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Gaining an edge in efficient performance can only occur when plant maintenance is proactive – not reactive. The latter is merely a fix-it-after-it’s-broken mentality. A proactive approach generates an ongoing preventive and predictive maintenance strategy that ensures increased uptime and throughput, maximum equipment wear life, higher quality products, and improved safety.
It was a grueling winter in Nova Scotia in 2014-15. As the late days of April approached, aggregate and road construction crews were finally working with conditions that would allow them to operate. Sure, road conditions were still soggy and weight restrictions remained in affect, but site prep work could finally begin and pits and quarries finally got in a position where stone could be crushed to create the stockpiles needed for customers and projects throughout the province.
Building roads and mining aggregates in the middle of cottage country is not without its advantages. There are pristine lakes to boat, fish and swim on in the summer, and perfect conditions for ice fishing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.
Mission Ridge Aggregates, which produces and supplies sand and gravel to companies in southwestern British Columbia, operates in a tough market.
Family-owned and operated since 1978, Sundre Contracting Co. understands the importance of delivering a quality product. The operation, located in Sundre, Alta., produces more than 30 different product sizes – from 1/16-inch (1.6-mm) fine sand to 12-inch (305-mm) screened rock and everything in between. Whether its customer is an Alberta road builder, concrete plant or any of a number of golf courses in Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan, its products must meet tight specifications or be rejected. Dealing with severe screen media blinding and pegging from clay material and a rainy climate, Sundre needed an advanced solution. After exploring several screen media options, the operation found one that helped eliminate the production-crippling effects of these conditions, ultimately saving them thousands while waiting for Mother Nature to cooperate.
When talking about aggregate, the term “clean” is used to refer to material that is free of dirt, clay or organic material. These days (at least in British Columbia), the definition of clean can be extended to include material that does not generate acid or leach metals when exposed to rainfall.
On the face of it, New Brunswick’s 2015-16 transportation and infrastructure budget, at $409.5 million, is surely a cheery improvement over last year’s $213.2 million budget. But for aggregate producers, there is little in it to crow about, according to Tom McGinn, executive director of New Brunswick Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association (RBHCA).
A new impact crusher is keeping a western Ontario aggregates producer in the black as it processes 1-in.-minus reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) particles from chunks as big as a coffee table, with the help of the right excavator.
Across six weeks spanning from early March to the middle of April 2015, Superior Industries made headlines in the Canadian aggregates industry with the purchase of two Canadian manufacturers.
May 15, 2015 - Cemen Tech announced the hiring of a new President/CEO and a new Director of Sales and Marketing. Connor Deering has been named President/CEO and Mark Rinehart has been named the Director of Sales and Marketing. Both have extensive experience in the construction and manufacturing industries.
May 4, 2015 - Superior Industries, Inc. announced its acquisition of MFE Manufacturing. Family owned and operated since its inception in 1947, MFE designs and builds portable plants for construction, aggregates and material handling industries. The 68-year company is headquartered in Miramichi, New Brunswick.
April 24, 2015 - A well-known water conservation technology has found its way into washing equipment for the sand and gravel industry, and the natural stone and recycling industries in North America, courtesy of Haver & Boecker Canada’s Hydro-Clean mobile washing systems.
October 29, 2015 - A major section of northbound PTH 75 from Ste. Agathe to St. Adolphe has been upgraded, bringing the entire rebuilding of this key highway linking Winnipeg with the U.S. closer to completion.
October 28, 2015 – Alberta’s Infrastructure Minister says that construction of the southwest ring road in Calgary will begin by the end of 2016.
October 26, 2015 - A major investment in Manitoba’s largest western city is underway to build new bridges to replace the aging First Street Bridge in Brandon.
Roadway construction zones are dangerous by their nature. Add in the element of night and suddenly the traditional hazards of roadway work zones are joined with low visibility and a higher rate of impaired or distracted drivers.
October 5, 2015 – More than $69 million in new funding has been announced for highway projects throughout central Ontario.
October 5, 2015 - The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure is releasing its fall tender plan, announcing more than $174 million of highway work for the 2016 construction season.
By 2019, barring the unforeseen, an unbroken ribbon of asphalt will stretch 1,247 kilometres between the western border of Labrador and Quebec, near Labrador City, to the eastern border of Quebec and Labrador at Blanc Sablon, on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
September 21, 2015 – Vancouver’s Port Mann Bridge has officially completed, saving commuters significant time on their journey between Langley and Vancouver.
September 21, 2015 – Surfacing work on Saskatchewan’s Highway 51 is progressing ahead of schedule according to the province’s Ministry of Highways.
September 8, 2015 – The City of Ottawa is about to be bombarded with fall road construction work, as 45 projects are set to begin in the coming weeks.
September 3, 2015 - Construction is underway on a new interchange at the intersection of PTH 59 and PTH 101, which will increase safety for motorists and greatly improve traffic flow.
August 13, 2015 - Ontario is suffering from significant infrastructure problems. To tackle these issues, this year’s budget made an unprecedented investment – a 10-year, $130 billion infrastructure commitment. Of this investment, $2.6 billion is set aside for transit and transportation, critical factors that directly affect the health of Ontario’s economy. Currently, gridlock is costing the economy of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area $6 billion annually, and Ontario has finally decided to solve the problem.
November 24, 2015 - The latest Cat D6N dozer focuses on customer value, delivering greater ease of operation, a 10 to 15 per cent boost in fuel efficiency and up to 10 per cent better productivity compared to the previous model. The D6N is powered by a Cat C7.1 ACERT engine rated at 166 net horsepower (124 kW), and meets US EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards.
November 24, 2015 - Terex Washing Systems has enhanced their product portfolio with the announcement of the Terex AggreStac Conveyor Range.
November 11, 2015 - The new C-1554 cone crusher is the latest addition to the TerexFinlay range of tracked mobile cone crushers. The C-1554 provides an optimum mobile solution for any aggregates producer or contractor looking for a high output capacity machine that provides large reduction ratios and an excellent cubical shape in the surface ore mining and aggregate industries.
November 10, 2015 - Sturtevant, Inc. has introduced the world’s only self-contained, 100% mobile air classifying plant with integral collapsible conveyors, enabling parking to processing in one hour or less.
November 4, 2015 - In an effort to streamline logistical power, efficiency, and flexibility for ready-mix producers, GivenHansco has upgraded essential functionality for its Keystone Accounting suite. New features were designed from the ground up to optimize productivity including:
November 4, 2015 - When designing the new Cat F-Series Wheeled Excavators, Caterpillar solicited customer input for characteristics considered important.
October 27, 2015 - Sepro Mineral Systems Corp. introduced its new Blackhawk 100 Cone Crusher for heavy-duty mining and aggregate applications.
October 26, 2015 - Metso is introducing the new Nordberg NP13 impact crusher, the newest addition to its range of NP Series impact crushers. Designed for increased safety and performance, NP13 is built for secondary and tertiary applications.
October 23, 2015 - Lightship announced the launch of its advanced productivity and safety application for worksites. The application, also called Lightship, provides site management teams with a bird’s-eye view, in real time, of an entire worksite. It connects with mobile devices and worksite sensors to track and communicate with thousands of people, and provides a perfect memory of all worksite events. The results are improved worker response times, enhanced worker coordination and reduced operating costs.
October 23, 2015 – With a growing international presence, McLanahan is now offering the newly developed McLanahan M3H rubber lined slurry pump for the global market.
October 20, 2015 - Deister Machine Company, Inc. highlights the latest addition to its heavy-duty line of screening, scalping, and feeding equipment – the New Deister (EMF-Series) Two-Mass Electromechanical Vibrating Feeder, which is designed to allow greater control over high-capacity feed rates and productivity, while lowering costs per ton in a wide variety of rugged aggregate, mining and mineral applications.
October 15, 2015 - Komatsu America Corp. introduced the new D61-24 crawler dozer, featuring a 6.8 litre, 168-horsepower, SAA4D107E-3, EPA Tier 4 Final emissions certified engine.
It hasn’t been an easy few years for heavy equipment manufacturers in the U.S. Production volumes have decreased thanks to slower construction starts and a declining mining industry.
September 25, 2015 – Yankton, South Dakota played host to KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens’ annual National Dealer Conference, bringing together distributors from Canada and the U.S. to learn about the newest technologies and innovations added to the company’s extensive lineup of aggregate equipment.
As workplace safety issues have grown more complex, joint health and safety committees (JHSC) can be an effective means of controlling hazards. But a JHSC will only be effective if it is given the tools to succeed. Employers should be reviewing the JHSC findings in the same way as they would review profits, quality control or down time.
While most of the aggregates and road construction industry works tirelessly to meet production deadlines, an important trial awaits its final verdict.
“Hop in,” John said.We drove by the scale house to see his baby: a 475,000 ton/year operation that has been supplying aggregate to projects across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for more than three decades.“Thanks for coming up,” he said. “We’re all busy.” John mentions his wife Terri, who runs the administrative work. “We aren’t getting any younger and the business has been growing like wildfire with the expansion of the GTA.”We came to a stop in front of the main entrance to his operation. “Before you tell me how you built this great business I would really like to know what’s keeping you up at night,” I said. I expected him to give me the standard answer that everything was fantastic. Instead, he put his truck in park and began to describe what was often robbing him of sleep. He clearly wanted to talk. “What worries me most is that I have a responsibility to our workers and their families. I am getting tired. I don’t know who is going to take over now that our son, Billy, has moved out West. No buyers come to mind, but I want to get a good price if I do sell. It’s not that we want to close the business tomorrow, but I do want to slow down. It’s hard to relax when you don’t know what’s going to happen next – in your life and business.”That was big, from the heart information. I pulled out my digital recorder and requested permission to capture everything he was going to tell me so I didn’t miss anything.  “Thanks for calling me, John,” I said. “Let’s go through this one step at a time… tell me how all of this got started.” And for most of my business owner clients, that’s usually how the business planning process begins.John needs help, but is too busy to even begin to look for it. He told me both his and the company’s story. He is really a farmer first, loves horses and built a business by working hard and helping people and his community. After almost two hours, and a three-hour drive back to the office, I started to highlight some steps to help him ensure that his years of hard work pay off when he decides to sell or retire – on his terms. These include: Setting up a holding company to minimize tax issues, Beginning to build an investment portfolio to generate cash flow outside the business, Generating cash from inside the business in a consistent and tax-effective ways, Creating a succession plan – even if there are no successors or buyers at the moment, Minimizing risk to him, his family and his business by purchasing critical illness insurance and making sure he was well insured. Get a handle on the tax load“How about first getting a handle on my tax load?” John asked. “I can’t seem to get ahead.”I suggested that a holding company could be set up to protect him from unnecessary tax issues.“It sounds complicated and seems to involve more work,” John said.“It’s true,” I said. “It’s not easy to set up a holding company [holdco]. Creating a holdco can be expensive, as you must provide annual financial statements and corporate tax returns. If your shares are not of significant value, a holding company may create more headaches than peace of mind.”I suggested there were other issues to consider. For example, tax benefits may not exist, or worse, tax problems may arise as a result of setting up a holdco.It is important to remember that any losses realized in a corporation are only available to offset other income earned by the corporation.And, the $750,000 capital gains deduction does not apply to holding companies.A holding company may also trigger an additional level of tax in addition to any personal income tax on distributions from the holding company. I said he would need to consider tax-efficient ways to distribute assets from his holding company to shareholders to avoid a negative tax event, and that can take time and money. “Now, tell me the good news about holdcos,” John said.“For starters, your holdco could help you lower your risk by protecting your business from creditors while letting you enjoy the benefits of the operating company’s goodwill,” I said. When shareholders are faced with a high marginal tax rate, they may defer a portion of tax on dividends from taxable Canadian companies until dividends are paid by the holding company to the shareholders.A holding company may also help ease the transfer of wealth to family and other beneficiaries. For example, John might be able to transfer shares in his operating company to his children through his holding company using an estate freeze. (Estate freezes essentially put a ceiling on a person’s tax liability upon his or her death and transfers any future cash gains within the operating company to his or her beneficiaries.)Control your investmentsJohn acknowledged that his investments were “all over the place” and that different companies were charging him high management fees. “Some of my money is invested in mutual funds with different names, but I really don’t know where the money is. And I have no idea how my investments are doing.”His business’ retained earnings are also in disarray. They aren’t diversified and were limiting him to short-term investments, which were earning him very little after tax.  He liked the idea of a well-diversified investment portfolio where costs are low and closely monitored by a financial advisor.Introduce a succession plan“What about the future of my business?” he asked. “What will I have to show for all the years I’ve put in?” He could begin planning by identifying his priorities and a buyer or successor, and developing a succession plan. “You will need to keep your personal retirement and estate goals in sync with your succession plan to stay on track,” I said.“By the way, if you take on shareholders, you would be amazed how many business owners don’t have a signed shareholders’ agreement. A signed agreement takes the guesswork out of a situation that you wish will never happen. It’s like a roadmap.”Insurance is a valuable asset“I mentioned my health concerns,” John said. “What about insurance?”While it seems fairly practical, it’s not free. Policy costs will likely mirror similar coverage on the personal side but who, how and when it would pay out is a little more complicated due to tax issues.The deductibility of insurance premiums and taxability of benefits is highly dependent on the type of coverage and the type of payout and beneficiary.“Where possible, insure and pay for your personal life policies personally and insure and pay for your key person insurance corporately, and keep it as simple as your business structure allows.” Source: critical illness policy provides John with a lump sum benefit, if he is diagnosed with a critical illness.Source: he plans to gift the ownership of his business when he dies or plans to institute an estate freeze strategy, the proceeds of a life insurance policy can be used to help cover the taxes payable resulting from the years of growth of his business. A life insurance policy can also ensure that each heir receives their fair share of John’s estate and possibly increase the amount of money he leaves behind. After we finished our coffee and our visit for that day came to an end, John thanked me again for meeting with him and wished me a safe drive home. He seemed more relaxed than when I arrived. We agreed to meet again with his wife a few weeks later to make sure I understood exactly what was important to both of them.  While he realized that everything couldn’t be done overnight, he said he finally felt focused and ready to move forward with some careful planning to make the most of his years of hard work.Jim Sanderson is a wealth advisor team with 28 years in the investment services industry. The Jim Sanderson Group at ScotiaMcLeod specializes in creating and distributing wealth for successful individuals and corporations in the aggregate and road building industries across Canada. He helps his clients supported by a team of experts in insurance, merchant banking, trust and estates. Jim can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and his website is located at
Close to 200 female high school students gathered at Conestoga College’s Cambridge campus for the second Jill of all Trades event, providing young women an opportunity to experience the trades.
No matter where I go or what business owner I talk to, the question remains the same: how will I replace my skilled labourers in the next  five to 10 years?
The Alberta Sand and Gravel Association (ASGA) has a mission to represent the interests of Alberta sand and gravel operators on key industry related issues, proposed regulatory changes, and education of aggregate consumers. The Association also advocates for the environmentally responsible and orderly development of this valuable non-renewable natural resource.
This isn’t the first time we needed to look at the industry ramifications of political upheaval, but for Albertans, this might be the most significant time to have this discussion.
June 4, 2015 – Close to 200 female high school students gathered at Conestoga College’s Cambridge campus for the second Jill of all Trades event, providing young women an opportunity to experience the trades.
The 2015 edition of World of Concrete continued to build on the success of previous shows, with the best-recorded attendance in six years.
Equipment and technology manufacturers from across the global rock to road industry converged at the Baltimore Convention Centre for this year’s World of Asphalt/AGG1.

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