Press Release
June 23, 2002

Fifty-Six Years of Dedication Honored

Graniterock Honors Retiree for more than a Half Century of Work Dedication

Baxter “Willie” Wilson joined Graniterock on November 24, 1945—more than 56 years ago—with “the dream of getting a good job with a good company.” Willie was offered a job delivering concrete to construction job sites throughout the Salinas Valley. “After making the toughest decision of my life to leave a job that I love and people that I consider to be my friends, I will deliver my last load of concrete on Thursday, July 18, 2002,” said Willie Wilson.

On August 10th, Willie will celebrate his seventy-ninth Birthday. Over the years, Mr. Wilson has maintained an outstanding driving record and has often served as a role-model for safe driving practices. “I just decided that it was time to retire while I was still driving safely and doing my job well,” explained Willie.

In 1975, Mr. Wilson delivered 8,426 yards of concrete to building sites around Salinas. Using this as a typical year, Wilson delivered more than 470,000 cubic yards of concrete during his career. That’s enough concrete needed to build 1,780 miles of 4-foot wide residential sidewalk.

Willie came to California in the 1940s from Arkansas at the same time that other co-workers were also leaving the U.S. Midwest in search of better economic opportunity. After receiving his diploma from North Little Rock High School, he took a job for a year in San Diego building aircraft sheet metal parts as part of the war effort and then spent about three years in the U. S. Air Force including World War II combat missions. After completing military service, Willie, who was then 22 years old, and his wife, Nita, and two-year old son, Larry, decided to look for work in Salinas. Willie says “there were no jobs in Arkansas and I came to Salinas looking for a future because relatives lived here.” Salinas Manager “Sally” Wasson hired Willie noting that “his employment is recommended because he appears to be a capable and able bodied person.” Willie was delighted when his wages were increased to $2.18 per hour in 1954.

“When Willie reached fifty years with the Company, we recognized him for the longest service tenure of any Graniterock Team Member. Perhaps, such longevity can be expected with a company that has been in business in our local community for 102-years, but there is much more to the story. Willie has enjoyed seeing truck technology improve and he has been dedicated to providing customers with good service, and mentoring all of the young men and women who have joined the company over the years,” said Bruce W. Woolpert, Graniterock President & CEO.

“When Willie celebrated his 50th year with the Company in 1995, Josh Russum, a young mixer driver who had just joined the Company, told Willie’s admirers at a company hosted event that he expected to be working when Willie reached his 100th year with Graniterock. This just shows what an institution this man is in our company and in the construction industry,” said Mike Martin, Salinas Branch Manager.

“I’ve had a good job that’s been good for me and my family, and I saw no reason to retire or do anything else. I’ve wanted to stay active and work has always been important to me,” Willie said, explaining his long tenure.

The Company will celebrate Willie’s contributions to Graniterock, the construction industry, and to the many people with whom he has been a positive influence at three celebration events over the next two weeks.

Graniterock was founded on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1900. The Company’s Salinas operation is located at 400 Work Street, Salinas. Graniterock received the 1992 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and has been included on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work for In America” each year that the list has been published.

For more information, contact:
Mike Martin, Salinas Branch Manager, 831.775.3507
Keith Severson, Marketing Services Manager, 831.768.2063
Bruce W. Woolpert, President & CEO, 831.768.2001
Baxter “Willie” Wilson, Salinas Branch, 831.775.3500