Building Long-Term Partnerships

Holcim’s Peabody Quarry Gets An A For Effort With Its School Clean-Up Activities.

By Therese Dunphy

At Holcim, community involvement is an integral part of how it operates, as demonstrated at its Peabody Quarry, which won an NSSGA Gold Award for Community Excellence in 2023.

In that community, the operator has organized a school clean-up event at the John E. Burke Elementary School and the Peabody Veterans Memorial High School for three consecutive years and counting.

School grounds clean-up efforts are an annual part of the Peabody Quarry’s community support efforts.

Each year, the operation brings a team of volunteers to clean up trash, spread mulch, and plant flowers before the beginning of the school year. Employees and their families spent hours rejuvenating the school grounds of the two buildings, which serve 2,000 students in the community, with nearly half of those students coming from low-income households.

The team also plants flowers at the local 9/11 Memorial, dedicated to a high school teacher who lost her life on Flight #93. In a single year, operation employees donated more than 180 hours of community service to the town.

“It is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the communities we operate in as we contribute time and resources to making a positive impact,” explained Domenico D’Aqui, senior vice president and general manager of Holcim’s Northeast and Great Lakes Regions, U.S. Aggregates & Construction Materials. “There’s an element of team building and a sense of responsibility above just going to work.”

School grounds clean-up efforts are an annual part of the Peabody Quarry’s community support efforts.

Fostering Teamwork
Giving back to communities not only builds goodwill with the local community, it also enhances stronger relationships between employees and boosts employee satisfaction. “People like to feel like they’re part of something bigger,” D’Aqui noted. “Many times, team members bring their kids, parents, and other relatives. Meeting different family members of your co-workers who you are with every single day just helps build the bond within your team.”

Holcim recognizes its employees’ volunteer efforts through face-to-face communication, email, social media, and digital screens at some locations. Those monitors highlight various company goals such as safety and sustainability, but they are also used to spotlight employees and recognize local community outreach activities.

D’Aqui said that the company’s community outreach highlights the positive impact the industry has on a community – including its roads, bridges, schools and hospitals – for both employees and the community. “The more we can show our employees and the community what we do and how that ties into the community, the more they can see we help support civic infrastructure,” he explained. “It’s a win-win.”

Showcasing the Industry
Being a visible member of the community also helps draw attention to the industry itself and career opportunities within it. Following one of the school clean-up days, Holcim volunteers were invited by the elementary school principal to attend a student assembly.

Holcim employees Joe Fidalgo and Jarrett Temple, along with a local councilman, were greeted by a gymnasium full of appreciative students. Temple spoke to the students about Holcim’s products and how they are used in everyday life. A few days later, students sent more than 70 handwritten “thank you” cards to the operation.

Holcim is building a long-term relationship with its school partners. “People start to ask, ‘How can I be a part of that?’” D’Aqui said. “We take them out to the operation. We do the tours from elementary schools all the way up through high schools and vocational schools. We show them what we do, and people get excited. It definitely helps attract talent.”

D’Aqui said site operations can discover numerous layers of benefits generated from their community outreach efforts. “You’re making a positive impact on communities that need help, some more than others,” he said. “Then, there’s the benefit of team building that goes on as you’re doing this in off hours. And, if you’re able to make a positive impact on what’s around you, you’re going to have fewer obstacles.

“We want to go above and beyond,” D’Aqui continued. “We want to be good neighbors. We want people to be proud of the fact that we’re in the community. We want to help, support local causes, and donate material where we can. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for the community. It’s good for our teams.”

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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