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Editorial: March-April 2015

The future is bright – Young professionals offer excitement for the industry’s future

April 17, 2015  By  Andrew Macklin

Looking at this year’s nominations for the Rock to Road Top 10 under 40, I couldn’t help but get a little excited.

Looking at this year’s nominations for the Rock to Road Top 10 under 40, I couldn’t help but get a little excited.

Sure, the initial release of our Top 20 under 40 in September of 2013 was thrilling, recognizing the number of talented young workers in Canada’s aggregates and road construction industry. But this time, things felt a little different.

For starters, we weren’t quite sure how strong the presence of workers under 40 was in certain parts of the country. Professionals like you are constantly telling us about the struggles you are having in finding hard-working, fully-trained skilled young workers to add to your workforce. As a result, there was hesitation about whether or not we would see a group of workers nominated who are as incredibly talented as the original 20 we had previously recognized.


We were also concerned about geography. Ontario has often been looked at as the primary hub for the stone, sand and gravel industry; the concrete business is strong in the province, and it is one of the biggest annual spenders on infrastructure. Would we get a full slate of nominations from Ontario and nowhere else?

Then there were the natural concerns over the positions the nominees hold. It’s easy to nominate a management team member who is at the forefront of the industry, frequently attending events, sitting on boards and representing the company at business functions both inside and outside of our industry. But you might overlook the hard-working crew at the base of the operation, the ones who have helped to increase overall production and been leaders in the field. We wanted to make sure that those individuals were not without representation on our list.

Lastly, there was the reminder that this year’s list would be announced at the National Heavy Equipment Show during the National Industry Breakfast. We knew that the audience would be listening to hear about the quality of individuals leading the way for the next generation, and we certainly did not want to disappoint.

Thanks to those who nominated, and those who were nominated, none of our concerns ever translated into reality. 

This year’s list of 10 honourees, which can be found on page 18, represent an excellent cross-section of the industry. The list includes young professionals working in operations, research and design, estimation, health and safety, sales and marketing and more. You could basically build a successful new operation with these 10 in their current roles. 

There is strong regional representation even though not every province is recognized: four are from Western Canada, five are from Central Canada, and one is from Atlantic Canada.

But what is most encouraging, and most exciting in my opinion, is the presence of four women among this year’s Top 10 list. We have known for quite some time that women are slowly entering the aggregates and road construction workforce at a much higher rate, but this provides positive reinforcement that they are also having a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of Canada’s rock to road industry.

There is no question that the next generation of the aggregates and road construction workforce are entering the industry with the desire to make an impact. The opportunity to take the future reigns of the industry, and continue to move it forward, is being met by young individuals like the ones we have honoured this year.

Next year, we look forward to welcoming 10 more individuals. We hope that you will recognize the young professional in your operation who is making an impact on our rock to road industry.

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