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The Florida Concrete & Products Association

Safety: Our True First Priority

Safety. What does it mean in the concrete industry? Good driving techniques? Up-to-date technical skills? A safe jobsite? The answer is all of the above. Safety is of utmost importance for those in the concrete industry, and with mechanical and technological advancements appearing every day, this issue has become all the more important. Knowing how to properly operate machinery and perform your job with precision saves time, money and most importantly, lives.

To drive home this idea and inspire workers in the industry to put safety above all else, FC&PA hosts a Safety & Skills Competition every year.

“If you can ensure safety, you can prevent accidents and save lives. This competition represents our dedication to the wellbeing of our members, as well as their dedication to each other. The combination of education and friendly competition serves as a model for the rest of the concrete industry,” said Scott Hossenlopp, Chairman of the FC&PA’s Safety Committee.

On November 12, 2016, people came from all over the state to showcase their abilities in the 16th Annual Safety & Skills Competition. This match up of brawn and expertise was comprised of four, skill-based events: ready-mixed, preventive maintenance, front-end loader and forklift. Men and women from multiple companies competed for trophies, cash prizes, and most importantly, bragging rights.

Each section of the competition utilized benchmarks, as well as written tests to compare excellence between participants. For competition in the ready-mix, forklift and front-end loader events, contenders were measured by a pre-trip inspection, a written test and an obstacle course. Winners in each event are as follows:

Ready-Mixed
1st – Emerald Plummer, CEMEX
1st – Gary Bethea, Maschmeyer
2nd – Marcus Williams, Maschmeyer
3rd – Dave Mangold, CEMEX

Preventive Maintenance
1st – Gary Eubanks & Dave Gazelle, Maschmeyer
2nd – Tony Leek & James Salmon, Maschmeyer
3rd – James Owens & Erwin Rodriguez, Titan

Front-End Loader
1st – Jo Boyett, Argos
2nd – Bobby Wizens, Maschmeyer
3rd – Aaron Cepuder, Argos

Forklift
1st – Rusty Peterson, Maschmeyer
2nd – Keith Wilson, Titan
2nd – Perry Burnett, Maschmeyer
3rd – Steve Oxley, Maschmeyer

Maschmeyer Concrete was the overall winner, taking home the Art Murphy Trophy. CEMEX came in second place, followed by Titan America. Based on the turnout for this event however, it’s safe to say every company is going home a winner.

“We try to make the Safety & Skills Competition as fun as possible to increase participation, but really the whole point is to increase awareness about the importance of safety,” said Kelly Page, President of FC&PA. “It’s encouraging to see such a high level of support from the committee, sponsoring companies and contestants – it’s proof that we’re getting the message across.”

With more than 350 in attendance, this year’s Safety & Skills Competition is a far cry from the small, invitation-only event it was in 1996. Originally held at the Tigertown hanger in Lakeland, the first years of this competition attracted only a handful of companies. This year, on the other hand, was upgraded to a larger, indoor venue at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach and dubbed the “Battle at the Beach.”

“The renovations to our usual venue in Lakeland turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” said , Dan Whitman of Greenway Solutions. “Holding the competition indoors at the Ocean Center made the event feel more prestigious and more intimate at the same time.”

Like years past, the Safety & Skills Competition was an event for the whole family. Activities included face painting, bounce houses, and balloon sculpting. Food and drinks were also provided. Although the atmosphere is fun-filled and casual, participants still take the competition seriously.

“It’s a big deal for the competitors. The competition is tough and requires a lot of skill, so our guys work hard to compete here,” said Bob Tucker, Safety, Health and Environmental Manager at Maschmeyer Concrete. “Not only is it a show of pride in their work, it’s a chance to represent their company and make their family proud.”