Crushing it in Kentucky
Individual and collective contributions to the aggregate industry happen on a daily basis, across many communities, impacting an unknown number of lives for decades to come. The National Sand, Stone and Gravel Association (NSSGA) is committed to recognizing those efforts whenever possible. With that, we are delighted to announce State Association Spotlight, a feature article that covers the extraordinary efforts of our individual state associations.
Crushing it in Kentucky
State Association Spotlight: Kentucky Crush Stone Association
Established in 1944, during the heart of World War II, the Kentucky Crushed Stone Association (KCSA) has grown to more than 100 members, of which one-third of the members are stone, sand or gravel producers with the other two-thirds being associate members who furnish and supply equipment such as trucks and loaders; services such as banking and insurance; and supplies such as fuel, tires and explosives that are used within the industry. There is also an honorary life membership category which recognizes individuals who have been active in supporting the industry during their careers.
Kentucky has 22 active underground stone mines, more than any other state in the nation. In 2014, Kentucky hosted the National Metal/ Non-Metal Mine Rescue Contest ? the first time the event was held east of the Mississippi.
Having such a successful history is not too surprising given the KCSA?s contributions to the state of Kentucky. This past May, the KCSA announced that producers within their association will donate approximately 5,000 tons of aggregates to Kentucky?s Habitat for Humanity, which will assist the organization in providing safe, decent and affordable homes to Kentucky citizens in need. This donation has a monetary value of approximately $70,000.
As a matter of fact, since 2007 KCSA has donated more than 57,000 tons of stone (valued at $525,000) for the building of Habitat homes throughout Kentucky.
"This has been an incredible partnership for our Habitat affiliates. We are so appreciative of the continued support of KCSA, year after year, which has enabled our affiliates to increase their capacity by serving more families in need, even in these most recent hard economic times,? says Mary Shearer, executive director of Kentucky Habitat For Humanity state support organization.
KCSA also collaborates with the Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky and the Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors to form the Kentucky Highway Industries Association. In addition to the sharing of office space, which is a former train depot in Frankfort, KY, the Kentucky Highways Industries Association distributes annual college scholarships to students of eligible employees. This year?s allocation totals $60,500.
"We?re really proud of our scholarship program,? said Ron Gray, KCSA?s executive director. "Since 1998 we have awarded $616,000 to some very deserving students.?
KCSA regularly offers a teachers workshop during the summer. Primary and secondary teachers from around the area are invited to participate in a two-day event where underground quarry tours are given and teachers gain with a better understanding of the industry and tools for educating their students about the ways in which stone and gravel contribute to their communities.
From a state perspective, Kentucky faces similar issues as other states such as regulatory compliance, environmental issues and communications with the surrounding community.
"Some of these regulatory folks come from the coal industry and have no practical experience with aggregates,? says Gray. "It becomes incumbent on us to educate them about the differences and it can certainly be a challenge. NSSGA has been a great partner in helping us address these challenges.?
Other concerns revolve around growth. "As some of these communities continue to expand and have an increasing demand for housing and green space, we do see encroachment,? said Gray. "However by staying engaged and being good neighbors, we can stay ahead of those issues.?
Active with social media, and with a goal to become the most active aggregate association in the country, KCSA has a pronounced presence on Linked-In, Facebook and a steady flow of relevant public policy and industry news via their Twitter feed: @KYCrushedStone. Yes, they are worth the follow.