Rock to Road magazine celebrates 10 of the aggregates and roadbuilding industry’s young professionals rising up the ranks in their respective positions.
Editor Andrew Snook had the opportunity to sit down and chat with all of the winners about what attracted them to the industry, their favourite projects, career advice for young people entering the industry.
Here is the fifth of 10 that we are featuring online this month.
Land & Environment Manager Vicdom Sand & Gravel, Uxbridge, Ont.
Working at Vicdom Sand & Gravel is a family affair for Victor Giordano. Originally started up by his grandfather in the 1950s under the name, Giordano Sand and Gravel, before becoming VicDom Sand and Gravel in 1976, the company has been part of Victor’s life as long as he can remember.
“I grew up around the business. As soon as I could legally work, I was there,” he says.
Victor worked his way up from cutting the grass into a variety of other roles so he could get as knowledgeable of the family business as possible.
“I started with cutting grass and worked my way up from there to maintenance, compliance, all types of things. Then, all of a sudden, I’m helping out with licensing, new equipment purchases and where we’re setting up new equipment,” he says. “Being in the industry was almost a no-brainer for me, I’ve enjoyed it from a young age.”
One of Victor’s favourite aspects of working in the aggregate sector is witnessing the direct results from his work.
“If I make a change on a property, I can see the results – as opposed to if I was working away on a project and didn’t see the fruits of my labour. If I make a change to a wash plant, the tonnage either goes up or down, or the quality of the product improves, that’s a direct result,” he says.
Starting up Sebright Quarry is Victor’s favourite project he’s worked on to date.
“Turning that over from planning the initial stripping to cutting of the trees, building the entrance, getting our first initial blasts taking place and the crushing of the first blasts, starting that quarry from nothing,” he says. “Now we have our license and our first phase of the project underway. It was one of the first ones I was able to do on my own.”
Alex Caruana, national manager for Canadian aggregates at Polydeck, says that Victor clearly loves what he does and is involved in every aspect of Vicdom’s operations.
“Whether it is looking at the longevity of an operation, moving a dredge, or ensuring lubrication points are tended to on equipment, Victor is there working at every little detail with his crews,” he says. “Clearly enjoying his work, and always sporting a big smile, Victor’s attitude, constant learning and positive, solution-oriented ways are exactly what you’d expect to see in a strong developing leader. Capable of going from permitting to processing, safety to logistics, Victor is a self-starter with a great future in our industry. When I get the call to visit Vicdom’s operations, it is always something I look forward to – working with Victor and his crews, since not only is work done safely and well, but fun is had getting the work done, too. In a nutshell, Victor is accomplished and positive, always looking for and applying a better way.”
The current labour shortage and sterilization of resources in the aggregate sector are the biggest challenges facing the industry, Victor notes. He says close-to-market aggregate deposits being sterilized and having homes built over them is a big challenge.
“They’re either building houses on it, or protecting species on it, and then those resources are gone forever,” he says.
When offering advice to the younger generation thinking about a career in the aggregate sector, Victor says to not stay complacent in your position.
“Try your hand at everything. This industry has so many departments and silos. You can learn huge skill sets from health and safety to land management, purchasing, accounting, maintenance of machinery, dispatch, trucking and sales,” he says. “It’s valuable for your growth and to the company, which ultimately improves your value.”
In the future, one of Victor’s goals is find better solutions for hauling aggregates.
“I’d like to tackle the hurdle of transporting aggregate around the province. Trucking is a huge issue. If I do anything in the aggregate industry, trying to figure out the issues around trucking aggregate and finding out a better way to do it more efficiently for everyone would be it. Then we could go up north and, if its economical, have a high-quality resource brought down to the GTA that would be more sustainable.”
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