A quarry is a type of open-pit mine in which stone, rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, gravel, or slate is excavated from the ground. Those materials are then honed into building materials and delivered to municipalities (for roads and bridges), construction firms or landscaping designers.
With 20 locations – from Ogdensburg to Plattsburgh, Malone, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake — Upstone Materials has a strong presence as an employer and a provider of building materials in the North Country. Part of the Northeast Division of Barrett Industries, a group of infrastructure construction companies, Upstone is a leading provider of high-quality aggregates (gravel, sand, quarry stone), hot-mix asphalt, and ready-mix concrete. In short, Upstone Materials builds the roads we all travel on and the homes we all live in
And that’s just the beginning.
Upstone’s Plattsburgh Quarry, formerly owned by Graymont, was purchased by Barrett Industries in 2016. In December of the follow- ing year, Doug Henry, a civil engineer with nearly two decades of experience, became the area manager.
A native of Booneville, New York, Henry graduated from Clarkson University in 2005, moved to Elmira and began working for Dalrymple Company. “It was a fantastic company,” he said. “I worked for them for 11 years until I accepted a job with Barrett Industries. I spent nearly three years at their Utica site until my wife and I decided to bring our young family back closer to home.”
When asked about his day-to-day work on the job, Henry explained, “I have my hands on every aspect of the business but most importantly, I am part of a team. I love working on a team. It’s very rewarding.”
Happily settled in Plattsburgh, Henry, his wife Nicole, who is a nurse at CVPH, and their three children have experienced an easy and welcoming transition. “We love it here. Since my wife and I grew up in Central New York, we embrace winter and all the seasons and opportunities offered in the Adirondacks and in Plattsburgh. We’ve been welcomed by everyone here.”
Although finding a medium-priced house in the Plattsburgh area was a challenge, the Henrys found a helpful realtor who matched them with the perfect home.
With 100 employees doing various jobs at a variety of sites, management can be a daunting task. “We keep it simple,” explained Henry. “We operate by a simple set of core values. Our number one priority is safety, then there’s honesty and accountability. From my perspective, there are a lot of decisions but I find core values are a great way to go at any problem.”
To this end, each employee is handed a Mission Statement on their first day on the job. This Mission Statement appears throughout the building and is the talisman on the day-to-day operations.
Upstone’s Mission through Teamwork:
- Attracting and developing passionate people
- Delivering the best customer service
- Providing superior quality products and services • Being the best environmental stewards
With a significant number of employees who have been working at Upstone’s sites for many years, some in the double digits, this approach seems to be working. The company is structured by department man- agers (Safety, Operations, Human Resources, Accounting, Sales) who report directly to Henry. “I love leading leaders, and the visibility of leadership is important to us,” he emphasized. “We intend to keep investing in people by continuing training, upgrading our equipment and offering resources for their physical and mental health.”
GOOD JOBS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE
Upstone is especially committed to offering well-paid, meaningful jobs. They currently employ 100 people, and keep 40 employees working year-round. The employees who are laid off during the winter months retain their benefits, positions and seniority while being eligible to collect unemployment insurance. To expand their workforce, Henry and his staff work closely with local high schools, colleges and technical programs to recruit people.
He explained, “This is a career option for those who want to stay local, like to work with their hands, work outside, and want the benefits of being part of a bigger organization. We will give them on-the-job training, good wages and good benefits. We find that people from Northern New York are genuine, honest and hard-working. We want to hire them, and keep them for as long as they want to work for us.”
An immediate need is for people who hold Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) which can be earned through a program at CV-Tec. (The minimum age requirement for the license is 21 years old.)
PARTNERING WITH THE COMMUNITY
Henry and the Upstone staff work closely with government regulators, the Adirondack Park Agency and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to make sure their operations adhere to vital environmental regulations. In addition, their quarries and processing plants are “tucked away” in the landscape. People can live nearby and not know those operations are there.
“The best way to deal with a regulating body,” said Henry, “is to take a proactive approach and go back to our core values. We are proud of our safety record, and our processes with regard to respecting the environment. We have not had a problem in this area, and do not anticipate any major issues.” Preventative maintenance programs, attention to detail and committed employees contribute to the success of Upstone’s partnership with the community.
Henry and the staff at Upstone are proud to be part of the North Country landscape. Their plan is to continue to expand sales to local contractors, refine their operations and develop their employees. In addition they hope to become even more active partners with community projects and volunteer efforts.