Aggregates Industry Faces Challenges

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

"Real Challenges continue to face our industry. I think everybody has concerns about 2009. We see no industry rebound. We see a couple of more years of being in a downturn," Cliff Halliday Jr., treasurer of the Michigan Aggregates Association (MAA) and vice president of Halliday Sand & Gravel, Inc., of Houghton Lake, MI, said to attendees of the 2008 MAA Fall Meeting. The meeting was held at the Crystal Mountain resort in Thompsonville, MI, September 18–19.

"I anticipate some loss in (MAA) membership next year. I think we're going to lose some producing members simply because there is no work. I think we're going to lose some associate members. It looks bad, but you never know when it's going to turn around," Halliday said.

Peter Collins, vice president and director of Environmental Planning at ASTI Environmental, gave his perspective on what meeting environmental requirements is going to look like in the future. "I think we're going to be meeting very different kinds of standards in the future. We're going to be assessed differently. Our neighbors and local politics are going to have a different set of criteria. But, I also think that a lot of this is going to be voluntary," Collins said.

"The measures that I'm talking about are going to come from us as business owners and producers. They won't be standards as we think of them today in the sense that you have a number on a permit, or a deadline for reporting, or a certain amount of reclamation to get done by a certain time. They are going to plug into language that we hear, such as ISO 14000, environmental management systems or EMS, sustainability and stewardship. I also think that these goals are not just going to come from environmental people in our organizations. I think that these voluntary environmental goals are going to be driven by people concerned about the strategic position of their particular business.

"I think it's going to involve people in our businesses that are concerned with community relations, government relations and public relations. I think it's going to be a concern to people on our staffs that are concerned about meeting societal goals.

"My experience in front of local units of government tells me that it's the business that looks like it is an intrinsic part of the community that gets permission for expansion. Part of that is having an excellent environmental track record, but it's much larger than that. That's how people around us are currently thinking about the environment. They are thinking about how we are sustainable and what does this really do for us?"