Sponsored by the Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association’s (IMAA) PIE Committee, The Miner of the Year Award exemplifies the very best in the profession and these individuals continually bring credit to the industry and to their community.
During the 2021 Winter Workshops Online, Jeff McIntosh of Martin Marietta presented the Miner of the Year Award to Keith “Sarge” Hurlbert of Martin Marietta as having contributed significantly to the aggregates industry by providing a safe working environment, being innovative and solving problems, demonstrating a concern for the environment, and contributing to the betterment of his community through civic and community affairs.
“There is truly no one more deserving of this award. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more genuine ambassador to the aggregates community. He lives it everyday in everything he does. We at Martin Marietta are proud and fortunate to have Sarge on our team and wish to congratulate him on receiving this award,” McIntosh said of Sarge’s achievement.
“I was incredibly surprised to get a phone call from Calvin telling me that I had been nominated for Miner of the Year,” Sarge said during the awards presentation. “I was speechless when Calvin informed me that I was chosen to receive this award. The only thing that I can say is that I am very honored to be this year’s recipient.”
Sarge has been a vital figure in the aggregate industry for more than 30 years. After attending Vincennes University, he began his career in the mid-1980s working for Beemsterboer Slag in Gary, Ind., where he grew up. He then moved his family to Martinsville, Ind. At that time, he began working for American Aggregates at their Harding Street location where he learned and used his skills as a maintenance utility person. In the mid-1990s, American Aggregates was acquired by Martin Marietta, where after a location swap due to market share, he was an employee for Hanson Aggregates. Shortly after the swap, Sarge began working for Martin Marietta again as a maintenance lead at the Belmont Street location.
Sarge has held numerous positions increasing his responsibility within Martin Marietta, where he began as a foreman and was promoted quickly to plant manager at Waverly. He served a short time helping at the North Indianapolis location while he was the Waverly plant manager, and now he is plant manager at both the Waverly and Belmont locations.
Anyone who personally knows Sarge would agree with his self-proclaimed title, where he introduces himself to others as “the nicest plant manager you’ll ever meet.” They also know that he will do whatever is necessary to obtain success not only for himself, but for those around him. Sarge is a selfless individual and leader who consistently puts others first. He is a strong advocate of safety and completes his daily responsibilities with integrity and honesty. His leadership in safety is second to none. In every role he has held, he was a consistent voice for the safety of his co-workers, his company and the industry as a whole.
Sarge has worked with his teams to create some of the safest workplace “cultures” in the industry. He is currently managing the Belmont Sand and Waverly Sand operations that have worked continuously for 13 years and 22 years respectively with no MSHA reportable injuries.
Sarge works diligently with his teams to manage both of his sites effectively within the stringent guidelines of running an operation in close proximity to protected wildlife along the White River, ensuring citizens water supplies are protected inside wellhead protection areas, and being a good neighbor adjacent to community parks and residents. Sarge has had ZERO environmental “Notice of Violations” since taking over at both of these operations in 2010/2011. The willingness Sarge shows to go the extra mile to ensure environmental compliance is maintained is impressive.
Through the years, Sarge has served on various IMAA committees, including chairing the Plant Operators Committee. In addition to managing Martin Marietta’s Belmont and Waverly sand and gravel operations, he manages the portable topsoil plant on the south side of Indianapolis. Under Sarge’s leadership, these locations have garnered many awards mostly for their outstanding safety record, but also for their outstanding performance from a production perspective. His locations have been integral in supplying materials to several high profile projects, including work at the Indianapolis Airport, FedEx, Lucas Oil Stadium, Downtown Indianapolis Convention Center, and many heavy highway contracts as well as redevelopment projects throughout the surrounding communities. Sarge is a solid mentor to newer employees in the mining industry. Overall, he simply provides a great example of what to expect when you work hard and treat others with respect.
Congratulations Sarge, you are a Rock Star!