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Working Together: Small team keeps sand plants running smoothly

Working Together: Small team keeps sand plants running smoothly

Posted by Shanna McCord Crigger on Apr 17, 2015

Marvin Brandt didn’t know a single thing about sand before taking over the Santa Cruz and Quail Hollow sand plants seven years ago.But what he knew, and knew well, was how to manufacture materials and lead people from nearly 30 years as production manager at Cemex, just a few miles up Highway 1 from the Santa Cruz Sand Plant.“The principles of manufacturing are the same whether it’s sand or cement,” said Marvin, who splits his time between the Santa Cruz and Felton plants. “Success comes from the people you’re working with, and I’ve got the best crews.”Marvin inherited two struggling sand plants when coming on board to Graniterock in 2008. Both plants were in need of equipment upgrades and had difficulty meeting customers’ expectations.To make the job even more challenging, the Santa Cruz plant is going into its second year without a mining permit extension from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has limited production in Santa Cruz and forced Quail Hollow to double its sand production to help the Santa Cruz plant meet customer demand.Through the daily challenges and permit uncertainty, Marvin and his small team – Ben Snowand Neil Kunkel in Santa Cruz, and Cynthia Escobar, Enrique Diaz and Shaun Eskue at Quail Hollow - maintain calm and order.They ensure stockpiles are kept up, plant machinery stays in working order and customers are loaded with the right quality and quantity of material.Sand specs are extremely tight, which means the team is constantly fine tuning production to make sure the material is neither too fine or too course.Golf courses, in need of bunker sand, are typically the plants’ top customers.While Marvin is quick to credit his team for the plants’ turnaround, the team is equally quick to praise their leader.“Marvin’s a good teacher,” said Ben, who has worked at the Santa Cruz plant for three years. “He makes you want to come to work here and do a good job.”Neil said he enjoys Marvin’s easy going personality and works hard to earn the trust Marvin has in everyone.“He trusts us to do our job and he makes it so you enjoy coming to work,” Neil said. “Anything we need, he’s happy to help.”Cynthia, weighmaster at Quail Hollow, worked with Marvin during her 18-year career at Cemex before joining Graniterock in 2011.Because the Quail Hollow team is small, they treat each other like family, which is due largely to the culture Marvin has helped build.“We get to know each other on a personal basis and take interest in each other,” Cynthia said. “Marvin’s a good listener. He’ll listen to each one of us before making any sort of decision, which is really nice.”For Marvin, leading a team and taking responsibility for two major production facilities is akin to parenting. He and his wife of 39 years know something about that with three sons and four grandchildren.“You work alongside them. They see how you operate, how you work,” he said. “You can’t tell someone I want quality, safety and production. You have to show them how it’s done.“It’s like raising a child. Children learn what is right by watching.”
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Permeable Paving Systems - Three Options

Posted by Keith Severson on Mar 18, 2015

In today’s construction environment, “green” building choices which are cost effective and long lasting are often a developer’s best option for building and pavement installation. Pervious concrete, permeable pavers and crushed top and bottom stone for synthetic athletic fields are all excellent selections for storm water management and drainage. 
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One of Santa Cruz County's Most Important Resources - Sand

Posted by Keith Severson on Mar 18, 2015

Although Santa Cruz is famous for its beaches, one of the County’s most important stretches of sand lies inland in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in an area known as the Zayante sandhills. Tucked between the communities of Bonny Doon and Scotts Valley, the sandhills are isolated pockets of ancient sand that support an ecologically distinct assortment of plants and animals. Once covering about 6,365 acres, the sandhills are now restricted to less than 1,500, making it one of the rarest habitats in the state of California.
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Xeriscaping for California's Drought

Posted by Robin Steudler on Mar 18, 2015

With historic drought conditions and looming water shortages, many areas within California will be faced with water restrictions.  Homeowners would be wise to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
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Making Up Watsonville's Bedrock - Graniterock a Mainstay for 114 Years

Posted by Reposted from another publication on Mar 18, 2015

The siren warning that a blast was imminent at Graniterock’s A.R. Wilson Quarry Tuesday came two minutes before 25,000 pounds of explosive would hammer loose a landslide of rocks and boulders. When the time came, electronic timers ignited 74 explosive charges, sending a massive cloud of stone and dirt into the air. This was followed by the roar and rumble as the rock tumbled into the quarry. 
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Concrete Aggregate - Not Just Any Old Rock

Posted by James Schmitt on Mar 18, 2015

By James W. Schmitt, Principal and President of Schmitt Technical Services: http://schmitttechnicalservices.com
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Stone, the Original Green Building Material

Posted by Graniterock on Mar 18, 2015

From Building Green http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2013/3/29/Stone-The-Original-Green-Building-Material/
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Dumbarton Bridge Seismic Retrofit - A Design and Teamwork Challenge

Posted by Keith Severson on Mar 18, 2015

For over a year Shimmick Construction has been retrofitting the Dumbarton Bridge to make safety improvements and increase the its capacity to handle forces caused by earthquakes. The work included the reconstruction of bridge joints to allow for more movement of bridge segments without damage when an earthquake occurs. The joints are composed of heavily reinforced concrete covered by massive steel plates. The construction challenge for Shimmick and Graniterock, the concrete supplier of choice, was to get concrete to entirely fill the cavity under the steel plates through small holes drilled in the top of the steel plates. This meant the concrete needed to be highly fluid and flow freely to make its way around the dense steel reinforcing under the steel plates. The Caltrans specification also required that the mix not segregate into rocky pockets and sandy/cement pockets so that the strength and durability of the concrete was consistent throughout the joint.
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Just Say Yes

Posted by Graniterock on Mar 18, 2015

Editor’s Note: This July 2010 issue of  Aggregates Manager highlights the customer service approaches championed by Bruce W. Woolpert, President and CEO of Graniterock from 1987 to 2012.
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Graniterock Launches New Free Android App

Posted by John Geary on Mar 18, 2015

Graniterock released the Graniterock Calculator mobile application for the Android platform, providing Android users with a useful construction materials calculator. With the release of our app for the Apple app store back in March of 2011, the Android announcement marks Graniterock’s commitment to its customers’ needs in our expansion to additional mobile platforms.
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