Alex Car has officially assumed president and chief executive officer posts at Essroc Cement Corp., Nazareth, Pa., responsible for operations in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Predecessor Francesco Carantani is transitioning to new duties within parent company, Italcementi Group, Bergamo, Italy.

Noting the impending merger between Italcementi and Lehigh Hanson Inc. parent HeidelbergCement, Car affirms, “I am committed to empowering Essroc’s talented team to realize our full potential and managing the company during this important period of change … The merger with HeidelbergCement uniquely positions us to take advantage of the combined strengths of two leaders in cement and construction materials.”

Car takes the helm after serving as senior vice president of Cement Sales & Marketing and general manager of Construction Materials. He has held various leadership positions since joining Italcementi Group in 2002, among them general director of the Devnya Cement business in Bulgaria. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., and a master’s of business administration from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Scott Ledford (left) and James Cross

General Shale Director of Human Resources Scott Ledford was recently honored with a Patriot Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense. The award recognizes employers’ support of National Guard and Reserve members, and was presented during a ceremony at the clay and concrete masonry giant’s Johnson City, Tenn., headquarters.

Air Force Master Sgt. Steve Sanders nominated Ledford for his Air National Guard support. During his 16-year tenure with General Shale, Sanders has held several positions at various company locations, including manufacturing supervisor, project manager in the corporate engineering department, and product engineer. Since 2009, he has been assistant plant manager at the Spring City, Tenn., operation.

Support provided by employers such as General Shale is critical for ensuring that National Guard and Reserve members are able to serve in their military roles, notes ESGR representative James Cross, adding: “The Guard comprises almost 50 percent of our total armed forces. In Iraq in 2005, 60 percent of boots on the ground were Guard reservists. But their contributions don’t end there. A member of the Guard and Reserve brings a myriad of skills to their civilian jobs that others do not have, including attitude, ability to follow instructions and a greater knowledge of world events—real team players.”

CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp., the Cypress, Calif.-based proprietor of Rapid Set packaged mixes, reports that the University of California, Los Angeles, has established the Eric Pascal Bescher Endowed Scholarship in Materials Science at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. The scholarship honors Dr. Bescher’s contributions to the UCLA campus and field of calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA) binders. CTS Cement believes it will be instrumental in building awareness of their unique characteristics and how they contribute to building sustainable, durable infrastructure.

“Eric is a leader in the development of long-life cementitious materials. His work on 100-year concrete, low shrinkage and early strength calcium sulfoaluminate is important for the future of our infrastructure,” says CTS Chairman Ed Rice. “[His] focus on the life cycle of pavement will help design better, longer-lasting highways and runways.”

Applications of Dr. Bescher’s work include pavements with fewer joints than typically specified for slabs on grade, plus larger concrete slabs for airports, where decreasing the number of linear feet of joints—as measured against conventional portland cement concrete—lowers pavement construction and maintenance costs. The scholarship is meant to encourage future generations of students to follow in his footsteps and contribute to this important field.

U.S. Concrete Inc. has extended raw materials integration in ready mixed operations by acquiring select assets of E&A Materials Inc. and Pitts Sand & Gravel Inc., based in Wichita Falls, Texas. The transaction includes two sand and gravel operations near Vernon, Texas, and Waurika, Okla., each strengthening U.S. Concrete’s presence and vertically integrated capabilities within attractive existing markets. Management plans to improve the operating dynamics of its Redi Mix Concrete and Atlas Tuck businesses by combining E&A and Pitt activities into one cohesive unit.

“This acquisition provides us a unique opportunity to improve the operating efficiencies of our overall business in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas,” affirms U.S. Concrete CEO William Sandbrook. “As we move forward, we remain intensely focused on further increasing our level of vertical integration through increasing our aggregate profile.”

Ontario’s Brampton Brick has moved to deploy CarbonCure carbon dioxide-based curing for all concrete masonry unit production. The technology allows permanent capture of waste CO2 in the company’s Hillsdale, Peel and Brookville plant block lines—each now equipped with devices imparting the gas into production.

“We care about reducing environmental impacts, and strive to be a leader in sustainability and innovation,” says Brampton Brick Chief Operating Officer Dave Carter, noting that the company “is the first in the industry to manufacture all concrete masonry units with the CO2 recycling technology.”

“We’ve been converting all of our production over the past few months, and now are happy to say that when you order Brampton concrete masonry, you are automatically going to receive products made with the CarbonCure technology,” adds Vice President, Technical Services Brad Cobbledick.