Front Line Excellence

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s 20th Ready Mixed Concrete Driver of the Year program recognizes four industry veterans from a pool of outstanding nominees across the country. The NRMCA Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee assembled a panel of judges to weigh candidates’ competence, driving skills, number of years without an on- or off-road accident, and colleague or customer testimonials.

Judges awarded Driver of the Year honors to Martin Marietta Materials’ Steve Johnson, based at a Ft. Collins, Colo., plant; Runner-Up honors to Cemex’s David Mangold in Cocoa, Fla., and Jack B. Parson Cos.’ Paul Chipman in Salt Lake City; and, Honorable Mention to CalPortland’s Joshua Stewart in Rio Rico, Ariz.

The NRMCA Truck Mixer Manufacturers Bureau will present checks of $5,000, $1,000 and $500 to Driver of the Year, Runner-Up and Honorable Mention recipients. Each will be recognized this month during the NRMCA 2016 Convention in San Diego. As Driver of the Year cosponsor, Concrete Products joins the association and OES Committee in congratulating all 2016 nominees for their professionalism, safe operating skills, teamwork, and critical role in conveying a positive message about ready mixed concrete.

Judges selected for Honorable Mention a 15-year veteran driver, Joshua Stewart, now capping a decade of vehicle accident-free service with CalPortland Co. Stewart chairs the safety subcommittee at his home plant in Rio Rico, Ariz., and is active on the producer’s Tucson-based central safety committee.

Beyond his skills operating a mixer and productively interfacing with customers and colleagues, Stewart was recently credited with life-saving actions during a November 2015 delivery. “A customer at a jobsite was controlling a chute when he collapsed,” explains CalPortland Transportation Manager Gary Dykman. “Josh was nearby waiting to unload, and rushed over and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Hospital doctors told the victim’s family he may not have survived if not for the quick actions of the mixer driver.”

Competent, emergency response at the site garnered Stewart a Heart Saver Hero Award from the American Heart Association and Outstanding Citizen Award locally.

“Josh is a true professional,” Dykman concludes. “Drivers with his qualities are hard to find, and I feel very fortunate to have him working with us.”

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49 Plaque 200Competition judges find Steve “Skeeter” Johnson a natural choice for Driver of the Year, owing to his career achievements, outstanding safety record, professionalism, driving competency and customer service skills. Based at the Rigden plant in Ft. Collins, Johnson has worked for Martin Marietta Materials and predecessor operators for 45 years—all free of accidents and rejected loads.

“Steve has reached these milestones due to his commitment, pride, dedication to employer and peers, and desire to be the best he can be,” observes Martin Marietta’s Ken Nelson, Ready Mix sales. “He is the epitome of a ready mixed concrete driver.”

Over the past three years, Johnson has averaged more than 8,000 yd. in annual ready mixed deliveries. Martin Marietta Rocky Mountain Division Operations Manager Dan Stringer reflects on his experience with Johnson, beginning in 2012: “It was evident right away that Steve’s leadership and experience to the Rigden plant staff were impeccable. He participates in every safety meeting, and will go out of his way to help newer drivers succeed … I am always happy to see Steve pull up on a job because I know the slump will be right and the [order] handled with the upmost professionalism.”

Rigden plant customers agree. “Steve Johnson has been a great guy to work with the past 17 years. He is always conscious of safety and accessibility of our job site and his surroundings,” affirms Allen Brewer, superintendent of Ft. Collins-based Lightfield Enterprises, Inc. Through Johnson’s numerous ready mixed deliveries, he adds, “I can’t remember a time we have had a disagreement. That speaks volumes in this industry.”

Johnson is an excellent driver, knowledgeable in concrete and helps solve problems whenever they arise, notes Dan Vogel, owner of Ft. Collins’ Banner Concrete, adding: “He is always willing to give an extra hand with a smile and will go above and beyond without being asked. The importance of a skilled driver is imperative to quality concrete work, and Steve is one of the best.”

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50 Plaque 200Paul Chipman has 30 years in ready mixed concrete delivery, all without a vehicle accident, and has gone more than 15 years without an on-the-job accident. He joined Jack B. Parson Cos. (JBP) 23 years ago, and over the past three years has averaged 8,300 yd. in annual deliveries from the Salt Lake City plant.

“Paul has been a trainer for most of the drivers in the Salt Lake valley [and] goes out of his way to help new drivers become better. Customers love him as well. [We] continue to receive requests [to] send Paul out on their deliveries,” says JBP Region President Bob Rowberry. “The best part about Paul is his positive attitude, which radiates through his team and influences everyone he comes in contact with.”

Through 25 years as a peer or supervisor, adds Salt Lake City Plant Manager Greg Slaugh, “Paul has been consistently 10-15 minutes early for his shifts no matter what the start time may be, and always reliable. [As] supervisor, I have never had any complaints on his work performance from any contractors … Paul is seen as a mentor to the other drivers at the plant. Due to his outstanding work performance and personality, he has become a major influence on all of us. He shows us how to be an excellent employee and honest man.”

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51 Plaque 200David Mangold has 22 years of experience as a ready mixed truck driver and, from his base at the Cemex Cocoa, Fla., plant, averaged 10,000 yd. in annual deliveries since 2013.

“Dave is not only a great driver, but a greater person and big asset to Cemex,” says Plant Manager Mark Petrick, who credits Mangold with training 50-plus drivers; active safety committee participation; perpetual willingness to help customers and fellow drivers, and offer plant and customer service improvement ideas; and, the professional manner with which he represents the company.

“I have known Dave Mangold personally and professionally for more than 20 years. He has always displayed knowledge and integrity in performing his duties on my job sites. His expertise as a truck driver the respect he shows to me and my employees demonstrates commitment to his profession,” observes Don Long, president of Cocoa-based Long Concrete Construction.

Notes another local customer, Kellie Bardo of JR’s Concrete Pumping Inc.: “I first heard of Dave 20-plus years ago from my father, who was a manager for Rinker Materials. My father was a stickler for rules and would use David as an example of what a great employee looked and acted like.”

“A mixer driver can make or break our day,” she affirms. “Not only are we Cemex customers, we are concrete pumpers. We see drivers two to three times a day, so we know everyone. When Dave arrives on our job, we are assured the slump is right, he’s not going to overfill the pump, and [will] pay close attention. A good mixer driver stays in visual contact with the customer to know when to hold or go on the concrete. That is vital in my line of work. Over the years, we have seen it all with mixer drivers. David Mangold is a great driver, but an even a better person.”

A late-1990s incident stands out among positive experiences JR’s had with Mangold. Fresh off a JR’s site delivery, Bardo recalls, he observed a collision that left a pump truck on its side, in the middle of S.R. 3, and back-tracked to assist with bringing the equipment right side up.

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