Front Line Excellence

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s 23rd Ready Mixed Concrete Delivery Professional Driver of the Year program recognizes four industry veterans from a pool of outstanding nominees. The NRMCA Safety, Environmental and Operations Committee assembled a panel of judges to weigh nominees’ competence, driving skills, number of years without an accident, and colleague or customer testimonials.

The NRMCA Truck Mixer Manufacturers Bureau will present checks of $5,000 to Driver of the Year David Buoncristiani (page 47) and $1,000 to Runners-Up George Weaver of Wayne Concrete, Shinglehouse, Pa. (below); Michael Salo of GCC Ready Mix, Aberdeen, S.D. (opposite page); and, Eddie Thompson of Chandler Concrete Co., Burlington, N.C. (page 46). These delivery professionals are also being honored this month in Tampa during the NRMCA 2019 Convention. As Driver of the Year program cosponsor, Concrete Products joins the association and Safety, Environmental and Operations Committee in congratulating all 2019 nominees for their professionalism, safe operating skills, teamwork, and critical role in conveying a positive message about ready mixed concrete.

A mixer driver for 36 years, all without an on-the-job accident, George Weaver was his current employer’s first hire in 1996. “[He] defines the term ‘delivery professional’ in every way. His skills expand the job description and go beyond comment,” says Wayne Concrete President Lisa Stephens. “When customers personally request his service and go out of their way to show their appreciation, he becomes my best customer service representative. When he trains and mentors all new hires, he becomes my best human resources representative. When he wears the company logo and every building in his neighborhood has Wayne Concrete in their construction, he becomes my best sales representative.”

“I have yet to see another mixer driver as professional and technically savvy as George. He communicates and works hand in hand with the plant technician and myself,” adds PennDOT District 2’s Dan Rucinski. “Site inspectors love to see him show up because they know his concrete load will be spot on. After site testing is completed, George will contact the plant to make sure they get all the results so any adjustment can be made on subsequent loads.”

GeorgePennDOT staff is not alone in acknowledging Weaver’s depth of knowledge and commitment, notes Wayne Concrete Executive Vice President William C. Haas, Jr., adding: “Customers tell me ‘George is in a league all by himself.’ On any critical placement, [his] is the first truck. He sets the pace for the rest of the fleet. When I have a problem at the plant, George is my go to guy for help. He works until everything is done.” On top of all that, Haas quips, “His mixer truck is cleaner than my car.”

“George has delivered hundreds of loads to me over the years. We have never had a problem with any concrete that he has brought us,” affirms Dan Dunbar of Double D Construction, Richburg, N.Y. “He has never backed into the job without walking the route and discussing my plan of attack. Many times he has made suggestions that changed my plan for the better. George Weaver is hands down the best all-around driver I have ever seen.”

Plaque1 1Michael Salo entered concrete production in 1974, handling and delivering block early on but soon switching to mixer truck driving under the same family-owned business. A commitment to job performance, coupled with a honing of skills along the way—underscored by 20-plus years of accident-free driving since a minor fender bender—prompt this observation from GCC South Dakota General Manager Chad Henrich, P.E.: “Michael is experienced and trusted to champion many plant support functions. He brings a great attitude to work every day; working to not only fulfill customers’ needs, but to improve GCC as a whole. When the challenging deliveries come in, it’s an easy decision for both customer service and his plant manager. Michael gets the order and performs his duties safely and efficiently. Safe driving record, attention to maintenance detail, and willingness to keep a clean truck put him on top of the list when new trucks are received.”

“We have been operating a concrete construction business for over 50 years and understand the changes in the work force that have taken place,” adds Aberdeen concrete contractor Jeff Sudlow, president of Wright & Sudlow Inc. “Mike has a long history of consistent performance when delivering ready mix to our jobsites. He will drive in a safe, professional manner, have the concrete at the desired slump and ready to discharge. He works well with our crews and has a great understanding of what is expected from him, his truck and the product he is delivering. I believe Mike is an outstanding truck driver.”

“Over the past 15 years, Michael Salo has done an outstanding job of ensuring that we get a timely and quality product with each load he delivers,” affirms Jesse Bruns, chief operating officer of Reede Construction Inc., Aberdeen. “His positive attitude and willingness to help out whenever needed have not gone unnoticed by many of us at Reede Construction. Michael is among the best in his field and we are grateful that we have had an opportunity to work with him.”

Plaque1 2Eddie Thompson is based at the Greensboro plant and has worked for Chandler Concrete all of his 32 years as a ready mixed concrete delivery professional. He received the Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, and is a two-time Chandler Concrete Driver of the Year, most recently in 2017.

“Eddie’s attention to detail and safety is always high at the plant, on the road and job site,” says Chandler Concrete Piedmont Area Manager Dan Goley. “What really sets him apart from his peers is his level of customer service. He is warm, respectful and helpful to his customers every single trip. More customers know Eddie by name and request him more than any other driver I work with.”

In addition to routine work, Winston-Salem customer Terry Williams of Landmark Builders recalls Thompson’s deliveries on an 800,000-sq.-ft. distribution center plus a 500,000-sq.-ft. expansion for the same owner. “Large job or small, I always appreciate Eddie,” he affirms. “Not only does he deliver concrete in spec, he does it with a warm and caring attitude. He is one of the best drivers I have had the privilege of dealing with.”

Plaque 3Based at the South San Francisco plant, David Buoncristiani is closing in on 33 years as a Central Concrete mixer driver, free of reportable accidents, and is the producer’s 2018 Delivery Professional of the Year. A member of the Central Cares, Safety and Safety First Committees, he coined the yard signage slogan, “Be Safe. Be Central Safe.”

“David Buoncristiani embodies all of our core values. On the front line of our company, he is our most valuable asset with his calm demeanor, attention to safety, and to service,” notes Operations Manager, South | West Bay Joe Cerrito. “David can be counted on to make sure conditions are optimal for all, no matter the size or scope of the job. Hauling over 15,000 yards incident free in 2018, he navigated some of the region’s most challenging terrain in its busiest market.”

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Dave Buoncristiani (right) finishes a Central Cares campaign he spearheaded, raising funds to support Silicon Valley Career Technical Education apprentice heavy-duty technicians.

From his very first day with Central Concrete in 1986, “He has shown others his superior work ethic, diligence in safety practices, and professional handling of job site conditions,” Cerrito affirms. “He can be counted on to make each delivery a positive and successful experience for every customer no matter the circumstances. He has excellent decision-making skills, helping make each working day a safe and successful one.”

“Dave’s character speaks for itself as he is always striving to provide exceptional service and does so with the most charismatic of personalities,” observes Malcolm Drilling Co. Superintendent Steve Benesi, reflecting on nearing 30 years of deliveries from Buoncristiani. “I have worked with many concrete drivers and would rank Dave in the top 1 percent of all [of them]. He is a humble and hardworking individual with a great sense of humor who takes pride in his work. He is rock solid when it comes to anything related to concrete.”

Adds Consolidating Engineering Labs Special Inspector Michael Lacoste, “He makes my job easier by handing me the batch ticket telling me what mix he has, what type of slump am I looking for, and not adding water without checking with me even if the pump operator or finishing crew tells him to. Dave always puts his truck in just the right spot for unloading. He is the picture of what a professional mixer driver should be.”