Beyond customer satisfaction, mixer-truck drivers’ performance impacts quality control, finishing, and ultimately, project integrity. That one major producer
Beyond customer satisfaction, mixer-truck drivers’ performance impacts quality control, finishing, and ultimately, project integrity. That one major producer has referred to drivers as the lifeblood of his business should be no surprise. A panel of judges assembled by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Operations, Equipment, and Safety Committee selected the 2005 Driver of the Year and three finalists based on competence and service skills; number of years without an on- or off-site accident; and, customer and colleague testimonials. Awards will be presented to Driver of the Year Curtis Rodriguez, of Texas-based Transit Mix Concrete & Materials, and finalists at next month’s NRMCA Annual Convention in San Antonio.
NRMCA 2005 DRIVER OF THE YEAR
Transit Mix Concrete & Materials Co.
At 71 years, Curtis Rodriguez continues to deliver over 15,000 yards annually, adding to the million-plus, accident-free miles he has accumulated over 45 years of driving (including 19 for Transit Mix). Yet, such enterprise is not directed to the enhancement of his personal standing; rather, that record reflects the dedication of a professional committed to his work and the support of fellow drivers.
Transit Mix Safety and Environmental Manager James Shaw asserts that Rodriguez has been instrumental in making Waco Plant #1175 what it is today: Both a mentor to other drivers and the lead-off man, Curtis is always one of the first on the job. Several early-morning pours this year have proceeded without a hitch because he was able to provide needed advice and directions Û ‘turn here to avoid the water meter, and go slow down this road because it has several sharp turns’ Û that visibly relieved the tension of less-experienced drivers.
Rodriguez even postponed his retirement to accommodate several early-morning pours. Shaw explains, Earlier in the year, Curtis thought about retiring÷ until he got wind of some large pours on the books. When he found the pours would start early in the morning Û team player that he is Û Curtis decided not to retire in order to see the jobs through. Always putting others first, Shaw adds, he can still out run the young guns.
Willie Gene Roberts
Southern Concrete Materials
Asheville, North Carolina
Since he was first assigned to a 1953 Ford 3-yd. mixer truck with chutes suspended by chain from a bar fitted with rollers for movement, Gene Roberts has logged 710,500-plus, accident-free miles over 37 years. Furthermore, his spotless record cannot be attributed to a lack of challenging conditions. He recalls helping build the Long Shoals Road Bridge over the French Broad River decades ago: as concrete pumps were not available at the time and, thus, bridges were built using an overhead crane bucket, he had to back into the river bed Û with water rising to the floorboards Û and wade into the river to adjust the chutes. Other less vigilant drivers would occasionally back up too far and find their trucks floating away on the current as they emptied their loads.
Roberts’ more recent expeditions have involved hauling concrete up steep mountain inclines, a routine assignment in western North Carolina. Delivering concrete in Black Mountain, for example, to build the Richard Petty Bridge Û whose slope exceeding 22 ft. in elevation from one end to the other makes it one of the area’s steepest spans Û required backing his truck onto completed, inclined sections of the structure without guard rails, protective cables or stops.
As SCM’s senior driver-instructor in the Fletcher Division, Roberts has generously shared the expertise gained from years of rigorous experience. The training and advice I received from senior drivers when I started working contributed to the many years of safe driving I have accomplished, he affirms. When I finally leave this business, I hope that some of the younger drivers remember me that way, too.
Lafarge North America
A conservative estimate of four loads per day, seven yards per load, and 20 miles per trip over the 38 years of his driving career means that Frank Gibbons has covered 729,000 miles delivering 255,000 yds. of concrete Û all without a single accident or rejected load. While that record is clear evidence of a solid commitment to safety, what is not as obvious is his willingness to tackle the toughest jobs. According to John Fleischauer, Lafarge’s Augusta Area/East Coastal Region operations manager, Gibbons is known for his ability to skillfully maneuver a mixer into spots that may require all-wheel trucks or even pumps. In fact, Fleischauer adds, he is routinely asked to evaluate a particular job site to determine if it is safely accessible.
Further, Gibbons’ extensive experience has enabled him to obtain clearance to haul concrete to secured locations. Westinghouse Savannah River Site (Department of Energy nuclear plant), DSM Chemicals, Olin Chemicals, Augusta National Golf Club, and Plant Vogtle (nuclear power plant) are several facilities requiring specially trained drivers with security clearance that Gibbons regularly serves. Over the years, Fleischauer reports, customers have requested him by name to ensure delivery of quality concrete within exacting specifications, as well as sound advice on safer or more efficient placement.
Ready Mix Concrete Co.
A resounding endorsement of Charles Hodge from some of the construction industry’s most demanding players Û project superintendents for a general contractor he has worked with for over four decades Û says a great deal about his proficiency as a mixer truck driver. Also acknowledging his expertise, Hodge’s employers have invested him with substantial responsibility over the 41 years of his affiliation with the company: training new delivery professionals for 16 years; serving as truck foreman, whose duties include all aspects of scheduling and driver supervision; plus, managing a satellite plant. These tasks have been performed in addition to delivering an average of 6,800 yd. annually, while maintaining an impeccable driving record. Add to diligence a large measure of patience and good will, and you have the sterling professional that is Charles Hodge.