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receipt of this award for five of its plants is a testament to the
commitment that our management team and employees have made to protect
the environment,” said Filiberto Ruiz, president and CEO of Holcim (US).
“Sustainability is a core component of Holcim’s corporate values and it
is a priority at every plant and facility.”
Holly Hill plant in Holly Hill, S.C., the Ste. Genevieve plant in
Bloomsdale, Mo., and the Theodore plant in Theodore, Ala., are all receiving
this award for the fourth time. The Devil’s Slide plant in Morgan, Utah,
has earned its sixth consecutive award from the EPA and the Portland
plant in Florence, Colo., has been honored for three consecutive years. The
ENERGY STAR is the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy performance.
national energy performance rating system provides a 1 to 100 scale that
helps organizations assess how efficiently their facilities use energy
relative to similar facilities nationwide. A cement plant that scores a
rating of 75 or higher and meets all other official EPA requirements is
eligible for the ENERGY STAR.
used by manufacturers to give the original colors to brick, mortar and
manufactured stone can be used to recolor masonry components of an indoor fireplace
without removing or replacing the masonry. The result is a new look that is as
natural, complex, and permanent as that of the original natural or manufactured
materials at small fraction of the cost of rebuilding.
have an overwhelming desire to periodically remodel their homes. A new owner
often has different tastes than the builder or previous owner. Long-time owners
may find that their tastes change with time and the experience of seeing other
living spaces. Others may wish to increase the size or arrangement of rooms,
and are delighted to take the opportunity to change the décor as well.
fireplace is a large and eye-catching feature of any room. If the new décor
clashes with the appearance of the fireplace, one or the other will have to be
A dilemma for homeowners
masonry fireplace is an important feature of a home that can significantly
increase its value, by providing beautiful natural stone or brick surfaces that
contrast well with the drywall, plaster, wood paneling or other, more common,
indoor wall surfaces. However, same factors that give masonry its rugged,
natural beauty make it difficult to change when remodeling is desired.
rule, masonry (bricks, blocks, limestone, natural or manufactured stone, or
architectural blocks and the mortar that binds them together) gets its natural
look from two factors:
Irregular surface textures
Colors that result from a mixture of colored
material visible through the partially translucent surface of the material.
distinctive surface textures and the three-dimensional quality or depth of the
colors offer an immediate aesthetic contrast with the flat or glossy surface of
qualities are lost when a latex paint or other surface coating is applied to
the fireplace. When viewing painted brick, stone or mortar, the eye sees only
the surface of the latex coating, which offers a monochromatic color and a
relatively flat surface. The masonry can become invisible beneath the paint.
other oft-considered remodeling technique is to rebuild the fireplace with new
and different materials. Rebuilding will, of course, produce the rugged,
natural look and whatever color changes the homeowner desires, but at great
cost. In addition, if the home is to be occupied during the remodeling,
rebuilding greatly interferes with the use of the room as the old components
are broken, dust flies into the air, debris is removed, new components are
delivered, mortar is mixed, and the walls are slowly assembled.
Shown is a fireplace after remodel
A case study
Bressler family purchased a new home in Northern Indiana with the intention of
completely remodeling the interior to create their “dream house.” They planned
to make the living room especially appealing with new hardwood floors, a grand
ceiling and a large fireplace. From a catalog, they chose to purchase an
impressive limestone fireplace in a light tan/buff color that would fit in with
the other renovations and with their choice of furniture.
The wrong color
the limestone was installed, however, Mrs. Bressler noticed that it had a “splotchy”
and “spotty” appearance, and that the color was more of a light grey than the
tan/buff color she expected. The color did not match the rest of the expensive
décor, and the irregular “blotchy” color added to the impression that it simply
did not belong in the room.
raised the issue with the manufacturer, who questioned her closely about the
way the limestone had been stored and handled after being delivered to the
home. When she admitted that her contractor had left the stone outside and
uncovered for several days before installing it, the manufacturer took the
position that the exposure to the elements must have caused a color change that
might be temporary. The manufacturer then advised that the stone would return
to its proper color after a sufficient length of time in the climate-controlled
interior of the house.
hoped-for change did not happen spontaneously, Mrs. Bressler reviewed her
considered painting the stone, but did not want to compromise with her vision
of a natural limestone fireplace. She understood that the painted stone would
not “look real.” She also recognized that paint would run the risk of fading,
peeling or cracking over time. One of the benefits of a real limestone
fireplace is that the color remains constant without retouching or other
conferring with her contractor, she decided to have the entire structure sanded
down from top to bottom. When this work was completed, some of the spotty
irregularities in coloring were corrected, but the color remained an
inappropriate grey. In her view, it was unsightly and did not complement
anything else in the room.
she could have insisted that the manufacturer and/or the contract bear the
expense of removing the stonework and installing new limestone in the
appropriate color, but:
She did not want to damage her relationship
with the contractor
She believed that the manufacturer would not
give her satisfaction unless she went to expense and trouble of legal
She was unsure as to who was actually at fault
in failing to provide her with the fireplace she paid for.
further discussion, the manufacturer suggested that she try the process
recommended in this paper: adding additional color into the surface of the
stone using materials identical to those used by brick manufacturers.
Adding natural color
manufacturer’s help, she located Masonry Cosmetics Inc., a company experienced
in the staining process. After trading emails with the company’s VP, she sent
him a sample of the limestone, so he could demonstrate the coloring technique. When
he returned the stone, it looked exactly as she had hoped.
with the sample, Mrs. Bressler set up a date for the work to take place. The
color specialist came, stained a small area, and asked Mrs. Bressler to approve
the color. After a few minor adjustments, the sample was approved and the main
work commenced. The specialist applied the accepted color evenly across the
whole fireplace and upper mantel, taking between four and five hours to
complete the job.
stain solution dried, Mrs. Bressler had the fireplace she had originally
envisioned, in a custom color that she had helped create. It now blended in
with the surrounding decor. No longer “an eyesore,” it was now a focal point of
visual interest in the room. She had saved thousands of dollars and was given a
lifetime warrantee assuring her that the fireplace would retain its color
indefinitely without maintenance of any kind.
create a natural-looking color change, colored pigments ground to the
consistency of talcum powder are mixed with water and a bonding chemical. When
the mixture is applied, the bonding chemical and the pigment are absorbed into
the limestone. The bonding chemical hardens and locks the pigment to the pore
structure of the stone.
pigment is not smeared over the surface of the stone. Instead, it becomes part
of the interior structure of the stone; its particles are locked in alongside
the particles that gave the stone its original color. Therefore, the color
change is gradual and the stone retains the color complexity of a natural
product. The new color is no less a part of the stone than the original color. It
will last as long as the masonry itself.
Do it yourself
masonry is expensive. Hiring a professional to stain masonry is always much
less expensive. Another even less-expensive option is for the homeowner to color
the masonry. A homeowner can purchase a do-it-yourself kit that will contain
everything needed to color an area much larger than the surface of any
Cosmetics, the firm that colored Mrs. Bressler’s fireplace, offers a kit
containing the pigments needed to closely match any desired color. The kit
includes detailed step-by-step instructions and access to the firm’s training
website. Customers are also entitled to ask specific questions and receive
individualized guidance via email or phone.
Article courtesy of Masonry
Cosmetics Inc. in South Bend, Ind. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
the second day’s fighting at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, Colonel Strong Vincent,
a brigade commander in the Army of the Potomac, learned from a passing courier
that the Union left flank was undefended and that the Confederates were advancing
on Little Round Top. Seizing this position would allow the Confederates to fire
on the entire Union line and force the retreat of Union forces, opening the
road to Washington.
Recognizing the tactical significance of the position,
Vincent, without waiting for orders, moved his brigade into a blocking
position. What followed was one of the most dramatic and pivotal engagements of
the war, one that decided the battle of Gettysburg and most probably the war
itself. Though Vincent fell in the battle, his ability to recognize the crisis,
to make critical decisions under pressure, and to deploy his resources inspired
his brigade to hold the vital position on the Little Round Top.
in crisis is ultimately about decision making. Other critical steps, such as
recognizing and isolating the crisis prepare you to make decisions, while the
deployment of resources are based on the decisions made by the leader. The
pivotal point in any crisis is the making of the decision about how one will
deal with the crisis. Unfortunately, without recognizing the four traps of
decision making, it is too easy to make the wrong decision.
Trap #1: Maintaining the status quo
of the major problems in leading in a crisis is the psychological tendency to
do nothing. There is a tendency to normalize events – to see what we expect to
see. It is easy to miss cues or indicators. If there are no consequences for
doing, there is no need to make a decision. Unfortunately, this is the default
mode for many decision makers.
Trap # 2: Taking the easy way out
that there are consequences for inaction, the next consideration is whether
there is a risk in taking action. If
there is no perceived risk in taking a specific action, there is really no need
to make a decision or to consider alternative courses of action.
Trap #3: Giving up
available courses of action all carry risks, the tendency is to search for a
better solution. The trap here is that it if there is a perception that no low
risk solutions are available, the decision maker may become fatalistic or
apathetic, exhibit behaviors such as ignoring or selective interpreting
information, or attempt to pass the responsibility for decision making to
Trap #4: Running out the clock
is not uncommon among decision makers in a crisis. Information is incomplete or
contradictory and there is usually little time to wait for better solutions.
This is the fourth trap of decision making: continuing to seek for solutions
rather than deciding on the best available alternative, even if it carries
considerable risk. Under heavy time constraints, this can even led to panic and
bad decision making.
how does one avoid the four traps of decision making in a crisis? The first
step is recognizing that these four traps exist and understanding that they are
heavily influenced by time and the availability of good information. Failing to
see the risks of inaction or accepting low-risk actions are both linked to a
failure to recognize that a crisis is occurring and to put it into the context
of the potential impact on your organization. This in turn is usually the
result of failing to take the time to gather and assess information related to
Consider, for example, the classic case study on supply chain
management involving Nokia and Ericsson in 2000. The crisis was precipitated by
a fire in the clean room of the manufacturer of the chips used in each
company’s phones. Nokia recognized and reacted to the potential crisis; Ericsson
did not. The resulting losses cost Ericsson millions in lost revenue and market
share and put the company into a financial crisis that lasted almost five
the nature of the crisis can also help avoid the bad decisions caused when
considering high-risk alternatives. Knowing how much time you have to make a
decision and the potential availability of alternative actions are precious
commodities in a crisis. Time allows you to weigh risks versus alternatives or
consult with advisors and subject matter experts.
Knowing you have limited time
can help you to focus on what you know and bring clarity of thought. In the
case of Strong Vincent at Gettysburg, the knowledge that he had only a short
time in which to act caused his decision to move without orders, an action that
could have cost him his career if he failed. However, the risks of inaction far
exceeded the risks of the alternative he chose.
is easy to avoid decisions in a crisis. The four traps are always there waiting
for the unwary and they all lead to the same place: failure due to non-existent
or poor decision making. The hardest part of managing in crisis is having the
willingness to accept responsibility for decisions made with limited
information in too short a time and the courage to follow through on those
decisions without second-guessing yourself. It’s what makes a leader truly
effective in a crisis.
Lucien G. Canton, CEM is a consultant specializing
in preparing managers to lead better in crisis by understanding the human
factors often overlooked in crisis planning. A popular speaker and lecturer, he
is the author of the best-selling Emergency Management: Concepts and
Strategies for Effective Programs. For more information, please visit www.luciencanton.com,
or email Info@luciencanton.com.
an old story that begins, “Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Billy Graham
are all having dinner together…”
confess: Such a story doesn’t exist; I just made it up. But those three men really
exemplify the best in leadership examples, and we should take a close look at
them. And, as Jack London has said so well, these three men have all used their
available time to live, and to not just exist.
is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, which
“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers
brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…”
In just 272 simple, yet eloquent, words,
Lincoln paid tribute to the more than 30,000 soldiers killed or wounded there,
at Gettysburg, a mere five months earlier. And just five weeks prior to his address,
Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving and Praise for the last
Thursday of November, celebrating the greatness of our country.
It takes some strong leadership to hold
together a country bent on breaking itself apart; to see the moral travesty of slavery
and attempt to right it; to witness the huge loss of life and treasure caused
by a great Civil War; and to proclaim thanksgiving in the midst of it. Yet, he pressed
on, until stopped by an assassin.
Where is our next Lincoln?
Almost simultaneously with this 150th
anniversary, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the
assassination of Pres. John Fitzgerald Kennedy. For me, it was as significant and
profound a day as 9-11.
I was a high school senior. We had just left
our morning classes to go to lunch, when we heard that Pres. Kennedy had been
shot. Someone out in the parking lot had his car door open with the radio
playing, and we gathered around, waiting for word. Then came the announcement,
“Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, is
dead.” Instantly, the crowd dispersed. Sporting events were canceled that
weekend. The country was in mourning.
JFK shepherded us through some trying times,
like the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. People forget that the world
stood on the precipice of nuclear war, yet Kennedy was successful in getting
Soviet missiles out of Cuba. I guess I should have expected no less. At his inauguration
in 1961, he uttered this famous sentence, “Ask not what your country can do for
you; ask what you can do for your country.”
And just a few weeks prior to the missile
crisis, JFK delivered his stirring speech in Texas, where he proclaimed, “We
choose to go to the moon!” This was a stunning goal. We forget, now, but back
then, the United States was not the
leader in space exploration, but his goal was that we would get there first.
Like Lincoln, he committed treasure to this
quest, just as he pledged American might to stand up against Soviet aggression.
He did the right thing until he, too, was assassinated.
Is another JFK on the way?
Billy Graham was not a president of the United
States, but a great leader, nonetheless. His simple title was that of an
evangelist. He spoke at “crusades,” live, in front of an estimated 210 million
people over time. He has active for 60 years, and is being honored this year with
more than a few TV programs.
According to Mr. Graham, at his very first
crusade, he had four sermons that he knew, and he gave all four of them in
about 10 minutes. To go from that point to speaking before stadiums full of
people, and doing it well, is incredible.
But here is the reason I include him as an
excellent example of leadership. During this period of time, he has never (to
my knowledge) been singled out by anyone else as some kind of a hypocritical
religious leader. Nothing immoral. No complaints. Not even after 60 years.
As a matter of fact, early on, he and his team
developed guidelines to prevent this. They nicknamed these guidelines as the “Modesto
Manifesto,” because it was conceived in a small motel room in the town of
Modesto, many decades ago. The members of his team all agreed that they would
do everything possible to avoid even the appearance of impropriety: To that
extent, Graham would never even be alone in an elevator with a woman, or have
dinner with one, other than his wife.
Similarly, that’s how all of the finances of
the ministry were handled – conservatively and publicly. No funny business; no
outrageous spending. Will new Billy Grahams come forward? We need some.
Maybe you’ve got a tiny, little company. So, like
Billy Graham, work on your craft and grow your four little sermons to something
much larger, whereby you are serving more people, better. You’re not launching
a rocket to the moon, but you could sure as heck engineer some better systems
inside your company to help you deliver your projects on time, couldn’t you?
And even though you are not going toe-to-toe
with the old Soviet Union, you might be able to refine your customer service to
the point at which your goal is that you only under-promise and then over-deliver. That would make you a star in
your industry, wouldn’t it?
It’s about time, isn’t it, for both our country
and our businesses to have some noble leadership? President Lincoln closed his
Address like this:
is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that
from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these
dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a
new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for
the people, shall not perish from the earth.
holiday season, remember the big picture. Live by your principles, even when
it’s hard. People will remember and reward you if you do. Be solid. Don’t just
exist. Live. Be noble.
Gary’s Corner: What’s your plan to move forward and into next year? Are you
marketing your company, driving business to it, or are you just hoping that
you’ll find it? Write Coach Gary at FullContactTeam@gmail.com.
Business development & marketing coaching will help you get there in less
time, and with more success. Ask Coach Gary to speak for your group,
association or convention, or even to coach your company. Coach Gary’s
first book, “Get Paid for a Change!” is available at Amazon.com. Pick it up
there; change your business.
Micheloni is a construction company marketer, working project manager,
speaker, author, consultant and coach. Copyright
2013 Gary Micheloni