we had to do was get a grasp on why these incidents were happening. Then we went to work changing the culture and trying to get everyone to a point where they accepted that zero is a real number.”
Robey utilizes several techniques to keep his team focused on making safe decisions.
On each locker in the locker room – at eye level, where everyone is sure to see – is a mirror with a single sentence: “Meet the Person Most Responsible for My Safety Today.” On the walls hang commitment letters – each one written by an employee and closing with the words, “I am 100% committed to safety. Every step of every day.”
So prevalent is the safety message that before sitting down to dinner with Gahan and the other Company leaders, a newer employee is asked to recite the Guardian Angel Creed from memory. He does so flawlessly.
Robey says he’ll continue to reinforce the Martin Marietta safety message in such ways until every person on his team understands that maintaining safe work conditions is a task that cannot be completed alone.
“It’s teamwork. The only way to keep this mine safe is for everyone to continue to do what they’re supposed to do,” he says. “To be a Martin Marietta employee, your job is to work safely. That’s something we don’t take for granted and an attitude we’ll continue to instill from day one.”
Ames Mine Employees:
Ian Abarr, Brandon Anderson, Brian Anderson, Joseph Anderson, Terry Anderson, Timothy Bartlett, Matthew Bedford, Nicholas Bennett, Timothy Brinkman, Derek Burgess, David Cobb, Christopher Cook, Martin Coolley, Aaron Cosman, James Curtis, Christopher Dilley, Charles Duckett, William Embry, Matthew Erickson, Rhett Farnum, Gage Fiscus, Joseph Giarratano, Michael Griffith, Kirk Grover, Ryan Hampe, Ronald Hampton, Dana Hanson, Michael Harmison, Guy Hay, Lori Henry, Rodney Henry, Tyler Hinders, Tyler Hinman, James Hinmon, William Holck, Cortney Howard, Tyler Humke, Dillon Hutzel, Thomas Ingram, Erving Jackson, Chad Johnson, Brock Jones, Dale Jorgensen, Matthew Kapustka, Chris Klaas, Kerry Klaas, Chad Koch, Patrick Parmore, Anthony Lem, Benjamin Lewis, James Loeffler, Savannah Looker, Michael Lough, Justin Marshall, Stephen Maxson, Jacob Miller, Bruce Neil, Keegan Nelson, William Opheim, Brandon O’Shaunghnessy, Alexander Peichl, James Rahn, Sheena Ramsey, Dale Randall, Brett Redies, Kiel Reynolds, Douglas Robey, Roger Rout, Kevin Sarazin, Robert Selby, Steven Selk, Keanan Shannon, Desiree Shaver, Thasanaphon Sirisack, Michael Snider, Darwin Spieker, Mark Streeter, Mark Swan, Carrie Thompson, Cody Thorson, Benjamin Tiedemann, Ronald Trump Jr., Paul Tynan, Steven Vance, Kegan Wertz, David Williams, Chad Wilson, Jared Winters, Mary Worrell, Adam Wunsch, Adam Young and Darryl Zeigler