Up Close - Marvin Brandt
Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015
Graniterock People take pride in their ability to wear many hats on the job. Marvin Brandt, who manages Graniterock’s Quail Hollow Quarry in Felton and the Santa Cruz Sand Plant (also known as the Wilder Sand Quarry), is a Team Member who applies his many talents and varied experience wherever needed to get the job done.
The Quail Hollow Quarry is an internationally recognized source of high-quality, fine-grained sand used to make glass containers and glass fiber products. Products made at the Santa Cruz Sand Plant include the high-quality sand local builders find sand ideal for a wide variety of construction uses, sand used for the world renowned golf courses of the Monterey Bay area and clay used by professional baseball teams to create beautiful infields for their baseball stadiums. Operations are relatively small and with few team members, it is important to be able to fill in for each other when needed.
“At Santa Cruz Sand”, Marvin says, “the job includes us all helping each other out, and I’m involved in every part of the operation. I have two of the best crews ever, because I can be at one location and know that everything is going to be taken care of at the other.”
Before joining Graniterock, Marvin worked as production manager at the cement plant that operated in Davenport and supplied cement all over the Bay Area. “I made the best of the opportunities presented to me there, and really enjoyed the work because you could see progress and make a difference in the business. In 2008, the year before the cement plant closed, I was given the chance to apply for the job at Quail Hollow. It was a good time for me to make the move, and I started out managing Quail Hollow Quarry, then when they needed assistance at Santa Cruz Sand I spent time there, and as things transitioned I started running both facilities.”
Marvin’s love of the ocean has kept him close to the water. His entire family shares a passion for sailing, and on any given weekend, Marvin and Sunny, his wife of 36 years, can be found on the waters of San Francisco Bay. Sons Marin, Issa and Sean, and three grandchildren aged 12, 9 and 6 all enjoy the sailboat docked at the marina in Alameda, which doubles as a houseboat when the Brandt’s want to enjoy life in the city.
Although he was born in Illinois, when he was three years old his parents bought a chicken ranch on Prescott Road in Soquel, and there the family raised poultry and sold eggs. Marvin went to school in Soquel and helped out with the family farm until college. It was 1969, and at the time young men in America were subject to the military draft and service in Vietnam. Marvin decided that joining the U.S. Coast Guard would be a better option.
“I was stationed in Seattle on an ice breaker that was sent to Point Barrow, Alaska. They were putting in the oil pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, and when the pipeline barges became trapped in the ice, we had to get them out. It was an interesting time, and I met all kinds of people. After discharge, I went back up to Alaska and worked a season as a commercial crab fisherman and on a salmon tender. We’d drop our anchor in the river, wait for boats to bring their fish to us, weigh their catch, give them a receipt, and they’d go back out to sea.”
Back in Santa Cruz, Marvin found work as a volunteer fireman, an EMT, and as a casting technician for a group of orthopedic physicians. Eventually, he started work at what was then the Lone Star cement plant in Davenport. “I started out as a laborer, jack hammering and shoveling, then became shift foreman, then yard foreman, and while doing shift work at the plant went back to school to earn my bachelor’s degree.”
Now at Graniterock, Marvin continues to apply his many experiences, working with his two teams to continuously improve and “Make It Better”. “I’ve got so many opportunities for changes and improvements between the two plants,” says Marvin. “We are focusing on what the future will be for the Bay Area, working to provide the products our customers will want. Our job is to have the vision and then focus on what we need to do to get there. These are our challenges.” Based on Marvin’s past history of tackling interesting challenges, getting there is only a matter of time.
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