Carolina Sunrock’s Excellence Shines with Latest Commendation
BY Sandy Lender
Since 2003, Carolina Sunrock LLC, a family-owned construction and materials supplier and highway contractor, with headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been accumulating Diamond Achievement Commendations for Excellence in Asphalt Plant/Site Operations from the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA).
Carolina Sunrock, a subsidiary of Sunrock Group Holdings, received its most recent commendation for its Butner facility, specifically.
“Earning the Diamond Achievement Commendation enhances both the image of your individual facility and the image of the asphalt pavement industry,” 2017 NAPA Chairman Dan Gallagher said. “It clearly demonstrates a corporate commitment to excellence with a community focus.”
Shine on Environmental Excellence
Sunrock shares its corporate philosophy with a statement on sustainable development practices on its website.
“Sunrock’s Sustainable Development focuses on environmental stewardship, green manufacturing and construction, and the recycling and conservation of aggregate. With these sustainable development strategies, Sunrock concentrates on responsible use and protection of our natural resources and integrates cost effective sustainable practices, such as recycling, waste reduction, and water conservation, into our business.”
Manny Tejano, the director of information technology for Carolina Sunrock, shared how that commitment applies to the whole company: “Sunrock’s brand got its start in the rock quarry business and from that carried stringent MSHA standards for safety to our asphalt, concrete and contracting divisions. We have a manager of environmental compliance, as well as the leadership on site, of our sites who helps make sure we work safely and efficiently.”
As mentioned in its sustainable development statement, Carolina Sunrock has incorporated recycling into its operations. One way the company has made a commitment to recycling is through equipment upgrades.
Carolina Sunrock operates seven asphalt plants and Tim Kopec is the manager of asphalt operations. “We had mostly batch plants five or six years ago,” Kopec said.
He explained that the company replaced two of those with counter flow mix plants. To increase capabilities at a third location, management added an Astec plant rated to produce mixes with up to 40 percent RAP.
“We can increase our RAP use with our continuous drums now,” Kopec said.
Kopec also shared that the Butner facility’s commendation came about from planning for it from the start. “Getting this award starts in the process of planning and building a new plant that will meet the standards for the commendation,” Kopec said.
The Butner location includes a newly rebuilt ALmix plant rated for 250 tons per hour. With help setting up the plant from the ALmix service tech, John Price, who works out of Bradenton, Florida, Kopec said they’ve maximized the allowed RAP percentage there.
“NCDOT gives us our levels,” he explained. “We don’t fractionate our RAP, but we crush at the plant so there’s no oversize going into the mix.”Steve O’Neal, the regional sales manager for the Southeast for ALmix, shared his high opinion of the company.
“The most impressive aspect of Sunrock’s development program is to make sure all of their plants comply with all city, county, state and Federal environmental regulations to insure the least amount of negative comment from the neighborhoods…where their plants are located. It is definitely part of their corporate culture.”
Another aspect of Sunrock’s corporate culture is encouraging new talent to join the industry, and that’s happening alongside their commitment to the community.
Commitment to Community
One of the elements to share with the judging panel when submitting an application for the Diamond Achievement Commendation is a company’s good neighbor practices. For Sunrock, that includes keeping the roads outside of their properties plowed in the winter and swept in the summers.
It includes community involvement such as donating materials to the local high school. And it includes hiring from the communities where the facilities are located, not just to support local economy, but to encourage industry growth.
“Last year, we’re fortunate to have Ronnie Goswick join our team,” Tejano said. “He’s worked in the past as the Franklin County Economic Development Director and he’s currently connecting with local schools to talk about the future opportunities in our line of business, and they’re even asking for help to construct their curriculums to help prepare young students for job placement.”
Kopec said the students in the high schools and community colleges haven’t been informed about the possibilities for a rewarding career in the road-building industry.
“Most students don’t realize the opportunities available outside of 4-year college degree paths,” Kopec said. “It’s got to come from the teachers, guidance counselors, the trade programs, and training starting from high schools. We don’t have a choice as an industry but to go and educate them. We started high school and college outreach partnerships, and it’s been received very well.”
Another way Sunrock is recruiting in its local market is through job fairs. Tejano explained that the company has hosted two job fairs exclusive to Sunrock where every division of the company was represented. The job fairs yielded over 100 prospective employees who came to learn about opportunities at the company. “We can hire for office positions as well,” he said.
Kopec said the people attending the fairs were surprised by the number of job types available at the company, and that’s a message they are now getting out in the community. They’re doing that through advertising on the radio, television and social media, as well as in their local newspaper. Numerous new employees are the result of these efforts.
“We’re focusing on three areas,” Tejano said. Those areas are brand awareness to the communities we serve in, employee engagement, and building a pipeline to future employees.
Carolina Sunrock has been in the construction material business for nearly seven decades and continues to grow in its use of sustainable and neighbor-friendly practices. As the recognition for its commitment to quality, community and environment keeps rolling in, this employer is working toward populating the industry with an educated and excited workforce. The team is working toward a quality product overall.
“We are honored to receive this award from NAPA,” Carolina Sunrock Chairman Bryan Pfohl said. “Our team works extremely hard to exceed the expectations of our customers, be a good neighbor to our community, and ensure our products, equipment and projects are of the highest quality.”
Is Your Site Commendation-Worthy?
Tim Kopec, manager of asphalt operations for Carolina Sunrock, listed some of the traits plants have in common to garner the Diamond Achievement Commendation for Excellence in Asphalt Plant/Site Operations from the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). Among the aspects that make a plant worthy of the commendation, he mentioned paving the areas around the plant and then keeping those areas swept clean. For unpaved areas, he recommended watering them to keep dust down. “We keep a sweeper at each location and a water truck at each location.”
Steve O’Neal of ALmix shared, “These people put extra emphasis on plant locations with paved access, new paint where necessary, and landscaping to make sure they are good neighbors.”Caption for image Durham PlantThe Carolina Sunrock family has removed two of its batch plants in the past five years to make way for continuous mix plants that allow more use of recycled asphalt pavement. All of their drum plants now have a Diamond Achievement Commendation from NAPA.