Two-man team crushes recycling business

Working Together: Two-man team crushes San Jose recycling business

Posted by Shanna McCord Crigger on Jun 3, 2016

SAN JOSE – More than 100 trucks funnel through Graniterock’s recycling facility in San Jose on a solid day, dropping off concrete and asphalt rubble from a job site or picking up recycled material for a project from one of the mountainous stockpiles.

A busy day can see 140, sometimes 160 trucks.

Taking care of the customers, directing traffic, administering tags, inspecting trucks, loading trucks and managing stockpiles is all done by two guys who’ve worked together at the Granite Rock Way site for nearly eight years.

To make the recycle business successful, Joseph Pogue and Tom Valdez have their communication down to a science.

Because communication is everything when there’s just two of you.

Tom on the loader; Joseph inside the tiny scale house.

They do the bulk of their talking over the radio.

Crisp and clear without a lot of chit chat.

“Communicating clearly is key,” Joseph, 33, said. “We have to have good communication with each other and our customers so everybody can do what they need to do safely and efficiently.”

Tom, 61, is a master loader operator, coming to Graniterock 17 years ago from a similar job in Eureka.

He gets customers loaded up with whatever material they request from Joseph, whether it’s a split load of sand and base rock for a commercial customer in a semi or a guy with a pickup looking for three tons of drain rock for a backyard patio.

He also helps load the concrete plant on site with raw material.

During the day Tom rarely leaves the glass-encased cab of his new Cat 980K, which is controlled with the new joystick technology instead of a steering wheel for improved comfort.

He enjoys interacting with customers and helping them get the materials they need for their construction projects.

“I like running equipment,” said Tom, who lives in Livermore. “I build the stockpiles, I build the roads out here. I help the customers get what they need. If they need help getting material out of their truck, I do that too.”

Joseph, a San Jose resident, started at Graniterock in April 2002 as a floating weigh master for the northern road materials team, working at the South San Francisco, Redwood City and Berryessa plants.

He left the company in 2005 to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colorado and New Mexico.

When he returned from his mission in 2008, Graniterock needed another weigh master. Joseph started again as a floater until the recycle position became available in February 2009.

“The challenge here is getting the trucks in and out efficiently,” Joseph said. “Good in and out times are what the customers want and what the Company wants, so we work hard to make that happen.”

In recent months they’ve seen high demand for sand and recycled drain rock, filling large orders for major projects such as the nearby new Bass Pro Shop and the BART extension for Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

They’ve also been busy supplying drain rock for pipe work, including a lot of sewer main replacements.

Recycle Manager John Wilshere says Joseph and Tom are perfect examples of team members who demonstrate job ownership and perform well with little supervision.

“These two run everything at this branch and can make any call they need to get the job done,” John said. “I have the utmost trust that they conduct business the way it’s supposed to be done.

“All of Graniterock’s Core Values are rolled up into these two guys.”

Outside of work, Joseph enjoys spending time with his wife Keely and baby girl Emma. Tom hangs out with his wife Erin, three children and three grandchildren.

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