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NSSGA Kicks Off Convention in Indianapolis


The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) kicked off its annual convention prior to the AGG1 show in Indianapolis. Randy Lake, president of CRH Americas Materials, addressed association members for the final time as chairman of the association.

Randy Lake
“It was an honor to serve as NSSGA chairman this past year,” he said. “One thing that strikes me time and time again in our businesses, and across the aggregates and building materials industry, is the common thread among our people who are committed to safety, hard work, getting things done and doing a great job. I want to thank each of you for your support and participation in your association this year. You have helped to further establish NSSGA as the advocacy leader in the construction materials industry.”

Bob Weldon, NSSGA’s incoming chairman, talked about building on the successes from 2018 as he leads the association through the next year. Weldon is the president of Weldon Materials Inc., based in Westfield, N.J. He is the fifth generation to run the family business.

“Our products feel indispensable," Weldon said. "You cannot build a road or bridge without aggregates. Our highways cannot be paved without our materials. Schools and hospitals cannot serve their communities unless they’re built with our materials. We provide good paying jobs for the people of the communities in which we operate. We all know people who have worked in our companies as long as we have – they’re like family to us. We couldn’t think of doing our jobs without them. They’re indispensable, and over the next 12months, I want to work toward having NSSGA seen the same way by you.”

Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO, reminded the crowd that every aggregates company is needed to get a major, federal infrastructure investment across the finish line this year.
 
“The time is now. A collective commitment and bipartisan compromise are essential to finally making the much overdue and badly needed investment required if the U.S. is going to continue to be the strongest economy and the most secure nation in the world,” he said.
 
The convention featured two keynote speakers, Byron Reese and Rich Kargaard.
 
“The thing about progress is that things always get better,” said Reese, CEO of tech research company Gigaom. “Whatever time, wherever in the world and by any measure of success, things are better now than they were back then.”
 
That’s because technology continues to double, he explained. Technological innovations are focused, in the simplest sense, on solving technical issues. Reese counted aging, poverty, hunger and aging as technical issues that could be solved with the right innovation.
 
Kargaard, Forbes publisher, said that the industry should look to “late bloomers” to fill employment gaps. Northwestern Mutual, for example, identified athletes from Division 3 colleges, military veterans, first generation Americans and women returning to the workforce as ideal candidates for their sales positions. Ivy-league educated graduates of prestigious universities don’t quite fit the bill.

“There is talent out there that is just as good, they just get overlooked,” he said. “Tom Brady is a late bloomer. He was the 199th player taken in that draft.”

Bill Wetta, senior vice president of product development and chief technology officer at DSC Dredge, was chosen to receive the Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award at this year's convention.

“I never had the opportunity to meet Barry, but I have had the honor of working with past recipients of this award and I understand what it means to be on this list,” said Wetta. “This is the only job and the only industry I’ve ever worked in.”

Rock Products sponsored the associations's Young Leaders Luncheon. The guest speaker was former Navy SEAL Mike Sarraille of Echelon Front, who spoke on what he learned about leadership during his time in the military.