Eagle Materials Inc. directors have taken a key step toward mid-year separation of cement- and gypsum wallboard-centered Heavy and Light Materials businesses into independent, New York Stock Exchange-traded companies, both Dallas based. Leading the Heavy Materials namesake will be current Chairman Mike Nicolais and President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Haack. Leading the Light Materials business, operating as American Gypsum Company, will be Chairman Dave Powers, former Eagle Materials CEO and current director, and President and CEO Craig Kesler, current chief financial officer.

The appointments lay groundwork for further actions surrounding the Eagle Materials and American Gypsum entities, including decisions pertaining to their broader leadership teams and capital structures. “It is a Board imperative that both companies be launched this year with the experienced leadership required to assure continued success and provide continuity on the factors that have made these businesses the benchmark operating performers in their respective industries,” says Nicolais. “We are fortunate to have great leadership options due to the strength and experience in our ranks. Dave Powers led the American Gypsum organization for 11 years before becoming the president and CEO of Eagle Materials. Craig Kesler is a 16-year Eagle veteran and has served as CFO for the past 11 years. This degree of continuity and directly relevant experience gives us every confidence that the transition to two top-performing companies will be seamless and that both will continue to generate value for all shareholders.”

Per Eagle Materials’ May 2019 demerger announcement, the namesake or Heavy Materials business will be a U.S. heartland cement plant system with complementary concrete and aggregates operations. Eagle Materials will “remain focused on low-cost production, operate in key geographies with favorable market dynamics, and drive profitable growth through both strategic acquisitions and organic development of its asset network. The business will operate as a distinct pure-play cement company with excellent future prospects as the largest U.S.-owned producer.” American Gypsum, on the other hand, is poised to be a benchmark gypsum wallboard and recycled paperboard producer.

Chance Allen

Chicago-based LafargeHolcim has appointed Woodrow “Chance” Allen general manager for the U.S. Aggregates and Construction Materials Mountain Region. A lean manufacturing method practitioner, he most recently served in the same capacity for the Mountain Region Aggregates & Asphalt unit, managing quarry, paving material and recycling businesses. Prior to joining LafargeHolcim in October 2019, he served as vice president of Martin Marietta Materials, Central Texas; through nearly 20 years, he moved to positions of increasing responsibility, including production manager and San Antonio District general manager.

“Chance brings a valuable perspective of the construction materials industry,” says LafargeHolcim U.S. ACM CEO Jay Moreau. “His experience in production and in developing and executing strategic growth initiatives will support LafargeHolcim as we continue to strengthen and expand our business.”

Allen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mining engineering from the University of Missouri Science & Technology and Master of Business Administration from Strayer University, and has served on the boards of multiple organizations, including the Texas Workforce Commission and his undergraduate alma mater.

Lehigh Hanson Inc. parent HeidelbergCement AG has appointed Dominik von Achten as chairman of the managing board, where he has served as deputy chairman since 2015 and succeeds Dr. Bernd Scheifele. Presently chief digital officer, von Achten has been a managing board member since 2007; overseen group businesses in North America and Western and Southern Europe plus the Competence Center Materials; and, played significant roles in the successful integration of Hanson Plc and Italcementi SpA acquisitions.

Succeeding him as deputy chairman is Lorenz Näger, who has been chief financial officer since 2004. Jon Morrish will head the HeidelbergCement Western and Southern Europe Group area, while Chris Ward, previous Canada region head and managing board member since September 2019, leads the North America Group area and Competence Center Materials.

“With Dominik von Achten, a competent, recognized, and internationally experienced manager from our own ranks is taking over the chairmanship of HeidelbergCement,” says Chairman of the Supervisory Board Fritz-Jürgen Heckmann. “Over the past 13 years, he has proven himself in a variety of roles within the company. We are convinced that he will lead the group into a successful and sustainable future.

“As chairman of the managing board, Dr. Scheifele has played a key role in shaping HeidelbergCement for 15 years. He successfully increased the company’s competitiveness by introducing efficient management processes and a lean administration, expanded its geographic positioning and business activities, and developed it into the globally leading, vertically integrated building materials group. Under his leadership, HeidelbergCement’s revenue more than doubled to around 18 billion [$19.8 billion], results from current operations almost tripled, and the headcount increased by roughly 40 percent to around 57,000.”

Knife River Corp., the construction materials subsidiary of Bismarck, N.D.-based MDU Resources Group, has extended its Pacific Northwest precast/prestressed concrete production footprint, acquiring the assets of Oldcastle Infrastructure Spokane. The operation serves contractors and developers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, and complements an existing Knife River precast/prestressed plant in the latter state. The Knife River Prestress Division, including the new Spokane component, is Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute certified, and specializes in engineered structures or components for bridges, buildings and stadiums. The 80-member Spokane team has joined the Knife River Northwest Region.

“This is a great fit as we continue to grow and expand our position in the precast/prestressed concrete segment of the construction industry,” says Knife River President David Barney. “The Spokane group has a good reputation and a respected team, and we look forward to continued success in what has been a strong market for us.”

The transaction is rare for Oldcastle Infrastructure, which has maintained nearly all U.S. and Canadian properties acquired over the past four decades. Formerly CPM Prestress, the Spokane operation originally accompanied the Central Pre-Mix business, a longtime holding of Oldcastle Materials, now CRH Americas Materials.

Capital Precast Inc. of San Marcos, Texas, has been recapitalized by Texas Next Capital, an Austin-based equity fund. Pinecrest Capital Partners, Dallas, served as financial advisor to the producer of concrete storm or sanitary sewer structures, electrical or communications vaults, and other utility precast.

Founded in 1997 by Ash and Renee Wineinger, Capital Precast has been cited as one of the industry’s top 25 highest rated operations by the National Precast Concrete Association. “Capital Precast is an industry leader in safety and quality. Ash and his team have built an outstanding culture of excellence and this transaction will facilitate the company’s ongoing growth,” says Pinecrest Capital Co-founder and Senior Managing Director Barrett Kingsriter, who was joined in the transaction by fellow investment bankers Bobby Renkes and Wes Romanowski.

“Pinecrest’s commitment and experience helped ensure that we were able to accomplish all of our goals,” says Ash Wineinger. “They treated our Company as if it was their own.”

The Wildlife Habitat Council has awarded eight new Conservation Certifications and seven re-certifications for new and existing programs at Cemex USA operations. The 2019 Conservation Certification recipients include team members from two Alabama Ready Mix USA operations: Phenix City, where colleagues reared, tagged and released over 60 Monarch butterflies with Monarch Watch, a citizen-science study to monitor Monarch populations; and, Birmingham, Ala., where staff collaborated with Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve to plant 150 native trees at a local park and a Cemex USA regional office campus.

Elsewhere in the producer’s organization, WHC recognized employees or teams in Camp Verde, Ariz., for work with the Friends of Verde River to remove invasive plant species; Victorville, Calif., for hosting tours and visiting schools to educate hundreds of students each year as part of the Mojave Environmental Educational Consortium; Lyons, Colo., for hosting local school programs that integrate wildlife habitat and ecosystem improvements, and partnering with the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to provide homes for displaced and injured wildlife; Center Hill, Fla., for work with the Sumter School District to provide 2nd-, 4th- and 6th-grade students a year-round, one-of-a-kind opportunity focused on habitat and the environment; Clermont, Fla., for conducting hands-on learning activities about the Lake County habitat; and, Clinchfield, Ga., for monitoring the central Georgia black bear population in partnership with the University of Georgia and Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Fiber cement technology leader James Hardie Building Products Inc. has been nationally recognized for its philanthropic efforts and is World Vision’s 2020 Crystal Vision Award recipient. The producer was honored at a Las Vegas ceremony, held in conjunction with Design & Construction Week and the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show, for helping to rebuild the lives of families in need.

“The heart and constant for most families is their home. We know when disaster strikes, those safe spaces are often the first thing to be compromised. It’s through incredible partners like those we celebrate at the Annual Crystal Vision awards that we’re able to restore that sense of normalcy and truly give meaning to the phrase ‘welcome home’ in our work,” says James Hardie National Director of Corporate Engagement Larry Noble.

The producer has partnered with World Vision for more than a decade to help families in the U.S. refurbish and rebuild in the wake of financial crises and natural disasters. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Through consistent and significant donations to the Storehouse program, James Hardie has donated fiber cement siding and trim products to those in need around the United States. Siding and trim donations in 2019 alone exceeded 250,000 square feet.

“Helping to build stronger homes, neighborhoods and communities is part of our mission,” affirms James Hardie Chief Commercial Officer Sean Gadd. “We align with community partners who help us achieve meaningful impact.”