2018 Business Day at the Capitol Helps Support the Concrete Pipe Industry

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Pipe & Precast

2018 Business Day at the Capitol Helps Support the Concrete Pipe Industry

Every year the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce hosts the Business Day at the Capitol, which provides local companies the opportunity to meet with their legislators and discuss issues facing their industry. On April 18, 2018 more than 800 business leaders gathered in Saint Paul, MN for a day of education and networking.

County Materials Corporation was represented by Carlos Villarreal, Location Manager for the Roberts, Wis. precast and prestress manufacturing facility. Villarreal met with several state representatives and a state senator and used this time to discuss the significant lifecycle and installation differences between plastic pipe and concrete pipe, and how these differences may impact a community’s infrastructure and storm water management systems. Currently, the concrete pipe industry is educating engineers and local decision makers about the efforts of plastic pipe producers at the national level to create “open competition” laws that would require engineers to include plastic pipe in every storm water project bidding process. Villarreal also explained how concrete pipe manufacturing contributes to many local jobs and businesses in the construction industry.

“To my surprise, some legislators were already fully aware and informed that plastic pipe and concrete pipe are not equal, and that installation is completely different,” stated Villarreal. “Some other legislators were not aware of these issues, which is why it is important to continue promoting the industry. It is in the best interest of the state and local communities to support the concrete pipe industry.”

County Materials frequently hosts plant tours for industry leaders and decision makers to demonstrate the concrete pipe manufacturing process and the strength testing that takes place before pipe leaves a facility.


Is the Engineer's Right to Choose in Danger?

Is the Engineer's Right to Choose in Danger?

The responsibility for maintaining the integrity of our communities’ infrastructure and the long-term fiscal well-being of our public-sector should rest in the hands of design engineers, not local politicians or procurement officials. As a member of the American Concrete Pipe Association, County Materials joins with other concrete pipe manufacturers who are challenging current legislation that may negatively impact the ability of qualified design engineers to choose the right storm water pipe based on which materials comply with required specifications. Learn more by reading the article below, authored by Branimir Kovac, Vice President at Thompson Pipe Group.

Is the Engineer's Right to Choose in Danger?

The plastic pipe industry has been engaging in a campaign aimed specifically at promoting so-called “open competition” in the process for procurement of water pipelines. For example, the PVC Pipe Association has lobbied the federal government to include so-called “open competition” language in any upcoming infrastructure legislation. A letter was sent to this effect to every member of Congress last year. The reasoning goes that such a move improves value for money, reduces the “monopoly” of traditional materials, etc. The claim is made that decision-makers try to preserve the status quo because they’re wary of change. The cure, this line of reasoning continues, is to throw open the bidding to other materials — in this case, plastic pipe. Claims have even been made that some decision-makers may be guilty of cronyism, simply including their friends in the bidding process to the exclusion of others.

A Trojan horse

So, what’s wrong with open competition? Are engineers conspiring to fool the American taxpayer by putting their collective thumbs on the scale and shut the plastic pipe industry out of the bidding equation? In fact, there are no “closed competition” laws. Materials used in infrastructure projects, like all products purchased by the public sector, are in almost all cases chosen in an open bidding process. However, the products that are included in the bid must comply with required specifications in order to be considered. These specifications, in the case of water pipelines, are defined by qualified engineers.

Plastic is much cheaper than precast concrete, but, of course, you wouldn’t want a highway overpass to be made of plastic. Standards and specifications protect those of us who will use the infrastructure as well as the dollars invested by taxpayers. The effort to convince lawmakers of the benefits of “open competition” is, in my view, a Trojan horse. The goal is to have plastic pipe included in every pipe bidding process, including drainage pipe, sewage pipe and other applications. Since purchasing officers or political entities may be responsible for evaluating all bids, plastic pipe has a reasonably good chance of winning a specific bid, as plastic pipe is often cheaper than the other options because overall life-cycle costs and future liabilities are not factored into the bid.

Where does the buck stop?

When things go wrong, the design engineer may be partly held responsible — even judged legally liable — for failures that result from bad material choices. And despite the claims of the plastic proponents, things can sometimes go badly wrong. I live in California in an area that was seriously damaged in last year’s wildfires. I remember reading reports from our fire departments of instances where vital water pressure was lost because of melted plastic water lines. Also, damage to plastic drainage pipes increased the risk of delaying first responder operations and public evacuation routes, as well as the likelihood of mudslides once the fires had abated and the rainy season began.

Local authorities — and the federal government — are subjected to regular procurement oversight, which is specifically designed to expose cronyism. The “open competition” legislation that lobbyists are pressing for, both at the federal and the state levels, is simply trying to address a problem that doesn’t exist. Instead, the goal of the lobbyists is to further the interests of the companies they represent: the manufacturers of PVC and HDPE/PP pipe.

Full disclosure

I’m an engineer and manager working for a company that manufactures pipe of many sorts: steel, concrete, reinforced polymer and fiberglass reinforced pipe. For many years, I’ve worked with pipe specifications and assisted local utilities and others in providing the right pipe for the right application, based on the appropriate engineering specification. I have no real problem with plastic pipe as such. I believe that there are applications where plastic pipe is probably the best option. However, I firmly believe that it’s the responsibility of the design engineer to choose the right pipe based on their own professional opinion, not the job of local politicians or procurement officials.

Congress has previously included a provision requiring “open competition” for culvert pipe in the 2005 surface transportation reauthorization, SAFETEAU-LU. This provision caused so much confusion that Congress reversed its decision in the next reauthorization bill, MAP-21. The 2012 MAP-21 law ensures that state engineers have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE the type of pipe material to be used for federally-funded culverts within their borders.

The opponents of “open competition” often cite life-cycle cost as an important consideration when choosing pipe. To my way of thinking, there’s nothing wrong with this. However, it’s important to bear in mind that plastic pipe, because it’s not a load-bearing structure, will incur additional installation cost and maintenance costs that far exceed those of rigid pipe materials that are structures in their own right. When these additional costs are included in the equation, the apparent procurement benefit of lower initial costs becomes less attractive. There are cases here in the U.S. of rigid concrete pipe systems that are more than 100 years old and still in service.

I firmly believe that design engineers must be allowed to exercise the expertise and experience they have so painstakingly acquired and serve their communities in the way they know best, by taking full responsibility for pipe material selection. By allowing political bias and commercial considerations to affect engineering decisions, we risk allowing high-priced lobbyists and other interests to endanger the integrity of our infrastructure and the long-term fiscal well-being of our public sector.

In this matter of pipeline material selection, this “open competition,” while sounding like an improvement, is in fact a chimera. Are we opening Pandora’s Box?

---Article by Branimir Kovac, Vice President, Thompson Pipe Group


County Materials Welcomes US Congressman for Plant Tour and Industry Insight

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Pipe & Precast

County Materials Welcomes US Congressman for Plant Tour and Industry Insight

County Materials Corporation hosted US Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA, 2nd District) along with multiple industry leaders for a tour at the company’s Iowa City, IA pipe and precast manufacturing facility. Other attendees included Materials Engineer and Legislative Liaison from the Iowa Department of Transportation, Concrete Pipe Association of Iowa producer members, the ACPA Regional Engineer and the NUCA of Iowa Executive Director.

The tour was part of the Concrete Pipe Association of Iowa’s continued efforts to educate public leaders on the dangers of “open competition” legislation that would remove an engineer’s discretion and experience when selecting materials. In a 2017 letter to congress, the American Concrete Pipe Association stated their concern over materials preference legislation that, “under the guise of promoting ‘open competition’—seeks to legislate technical decisions related to pipes and other materials that should be made by licensed engineers and local communities.”

During the tour, County Materials provided a safety presentation and overview of the importance of concrete pipe and precast structures in building long-lasting and durable infrastructure. County Materials then demonstrated manufacturing of reinforced concrete pipe and a variety of precast structures produced by the Iowa City facility. County Materials is a leading manufacturer of concrete pipe in Iowa. The company has received recognition on several occasions for community involvement, most recently with a Gazette 2017 Business Excellence Award for the company’s efforts in emergency flood prevention in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Concrete pipe has a reputation as an inherently strong material for storm water management. Unlike plastic pipe, precast concrete pipe is a rigid construction material that is tested to withstand extremes. The Army Corps of Engineers suggests a design life of 70-100 years for concrete pipe, which is twice as long as other materials. The concrete pipe industry strongly advocates to state and national officials about the strength and longevity of reinforced concrete structures and about the important role they play in water management in American communities. County Materials further supports this industry-wide effort by frequently hosting tours for construction professionals and public leaders, as well as welcoming student tours to learn more about careers in manufacturing and construction industry.


County Materials Announced as a Supplier for Foxconn Technology Group

Categories // In The News, Pipe & Precast

County Materials Announced as a Supplier for Foxconn Technology Group

County Materials Corporation is one of 28 Wisconsin-based companies recently named as a supplier for Foxconn Technology Group’s new 22-million-square-foot manufacturing facility planned for construction in Mount Pleasant, Wis.

County Materials pipe facilities in Wisconsin will manufacture and deliver concrete pipe and precast structures used to build storm water management systems on the project’s 787 acres of land. Hoffman Construction Co., of Black River Falls, has begun bringing in earth-moving equipment to prepare for excavation work and installation of the pipe and precast structures. A ceremonial ground breaking is expected within a few months.

Concrete pipe is a preferred industry choice for storm water management because of its exceptional durability, long lifespan, and high performance. County Materials’ pipe and precast components will be a fundamental part of Foxconn’s framework for utilities and infrastructure.

“We take pride in being a Wisconsin based supplier and family owned company specified for this historic project,” says County Materials president, Tim Sonnentag. “Our commitment to continuous improvement, technological advancements and trusted responsiveness has led to County Materials playing a pivotal role in the growth and development of our nation’s infrastructure.”

County Materials has its headquarters in Marathon, Wis., and employs a team of nearly 1,500 people in more than 40 locations and six states. Its products are utilized in infrastructure, transportation construction, commercial, agricultural, municipal and residential building and landscaping projects of all sizes. In addition to concrete pipe and precast products, other regional product divisions include ready mix and aggregates, hollowcore, prestress bridge girders, and numerous masonry and landscape lines.


County Materials Fosters Student Mentoring and Career Opportunities

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Pipe & Precast

County Materials Fosters Student Mentoring and Career Opportunities

County Materials Corporation is fostering connections for career opportunities in local communities where the company has locations, most recently by hosting a plant tour for high school students at its Maxwell, IN pipe and precast manufacturing facility.

On April 6th, 2018 County Materials welcomed 23 juniors and seniors from Greenfield Central High School to their Maxwell facility for a tour as part of the school’s weekly soft skills lessons. “Many of our students plan to enter the workforce directly after high school,” said Tammi Broadus, a teacher who attended the tour with her students. “Our soft skills lessons include resume writing, managing finances, the cost of apartments and more. The tour at County Materials provided students insight on the operations and necessary skills for employment in the manufacturing industry.”

The tour proved beneficial for one student who applied, was offered a position, and started working at County Materials only a few weeks later.

In addition to educating students on jobs in manufacturing and construction, County Materials values and supports student mentoring opportunities in local communities. As a result, the company initiated collaboration with the Greenfield Central School District in January 2018 when the company’s philanthropic arm, the Sonnentag Foundation, awarded the Greenfield Central School Foundation (GCSF) a $700 grant to purchase equipment and supplies for their Project ARROW mentoring program. Project ARROW matches junior high-level students identified as being likely to not graduate from high school without intervention with high school students who serve as mentors. In addition, adult community members volunteer to supervise goal setting, skill-building and group activities.

The Sonnentag Foundation grant supported Project Arrow’s spring 2018 programs and activities. “I had nothing but great feedback from the students,” said Linda Yates, Director of the Cougar Online Academy at GCHS. “This mentoring experience helps the students grow in their leadership skills and is such a rewarding opportunity for them. The new equipment made possible through the grant greatly enhances the program.”


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County ‘Kids to Careers Program’ Visits County Materials

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Pipe & Precast

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County ‘Kids to Careers Program’ Visits County Materials

Kids and their mentors from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County received valuable education during a tour at County Materials Corporation’s pipe manufacturing facility in Madison Wis. County Materials welcomed the kids and their mentors as part of the Big Brothers Big Sister’s Kids to Careers program.

The Kids to Careers program is designed to help kids become career-ready by learning valuable business skills, while also giving back to the community. During the program, kids and their mentors visit local businesses where the host company provides an overview of the jobs and skills needed in that workplace.

At County Materials, kids learned about the manufacturing process of reinforced concrete pipe and the value of working in manufacturing. They also learned about the important role concrete pipe has in infrastructure and keeping their community a clean and healthy place to live. One of the mentors left the tour impressed with what he saw and thought it was an eye-opening tour. “The tour at County Materials was a great opportunity, learning more about the many career options out there was an invaluable experience for the kids.”

Whether it’s going to baseball games or visiting job sites, Big Brother Big Sisters strives to pair children and adults together to create positive life-long effects on the lives of young people. County Materials is a continued supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters where the company has locations. Last year County Materials donated to 14 separate chapters across Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois, having a direct impact on creating more than 5,000 matches between kids and mentors. Since 2007, County Materials has raised $927,850 through its annual charity golf outing, with all funds raised going to deserving charitable programs. County Materials frequently holds plant tours for industry professionals and student groups and was happy to be part of this educational experience for Big Brothers Big Sisters.


Concrete Veneers Offer Nearly 100% Return on Investment

Categories // Concrete Perspectives, Newsletters, Masonry Products

Concrete Veneers Offer Nearly 100% Return on Investment

Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Study found that manufactured stone veneers offer a 97.1% return on value to homes, with 44 of the 100 areas studied, having a 100% return on investment. This positions manufactured concrete stone veneers, such as County Materials’ Reflection Stone and County Stone series, as the second most valuable product in the study. Manufactured stone veneers have consistently ranked at the top of Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value study over the years, demonstrating they continue to be a worthwhile investment. 

Manufactured concrete stone veneers replicate the look of natural stone, but at an affordable cost and are more readily available. Many home and business owners are turning to concrete veneers such because they are more affordable than natural stone products, yet provide the impressive durability and ready availability expected with a concrete veneer product. Concrete veneers manufactured by County Materials meet industry standards for compressive strength, water absorption resistance, and fire ratings.

Reflection Stone and County Stone products are also easier to install than natural stone products, with masons reporting four to five times faster installation time. Unlike natural stone, County Materials’ veneers are manufactured with modular, uniform sizes, and require no splitting or sorting on site. Instead, units are packaged with multiples sizes per pallet layer, allowing installers to pull units directly from several pallets to install in a random pattern. This means remodeling or new construction projects are completed faster, are less expensive for the owner, and the mason can move to new jobs quicker.

To learn more about County Materials’ concrete veneers and to request a sample, visit our respective product pages: Reflection Stone Masonry Units, County Stone Masonry Units.


Explore the Many Career Options at County Materials

Explore the Many Career Options at County Materials

Finding a career that is worthwhile and fulfilling is not an easy undertaking. At County Materials, team members not only have jobs that provide a good life for them and their families, but also have purpose. Once products leave one of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, they go to work on bridges, underground sewer systems, farms, businesses, schools, homes, and even patios. Our products are used to build the communities where Americans live, work and play.

County Materials offers many diverse career pathways, including positions as professional drivers, equipment operators, mechanics, sales representatives, engineers, management and more. “Since my first day at County Materials, I’ve recognized the company’s commitment to its team members’ professional growth and development as well as industry advancement and product offerings,” said Jennifer Schaff, Technical Resource Engineer for County Materials.

Our team members are continually able to enhance their skills and grow in their careers. We support our team members in their efforts for professional growth and development through training and educational classes both within our organization and through outside industry resources. “In my own role, I’ve been involved in many rewarding infrastructure projects and have benefited from industry training. There are many exceptional opportunities for people at County Materials,” said Schaff.

To find a career that fits you, visit our employment page at:


Roberts Facility Holds Safety Stand Down Event

Roberts Facility Holds Safety Stand Down Event

County Materials emphasizes safety through the GUARD for LIFE principles. GUARD for LIFE is a way of thinking, identifying hazards, and to incorporated safety in our lives at work and home.

Recently, County Materials’ Roberts, WI location help their annual Safety Stand Down event designed to provide an overall safety and quality refresher for all pipe and plant laborers. The event included, a review of company policy, a company overview of commitments, safety refreshers, and a quality control refresher. Safety topics covered included, who is responsible for safety, how to manage safety, lock out tag out, safety communication and several safety scenarios.

“We want to ensure that all team members are on the same page and understanding the safety expectations of the company,” said Location Manager Carlos Villarreal. “I think this event is beneficial since it gives our team members an opportunity to have an open discussion about safety and quality with our team members, and our team members feel more valued we hear their suggestions. Safety is a key goal at our plant and throughout the entire company. Our GUARD for LIFE principles play an important role in keeping team members safe and the company successful.”


County Materials Recognizes Employee Leaders

County Materials Recognizes Employee Leaders

County Materials is a third-generation, family-owned business that has built a culture of success through a strong work ethic, determination, and strategic decision making. By manufacturing concrete products for heavy infrastructure and transportation projects, to commercial, agricultural, municipal and residential construction, our company is shaping growing communities throughout the United States. We know that success is more than just adding locations and making and selling more products. We understand that County Materials, and our team members can thrive if we create and sustain a positive company culture that mirrors our values.

As part of our culture of success, County Materials developed the Employee Leadership Award program in 2012 to recognize individuals who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and leadership in our company. Team members are nominated by their peers because of their exemplary achievements and efforts in one or more of our company’s five Leadership Commitments: Teamwork, Motivation, Leadership, Accountability and Integrity.

In 2017 we recognized several deserving team members who received Employee Leadership Awards. County Materials extends our warmest congratulations to each Leadership Award winner for receiving this prestigious and deserving award, and every person who was nominated.

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Curtis Anselment (Qtr. 1)
Dispatcher 1
Salem, IL

"I can't say enough about the work Curt does. His personality makes him easy to work with and he just draws people in."
–John Clark, Operations Manager

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Raul Rios (Qtr. 1)
Plant Foreman 1
Iowa City, IA

"Raul is a team player and helps those around him. I can always county on him to focus on the greater good of his team."
–Bryan Rempt, Location Manager

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Teresa Zirberl (Qtr. 1)
Sales Administrator 3
Waukesha, WI

"Teresa is always willing to accept new challenges and lead by example. I am thankful to have someone I can always count on as a member of my team."
–Carl Swenson, Operations Manager

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Victor Ortiz (Qtr. 1)
Plant Foreman 1
Maxwell, IN

"There is a great deal of respect for Victor throughout the plant, and he has earned it."
–JT Sonnentag, Location Manager

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Ryan Stepan (Qtr. 2)
Product Designer 1
Roberts, WI

"Ryan is a very self-motivated individual, he requires little direction and is a natural leader."
–Matt Fall, Sales Manager

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Robert Cline (Qtr. 3)
Dump Driver
Tomahawk, WI

"Bob alway takes the initiative when he notices something must be done. If there is a need, he is not afraid to ask if he can help."
–Mike Kwarciany

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Rogelio Rivera (Qtr. 3)
Machine Operator
Astatula, FL

"Rogelio is always proactive, he is knowledgable with preventative maintenance and fixing the problem."
–Rick Southerland, Plant Foreman

Screen Shot 2018 04 02 at 10.50.04 AM Wayne Flick
Quality Control Technician
Roberts, WI

"I know I can always count on Wayne to make sure production is going well and that our plant succeeds."
–Carlos Villarreal, Location Manager


County Materials Donates to Pulaski School District Sporting Complex

Categories // Community & Education

County Materials Donates to Pulaski School District Sporting Complex

County Materials Corporation has donated concrete masonry units towards the Pulaski Community School District’s Red Raider Field of Dreams baseball and softball complex, which is Phase II of the overall Field of Dreams project. The Field of Dreams is a venture to completely overhaul the 40-year-old athletic facilities used by the Community School District and provide access to new quality athletic facilities.

“We are grateful for the generous support from County Materials for Phase II of the Field of Dreams project, said PHS athletic director and Field of Dreams Steering Committee member Janel Batten.  “This donation helps push us closer to our goal,” she added.

The project’s goal is to increase field availability for the many community teams and to improve safety for the players. Quality athletic facilities is an essential part of the experience for student athletes, which is also a determining factor for many new families looking for a community to call home. The school district also hopes to host special Olympic programs at their new state-of-the-art facilities.

The $2.2 million fundraising goal for Phase I of the project was met in 2016 with fundraising for Phase II beginning later that year. Phase I of the project includes a football and soccer field with a synthetic surface, new track and field areas, a plaza, band bleachers, a new press box, new viewing bleachers and restrooms at their Saputo Stadium. Phase II will include two baseball fields, two softball fields, three new tennis courts, and multiple practice fields. The Pulaski School District plans to complete Phase II by September 2018.

County Materials is proud to partner on the project because of the company’s commitment to support the communities where it has locations.


County Materials Congratulates 2018 Ready-Mix Design Award Recipients

Categories // Awards and Recognition

County Materials Congratulates 2018 Ready-Mix Design Award Recipients

County Materials is pleased to congratulate the winners of the Wisconsin Ready-Mix Association’s 36th Annual Concrete Design Awards. The Concrete Design Awards are part of a prestigious program showcasing best uses of ready-mixed concrete in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A panel of construction professionals selected entries based on use of ready-mix, engineering design skill, unique design demands, aesthetics, construction techniques and challenges, and integration to the site. Contractors for the award-winning projects were honored at the WRMCA Concrete Design Award Ceremony on Friday, March 16th, at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

County Materials supplied ready-mix in five of the award-winning projects. The following projects received recognition and were supplied by County Materials:

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Lewis Construction of Schofield, Wis., was recognized in the North Central Region category for their workon the parking lot at the new Hilton Garden Inn, in Wausau, Wis. Ready-mix from County Materials was selected for this project for its strength, ease of maintenance, lower lifecycle cost, and light reflectivity. Ready-mix covers approximately 60,000 sq. ft. of the parking lot and was also used to create curbs and decorative planting beds.

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Alchemy Concrete of Nelsonville, Wis., was awarded in the Decorative Residential Category for their impressive work on a residential patio and pool area. The homeowners of this project chose stamped and colored ready-mix for their backyard patio after witnessing the impressive performance and look of their radiant heated driveway, which was also created with ready-mix. Alchemy Concrete was awarded for their skill in constructing the project’s many different features and overall aesthetic look of the finished project.

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Lewis Construction of Schofield, Wis., was also recognized for their work on the Investors Community Bank parking lot, located in Stevens Point, Wis. This project utilized 2,550 yards of concrete for its 300-foot long driveway and parking lot. The project was recognized for its many aesthetic features, such as planting squares, that help integrate the project to its surrounding natural area.

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RMJ Construction LLC of Wausau, Wis., received a Special Merit Award in the Decorative Commercial category, for their work on Sconni’s Alehouse and Eatery of Scofield, Wis. RMJ Construction was awarded for their excellent work on using ready-mix to match the rustic feel of the restaurant. The project feature’s integrally colored and stamped concrete that mirrors the look of wood plank. The contractor went a step further by staining the cured concrete for additional color blends, which even further transformed the ready-mix into realistic looking wooden planks.

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Boldt of Appleton, Wis, received an award in the Municipal Infrastructure category for their work on the Grandfather Falls Dam located in Tomahawk, Wis. Ready-mix was used to create a headwall and three massive footings that hold new penstocks in place. The project was awarded for its impressive quantity of ready-mix, and the contractor’s and supplier’s strict adherence to the required mix-design.

County Materials extends our regards to all the winners and participants in this year’s concrete design awards.


County Materials Supports Construction Industry Training with Concrete Pipe Donation

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Pipe & Precast

County Materials Supports Construction Industry Training with Concrete Pipe Donation

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Watch the concrete pipe in action on our YouTube Page.

Hundreds of operating engineers and construction professionals are receiving hands-on training, thanks to arecent donation of pipe and precast structures from County Materials Corporation. Using these concrete products, trainees at the Wisconsin Operating Engineers Local 139, in Coloma Wis., are better prepared to work safely and efficiently through real-world training exercises.

The Local 139 Operating Engineers apprenticeship program is one of the largest of its kind in North America, training more than 200 workers per day to operate heavy machinery. The organization’s mission is to train workers across the state to create safer job site conditions and reduce injuries. Their Joseph J. Goetz training site in Coloma, Wis. gives workers access to nearly 400 acres to hone their skills.

In February 2018, County Materials delivered 48 reinforced concrete pipes, two manhole bases, two manhole risers and two manhole cones. The donated precast structures are primarily used in the organization’s Advanced Sewer and Excavation Courses, where trainees work to excavate, install, and remove the structures in exercises modeled after real construction projects.

“By having materials here, we can create real-life situations that the members will be actually doing in the field. It’s instrumental to a trainee’s success in finding a job, performing their job well, and maintaining safety,” said Ken Miller, an instructor for the Local 139. “We can’t say thank you enough for these donations and County Materials’ commitment to the industry.”


Master Precaster Certification Earned by Two County Materials Employees

Categories // In The News, Community & Education, Pipe & Precast

Master Precaster Certification Earned by Two County Materials Employees

Matt Bever, Operations Manager at County Materials’ Rib Falls, Wis. pipe plant and John T. Sonnentag, Plant Supervisor at County Materials’ pipe plant in Maxwell, Ind., have earned the industry’s prestigious Master Precaster designation. They received their awards at the National Precast Concrete Association’s Precast Show 2018 on February 22nd, in Denver, Col.

The Master Precaster certificate program is comprised of precast and prestress-specific training with education courses on production, safety, technology, quality control and leadership. The program was developed in conjunction with industry experts, producers, Departments of Transportation and academia. Industry professionals who attend the course gain a comprehensive knowledge of the entire production process and the fundamentals necessary to succeed in the industry.

“Being recognized as a Master Precaster is a major accomplishment, and one that requires a great deal of commitment,” Said Ty Gable, president of the NPCA. “Although the path is arduous, nothing is more important than ensuring that precast quality and production employees are equipped with the right tools, resources and knowledge to be successful in the workforce. We are very proud of the Master Precaster class of 2018.”

To become a Master Precaster, students must complete six NPCA Precast University Courses totaling 89 hours that consist of six topics spread across three Production and Quality school levels. Notable topics include batching and mixing for precast concrete, water-cement ratios, forklift operations, precast maturity methods, reading and understanding blueprints, basics of design theory for concrete elements, and improving employee performance.

“The core curriculum of Precast University is aligned with the values of County Materials, which helped reinforce our own commitments to quality,” said Bever. “In addition, the courses addressed and helped prepare us for the many situations precast professionals can face on a daily basis. It was not only an honor for me to be involved, but great to see County Materials investing in its employees.”

Bever and Sonnentag are the first County Materials’ employee to complete the program. They were joined by 32 other Master Precaster graduates from across the nation in this year’s class. The certification was first made available in 2012 and now has 105 active Master Precasters.


County Materials Recognized for Three 2018 Excellence in Hardscape Awards

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Awards and Recognition

County Materials Recognized for Three 2018 Excellence in Hardscape Awards

County Materials Corporation is proud to announce three hardscape projects were recognized at the 2018 Excellence in Hardscape Awards gala hosted at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wis., on February 21, 2018. The Wisconsin Masonry Alliance’s award program recognizes and creates awareness about hardscape materials and showcases landscape professionals who creatively implement hardscaping in their projects.

A panel of industry judges selected projects based on their overall excellence of design, creativity, functionality, selection and quality of materials, installation techniques craftsmanship and overall appearance. The innovation and quality of hardscape products manufactured by County Materials stood out from the crowd and received three of the prestigious awards.

In the Best Structural Retaining Wall Commercial Application over 2,500 Sq. ft. category, Silver went to Ascension Medical Group in Wausau, Wis. This project featured several massive retaining walls built with Rib Rock™ Landscape Block, manufactured by County Materials. The large size of Rib Rock units was vital in addressing the site’s aggressive slopes and helped accelerate construction time. This impressive wall project was installed by Big Bull Retaining Wall Systems, LLC, Wausau, Wis.

In the Best Permeable Paver Commercial Application, a Silver award went to Community First Credit Union for their parking lot constructed with Harmony Permeable Pavers™ manufactured by County Materials. Harmony Permeable Pavers provided an appealing looking parking lot that also offers effective storm water management on site. The 31,000 sq. ft. parking lot was mechanically laid by Aqua Paving of Yorkville Illinois.

In the Best Driveway category, the Fairview Road Residence received a Bronze award. The expansive drive port and driveway were created with County Materials’ Grand Milestone Pavers™ and Elements Paving Stones™. Concrete pavers were selected for this project as a long-lasting replacement to the heavily cracked asphalt previously onsite and to match the classic aesthetics of the home. This elegant application of pavers was installed by EMC2 Landscaping LLC of Hebron Ill.

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