The president of West Coast Aggregates talks to Rock Products about aggregates resources on the West Coast of the United States, environmental responsibility and the best advice anyone ever gave him.
By Mark S. Kuhar
How is the economic climate in The Bay Area these days?
The interior bay is quite busy. By Interior Bay I am talking East Bay, Peninsula, San Francisco and as far south as San Jose. Part of the inter-bay increased business is due to diminishing supply. Also, part of the inter-bay demand is material supplied from Canada via PanMax ships. The Valley or outside the inter-bay, is still on the slow side but is showing signs of increased demand.
How is your Northwest crushing operation looking?
Our sister company, DeAtley Crushing Service’s operations in the Northwest have had very good spots and some very slow areas. Western Washington has been particularly slow whereas Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho have been good with the one exception, Spokane, where the recovery is still slow.
Is there enough supply in your area, or do you see more and more product being barged in from Canada?
The supply in the inter-bay area continues to go away. However, with three-plus years of recession, it was not a problem. As things recover, the shortage is reappearing and the need for Canadian aggregates is coming back.
Talk about your company’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
We have turned our current Pilarcitos Quarry expansion project, which is approximately 64 million tons of reserves, into the direction of a total environment project, such as storing water for the low times in Pilarcitos Creek to supplement the flow for the Steelhead run, and giving up 235 acres for a conservation easement with an endowment for wildlife habitat. Eventually we will be making a reservoir of some 5,400 acre-feet, to be used by the farmers, wildlife interests and the community for their needs. We are creating a water board to rule on water storage uses. Most importantly, we are creating local aggregates for the next 70-plus years.
Why is NSSGA membership important to your company and its success?
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) and our local state association, The California Construction & Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA) help us stay in business particularly from the legislative side of things.
You are in discussions to initiate a 100-year permit for an expansion at your Pilarcitos Quarry. In today’s restrictive permitting climate, how is that possible?
We are at the final stages of our Pilarcitos Quarry expansion permit and have our final challenge getting California Coastal Commission acceptance. In California, you need to plan on 6 to 10 years to get a permit and be prepared to spend a lot of money.
What is the best business advice anyone ever gave you?
Gather all the facts before acting and always expect a totally different result than you expected.
The Best in the West
West Coast Aggregates, Tracy, Calif., is one of the most important stone producers in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s operations include Lexington Quarry, Pilarcitos Quarry, Valley Rock, Green Pit and the Berryessa Road Sales Yard.
The company serves the Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Merced and Solano, as well as San Francisco and Alameda counties.
For more information, go to www.wcagg.com.
DeAtley Crushing Service, Lewiston, Idaho, has more than 40 years of experience providing rock-crushing and stockpiling services. The company operates six portable plants and produces more than 8 million tpy.
For more information, go to www.deatleycrushing.com.