News

Feb14

County Materials Congratulates Ready-Mix Design Award Winners

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Awards and Recognition, Concrete, Ready-Mix and Aggregates

County Materials Congratulates Ready-Mix Design Award Winners

County Materials Corporation is pleased to congratulate the winners of the Wisconsin Ready Mix Concrete Association’s 35th Annual Concrete Design Awards. The awards recognize exceptional commercial and residential ready-mix concrete construction projects in the State of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

A panel of Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula construction professionals judged entries for innovative use of concrete, engineering design skill, construction technique, integration of site and materials and aesthetics. Winners were announced and honored at the WRMCA Concrete Design Award Ceremony on Thursday, January 12, 2017, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

The following projects received the prestigious award and utilized County Materials’ ready-mix:

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Thiex Construction LLC of Brinamwood, WI was recognized in the Agriculture category for the Matsche Farms expansion in Birnamwood, WI. The expansion included a 27 million gallon manure pit, two free stall barns, a feed slab and a state of the art milking parlor. The project utilized more than 14,000 cubic yards of ready mix and helped the Matche Farm get closer to their family’s goal of adding 5,000 cows.

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Lewis Construction of Schofield, WI and Miron Construction of Neenah, WI were recognized in the Decorative Commercial category in the North Central Region, for their work on the new Skyward facility in Stevens Point, WI. Ready-mix concrete was used in five unique applications for this building – a partial basement and parking garage; floor and columns; a custom designed retaining wall leading to the parking garage; an employee patio; and entryway with a heated slab. The new facility provides space for an additional 500 employees Skyward is expecting
to hire through 2021.

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S.D. Ellenbecker Inc. of Athens, WI was recognized in the Industrial category for the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Knowlton, WI. The ready mix was utilized to build the facility’s walls, caissons, floor and storage tanks. The massive storage tanks were constructed with 2 feet 4-inch concrete walls and contain 151 tons of steel rebar reinforcement.

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Advance Concrete received Special Merit in the Parking Lot category for the construction of the Biolife Plasma Services’ parking lot in Wausau WI. The 75,000 sq. ft. parking lot used 1,384 cubic yards of concrete. County Materials helped accommodate the project's tight timeline by making deliveries on time and effectively communicating with the job site. The pour was completed in an impressive two days.

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Alchemy Concrete of Nelsonville, WI was recognized in the Decorative Commercial category for the installation of a patio break area with a walking trail at the Heartland Farms Facility in Hancock, WI. The patio and walking trail utilize red and green integral dye and come together to form Heartland Farm’s logo—a heart with a plant growing from the top.

County Materials extends its warmest congratulations to the winners and to all participants of this year’s concrete design awards.

Feb14

Marathon High School Construction Trades Class to Close the Skilled Labor Gap

Categories // Press Release, Community & Education

Marathon High School Construction Trades Class to Close the Skilled Labor Gap

marathon high2Marathon High School Technology Education Teacher John Vanderwyst leads classes covering automation, robotics, manufacturing, engineering and woodworking. As an educator in the technology and manufacturing field, Vanderwyst is aware that Wisconsin is facing a shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. Recently the Marathon School Board approved a proposal for a new Construction Trades course to begin in the fall semester of 2017. This course is designed to help close the skilled labor gap by giving students hands-on experience and helping them learn about career opportunities in the manufacturing and construction industry. Marathon High School has already partnered with local companies including County Materials Corporation, Hurtis Heating & Air, Marathon Plumbing Service, and the Central Wisconsin Contractors Association. Vanderwyst is still looking for additional electrical and carpentry partners.

In preparation for the new Construction Trades course, County Materials hosted a tour of their corporate office and production facility in Marathon City for two dozen students from Marathon High School’s woodworking class. This opportunity introduced current juniors and seniors to the manufacturing industry before the new Construction Trades course begins. Students visited County Materials’ dispatch center that manages a fleet of professional drivers, quality control lab for testing aggregates and concrete, ready-mix production facility, and concrete block manufacturing plant. In each area, students asked questions and learned about the large number and diversity of jobs available to graduates.

Vanderwyst was thankful for the opportunity and happy students were able to learn more about the locally-owned company that is celebrating 70 years in business in 2016. “I am always thankful for opportunities to tour local facilities like the one County Materials provided because it shows students that success is all around Marathon City. Students do not have to travel far after high school to find fulfilling careers with upward mobility,” said Vanderwyst. “By connecting the school with local business and industry, we can attract students to stay or return to our community. Marathon has small town connections and a booming economy; the more students can see that the better Marathon is able to ensure its future.”

Students shared many positive comments about their hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom. Several were impressed by the scale of the company’s operation just down the road from their classroom. “I never thought County Materials had that many machines and big pieces of equipment,” one student said. Another student commented, “The sheer amount of concrete they produce is impressive.” Other students focused on a different facet important to the manufacturing process, “The safety sensor features we were shown were pretty cool.”

Jan24

Hollowcore Enhances Safety in New Eau Claire Development

Categories // In The News, Hollowcore

Hollowcore Enhances Safety in New Eau Claire Development

Hollowcore Enhances Safety in New Eau Claire Development

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University of Wisconsin-Eau Clair students and Eau Claire residents will soon have a new place to live, shop and do business. The project is currently under construction on the 200 block of Water Street. The four-story complex will house a grocery store, bank, office space and 87 apartment units. County Materials is supplying one of the primary construction components for the structure. The company has produced more than 84,300 sq. ft. of 8” hollowcore plank and 54,300 sq. ft. of 12” hollowcore plank for the large scale project.

The development’s location on Water Street is a welcomed addition to the area. Close to campus, students will enjoy a new opportunity for off-campus living. Many nearby residents will benefit from a new grocery store moving into their neighborhood. Currently, the surrounding Water Street community is designated a food desert by the USDA, meaning the area does not have a grocery store within walking distance—making it difficult for residents to quickly obtain healthy eating options and fresh produce.

Tenant safety was a primary concern when designing the multi-story building. With a 56-stall underground parking area, the development required a durable, fire resistant building material to separate the parking area from the businesses and apartments above. The project’s engineer looked to hollowcore plank because of its proven fire resistance and performance.  County Materials’ hollowcore systems meet fire ratings for up to three hours. Made of high-strength, steel-reinforced concrete, hollowcore is built to withstand severe temperature from fire - it does not burn or give off toxic fumes.

Hollowcore also helped meet project design requirements, allowing for longer spans with reduced support beams. This helps to open up space for the grocery store and offices while giving design versatility for each apartment unit to have large open living areas.

In addition to hollowcore systems, County Materials is supplying 9,344 ln. ft. of precast columns and inverted tee beams. County Materials’ dedicated dispatch team and drivers have already delivered 374 truckloads of material to the site. As a result, the Eau Claire Water Street Development is continuing on schedule and is slated to open August 2017.

Jan17

Community Park Gets a Facelift with Donation from County Materials

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Concrete, Ready-Mix and Aggregates

Community Park Gets a Facelift with Donation from County Materials

Fishing conditions along Bukolt Park’s waterfront in Stevens Point, Wis., were noticeably treacherous. A roadway surrounding the lagoon left little space for people between the road and water, in some areas as little as three feet. Additionally, a steep slope down to the water prevented access, so many people chose to fish from the road itself. Prime Water Anglers, a community non-profit organization, came up with a solution to provide safer fishing conditions with the help of County Materials.

Prime Water Anglers designed five platforms and a center pier, all of which were constructed through partnerships with local businesses and the Stevens Point Department of Parks and Recreation. The five self-standing platforms were constructed using wood to overhang the water’s edge. The center pier is located along a walkway, allowing water to flow beneath and pedestrians to cross above. The center pier was constructed with ready mix concrete donated by County Materials.

Prime Water Anglers approached County Materials for a ready mix donation to help alleviate project costs. Construction began in short time. After a frame was built with metal rebar for reinforcement, County Materials delivered and poured two sections of the pier, each with 3.5 cubic yards of concrete.

Prime Water Anglers views fishing as a means of connecting communities. Every year they host Kids Fishing Day, a two-day program that introduces local youth to fishing basics. Through Kids Fishing Day and other programs, Prime Water Anglers engages kids and parents and helps foster outdoor family recreation.

Jan16

Concrete Perspectives Newsletter January 2017

Categories // Concrete Perspectives, Newsletters, Masonry Products

Concrete Perspectives Newsletter January 2017

Many historic buildings in Kaukauna have exterior walls constructed with limestone harvested from local historic limestone quarries. When designing a new municipal building for the city of Kaukauna, the architect Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. wanted to reflect this history and match surrounding buildings. 

Conc_Persp_jan_2017.pdf

Jan11

Code Administrators Look to County Materials for Enhancing Industry Knowledge

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Landscaping

Code Administrators Look to County Materials for Enhancing Industry Knowledge

Attendees at the Wisconsin County Code Administrators Association (WCCA) fall conference strengthened their professionalism in the administration of Wisconsin County Land Development Codes and learned firsthand how permeable pavers are manufactured and the advantages they offer in storm water management. County Materials, a leader in manufacturing concrete construction and landscape materials such as concrete permeable pavers, conducted presentations and hosted a tour of their Appleton, Wis. facility.

Bob Roehrig and Jennifer Schaff from County Materials demonstrated the sustainable benefits concrete permeable paver systems offer in managing storm water runoff. Schaff noted, “it is exciting to share with industry officials what we are learning about permeable pavement through our joint research project with Wisconsin DNR, Wisconsin DOT, USGS and others.”

After the session, nearly 40 WCCA members toured County Materials’ Appleton production facility to experience concrete block manufacturing processes. WCCA members learned how County Materials sources local aggregates and utilizes advanced technology to produce high performance, durable concrete products used in construction and landscape applications.

Daniel Everson, vice president of WCCA, appreciated the learning opportunity hosted by County Materials. “The session regarding permeable pavers was greatly appreciated and we are pleased that County Materials was able to take the time sharing their expertise with our membership.” Everson also said these sessions are a benefit for their membership. “I believe it is our responsibility as land use professionals to provide options for our landowners that live and work in the rural areas of our counties on what’s the best approach to balance the individual desires and requirements prior to development.”

Dec20

County Materials Pavers Featured in Masonry Magazine

Categories // In The News, Awards and Recognition

County Materials Pavers Featured in Masonry Magazine

Masonry Magazine, a nationally recognized industry publication, featured the inspiring application of County Materials Corporation’s interlocking concrete pavers at the East Norport Drive Residence in Port Washington, WI. The publication’s October 2016 cover prominently displayed the project in addition to a full two-page spread featuring a project case study with additional photos of the driveway and backyard patio, which creates a stunning scene around the equally as impressive house.

The 13,000 square-foot drive way and 4,000 square-foot patio and pool area were constructed with Elements Paving Stones manufactured by County Materials. The primary color, Serenity features blended reddish-brown and gray that complements the colors of the home. To set off the driveway and provide a softer transition between drive and landscape, tumbled Elements Paving Stones in Vision – a light cream color – were selected as an accent border.

Project Case Studies are beneficial for enhancing industry knowledge. They record detailed descriptions of the process, development, and decision-making that go into complex construction projects. County Materials continues its tradition of leading the industry by publishing a variety of case studies for residential, municipal and industrial applications.

The East Norport Drive Residence case study highlights why concrete pavers were the material of choice for this project, which includes their aesthetic appeal, weather resistance, easy repair, longer life span and the increased value they add to the property. Also covered were installation considerations; after close inspection it was revealed that the existing concrete driveway was sound enough to be overlaid with pavers. Drainage was another concern. The existing grade required correcting the pitch on the pavers to get the water to sheet properly.

This application not only provided a perfect sample for a case study, it is an award-winning project. It received a Silver Award in the Best Residential Driveway Application category in the Wisconsin Masonry Alliance’s 2016 Excellence in Hardscape Awards.

Dec15

Covering Ground Newsletter December 2016

Categories // Covering Ground, Newsletters, Landscaping

Covering Ground Newsletter December 2016

More project owners and construction professionals are requiring landscape contractors to fulfill and maintain industry-approved training credentials because they recognize the value of using professionals who stand behind their workmanship and uphold industry standards...

To continue reading the full newsletter, click on the link below.

 

pdf Covering Ground December 2016 (523 KB)

 

Dec08

UWSP Students Tour County Materials Gravel Quarry

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Community & Education, Sustainability

UWSP Students Tour County Materials Gravel Quarry

Students from two University of Wisconsin Stevens Point classes left their classrooms to see first-hand the workings of natural resource mining and learn about local regulations, zoning issues, and reclamation processes. Students majoring in Natural Resource Planning met with County Materials’ Geologist Jim Small at the company’s aggregate quarry in Custer WI. The students came prepared with inquisitive minds, wanting to get the most out of this unique opportunity. Questions asked included how a company selects an area for resource management, how regulatory bodies such as OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration work with companies, and what reclamation processes are used by County Materials.

Student Christopher Anderson felt the tour was very beneficial, and said, “I definitely think it was useful getting to see an aggregate mining operation in person, because it allowed us to visualize the scale. The geologist answered our questions and did a great job explaining what takes place in this type of operation and brought up the importance of building a lasting relationship with surrounding landowners.” Anderson also appreciated the company’s reclamation efforts, “I learned that reclamation plans are set up to restore the land, and County Materials is doing a great job. Parts of their landscape that has been restored is covered with vegetation and there is no erosion taking place.”

County Materials is a leading proponent of education in the construction industry and regularly offers learning opportunities to students who are interested in careers in the industry. University Professor Anna Haines reached out to County Materials about the possibility of hosting a facility tour for her students and was pleased when the company quickly responded and accommodated her request. Professor Haines added, “It was great. The students benefited from seeing the scale of this type of operation. Fieldtrips are critical components of teaching. Classroom work is necessary to give context and background, while this fieldtrip provided them the reality.”

A highlight for many of the students was the insights into new technologies used to map the quarry and determine resource deposits. Small explained how he uses a drone to capture images of the company’s quarries and then imports the images into software to generate large 3D maps. Students viewed one large quarry map Small shared and quickly realized the unique perspective and benefits these large-scale images offer.

Brewster Johnson, another student who participated in the field trip appreciated the variety of topics discussed and valuable experience the company provided him. He said, “Visiting County Materials’ gravel pit was an eye opening experience. By talking to their geologist, we were able to get insight into the process of sighting, mining, restoring, and determining end use. …Overall, the field trip was extremely constructive, especially because (they were) receptive to our questions and taught us about the industry.”

Dec07

County Materials Aids in Flood Prevention Efforts

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

County Materials Aids in Flood Prevention Efforts

 

After major flooding swept through Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2008, city officials and residents learned preparation is key to reducing damage and saving lives. That is why swift action was taken in September 2016 after the National Weather Service predicted the Cedar River would crest at 23 feet—7 feet above what is considered major flood stage.

One week prior to the anticipated peak flood day, Cedar Rapids’ city engineer Nate Kampman contacted County Materials Corporation’s facility in Iowa City to discuss potential needs for flood protection. County Materials’ Location Manager, Bryan Rempt, remembers, “The city engineer was concerned about floodwater overwhelming the sewer system and temporary levies. If it became necessary, he was asking our company to provide manhole risers and cones that could be placed as barriers over street manholes.”

Early Sunday morning, two days before the forecasted peak water level, Rempt received another call from Kampman. “The city engineer said the water levels were rising, so the materials were needed immediately,” said Rempt.

Rempt, along with County Materials’ Operations Manager Randy Weber, and Foreman Raul Rios quickly mobilized, sending 11 loads of concrete materials, including 60” diameter manholes and cones as well as 48” diameter manholes and cones. County Materials’ teams were loading and sending materials from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. that day in efforts to beat the rising floodwaters.

On Tuesday, September 20th the Cedar River crested at 22 feet, 1 foot less then what was forecasted, yet 6 feet above major flood stage. By that time, more than 250,000 sand bags had been stacked to create temporary walls and levees. Nearly 10,000 people had evacuated and 400 National Guard troops were called in. When floodwaters began receding, city officials reported that the precautions put in place appeared to help prevent most of the expected damage, with the exception of a few flooded buildings and basements closest to the river.

Kampman was appreciative of the efforts made by County Materials to deliver materials on such short notice. No lives were lost and no major injuries were reported. The preparation by city officials, along with willingness from local residents and businesses to work with emergency groups, was instrumental in saving the city of Cedar Rapids from what could have been a terrible disaster.

Dec05

County Materials a Sponsor at SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®

Categories // In The News, Press Release, Awards and Recognition, Community & Education, Masonry Products

County Materials a Sponsor at SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®

bricklayer2The SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® competitions are a series of events that test the skill, speed, and quality of masons across the country. The regional and national events bring bricklayers together to compete for prizes and the honor of being the “Best Bricklayer in the World.” Every year these events are dependent on sponsors in the industry. This year County Materials Corporation was a Silver Level sponsor for the 13th annual Wisconsin SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®, one of the 22 regional championships in the U.S. The event was held on September 22, 2016 at the IMI Training Center in New Berlin, WI.

Since 2003, SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® competitions have offered a platform for demonstrating the craftsmanship and stamina of masons across the country. Each bricklayer team includes a mason and his assistant, known as the mason tender. The competition lasts 60 minutes during which the mason has to construct a 26 foot 8 inch long, doublewide brick wall. The competition has four awards; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place which are based on the highest net brick count meeting the quality standards. The 4th award, the SPEC MIX TOP CRAFTSMAN is judged the most sellable wall. The walls are closely evaluated by carefully selected masonry officials carrying several years of bricklaying experience.

Jake Brock, a mason with Brock Construction in Fort Atkinson, WI, and his mason tender, Eric Wiesman took first place. Brock had a net count of 436 brick qualifying him for the 2017 Spec Mix Top Craftsman award in Las Vegas. Along with the qualification Brock won an $800 cash prize, a Marshalltown tool bag and trowel, and a King Cutter for stone. The Spec Mix top craftsman award and second place went to Mike Schlund of Kowalksi Masonry of Wausau WI.

County Materials continued its tradition of supporting the construction industry and community efforts with their sponsorship of the 2016 Wisconsin Regional Competition. This year, County Materials is also celebrating its 70th anniversary, and is helping to shine a spotlight on the masonry trade and the construction industry.

Nov18

Concrete Perspectives Newsletter November 2016

Categories // Concrete Perspectives, Newsletters, Masonry Products

Concrete Perspectives Newsletter November 2016

The new Northcentral Technical College Medford campus is a standalone building that serves as a satellite location for the regional community college. It is NTC’s most technologically advanced location and provides 1,400 students annually with classrooms, lounges, state of the art healthcare education facilities, and distance learning technology.

 

  pdf Concrete Perspectives November 2016 (251 KB)

Nov17

Covering Ground Newsletter November 2016

Categories // Covering Ground, Newsletters, Landscaping

Covering Ground Newsletter November 2016

County Materials Corporation is pleased to congratulate CLA Landscapes of Appleton, WI for receiving recognition at the 9th Annual Hardscape North America (HNA) Awards on October 20th in Louisville, KY. The HNA Awards recognize outstanding hardscape projects in all sizes in residential and commercial applications using a variety of products including concrete pavers, clay pavers, and segmental retaining walls...

To continue reading the full newsletter, click on the link below.

 

  pdf Covering Ground November 2016 (408 KB)

 

Oct19

Concrete Perspectives Newsletter October 2016

Categories // Concrete Perspectives, Newsletters, Masonry Products

Concrete Perspectives Newsletter October 2016

Kaiser Pool is the first of three neighborhood community pools in the City of Wausau, Wis., that are being renovated after 30 years of use. One of the biggest upgrades to the Kaiser Pool facility was the removal of the old pool house and its replacement with an updated structure that is better suited to visitors and staff, as well as meeting the mechanical needs of the pool. The new building includes restrooms, men’s and women’s shower facilities, a concession area, an updated mechanical room, and an improved life guard station. County Materials manufactured splitface concrete masonry units (CMUs) and Premier Ultra® Burnished block, which were used as the major structural components and cladding elements of the building.

 

pdf Concrete Perspectives October 2016 (372 KB)

Oct19

Covering Ground Newsletter October 2016

Categories // Covering Ground, Newsletters, Landscaping

Covering Ground Newsletter October 2016

County Materials’ Freedom Retaining Wall™ System offers landscape professionals unlimited design flexibility. To learn how easy it is to install Freedom Retaining Wall units for everything from two-sided seat walls, columns, radius walls and set back wall installations, County Materials has released a second video in our training series. The new Freedom Retaining Wall video focuses on installation guidelines for building columns, serpentine and circle walls. It follows the first video that presents a general overview of the Freedom Retaining Wall system and how to build freestanding walls.

 

pdf Covering Ground October 2016 (702 KB)

 

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