Building Partner Relationships

In Arizona, CEMEX’s West Region Is Identifying Community Partners And Building Relationships With Key Organizations.

By Therese Dunphy

Deborah Haldeman-Wells

Sometimes, a fresh perspective can lead to exciting new prospects for community outreach. Such was the case in 2020, when CEMEX split its West region into two groups. 

The move brought in a new president for the Arizona region, David Nabavi, who previously served in the company’s Florida region. It also brought the newly formed region under the responsibility of Deborah Haldeman-Wells, director, government affairs, sustainability and communications for CEMEX’s West region. With new leadership came new ideas. 

“We just started brainstorming ideas, discussing his experiences and my experiences, and developing a plan of how we could become more fully involved in this region,” Haldeman-Wells explained.

“Our mission was aligned from the beginning,” Nabavi added. “We wanted to be part of the communities where we live and work.”

Getting Started
The Arizona region was created just weeks before the COVID-19 lockdown began. At the time, the company was identifying organizations that might need assistance during the pandemic. This prompted CEMEX Arizona to form a partnership with the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Early contributions were financial, but as the relationship grew, so did the region’s support. This spring, it joined the organization’s Fill-A-Bag program and provided 100 bags of food to local families in need. 

“Their goal was to get 400 bags filled,” Haldeman-Wells said. “They gave us their wish list of items for each of the bags, which included items such as canned fruit and vegetables, cake mix, frosting, tuna, macaroni and cheese and beans. With several trips to Walmart to accumulate all the food items requested, we then created an assembly line of the items in our Scottsdale office conference room. Over two days, our employees were invited to come in and fill bags with food. Once completed, a couple of employees and myself delivered the bags to the Phoenix Rescue Mission so they could hand out to families ahead of Easter. They ended up getting more than 500 bags filled.”

Working Military Groups
Another organization the Arizona region is active with is Operation Homefront, which serves the needs of the nation’s military families. Through a backpack drive, it provided 250 backpacks filled with school supplies for use by military families in Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. In Yuma, the program operates a bit differently, and CEMEX purchased school supplies and donated them directly to the local school district. 

Three times a year, the CEMEX Arizona regional management meetings set aside time in the agenda for team members to participate in a community project. One program involves building bikes for children. Haldeman-Wells purchases bike kits in advance and has them delivered to the meeting site. Past bike recipients have included patients of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 

This year, she worked with Operation Homefront, Phoenix Chapter, which held an essay contest for children of military families giving them a chance to win one of the eight bikes. Haldeman-Wells was included in the essay panel selection as well. 

Another management team activity held at the Scottsdale office is where employees spent an afternoon compiling 100 care packages, which were sent to members of the military serving overseas. CEMEX teamed with Packages from Home in Phoenix to purchase the items needed for the care packages. CEMEX included a written note of thanks in each care package. 

“We started getting letters from members of the military who received the boxes, and that was just really exciting,” Haldeman-Wells said. “It just means so much to our service members serving for us overseas.”

Supporting Children
In addition to its bike donation to patients at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, CEMEX also supports the hospital’s annual Big Dig for Kids event, which helps raise funds for a new cancer building. Companies from the construction industry come together and bring their large construction vehicles, including CEMEX’s giant pink loader and a mixer truck. “Talk about rewarding,” she said. “You see the kids that come through and know they are patients at the hospital. Their eyes light up when they see the big pink loader.” 

As CEMEX builds such rewarding partnerships, the goal is to create annual events in the Phoenix area as well as other key Arizona markets. “The employees love it,” Haldeman-Wells noted. “They come together and get to participate and see another side of what CEMEX is doing in the community.”

Therese Dunphy has covered the aggregates industry for nearly 30 years, while also serving multiple roles as a public official. As the owner of Stone Age Communications, she provides communications consulting services to help aggregate producers build stronger relationships within the communities they serve. She can be reached at [email protected].

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