Awards were presented during this year’s American Concrete Pumping Association (APCA) annual membership meeting at the World of Concrete in February. Nominations were requested for each category, and determined by the ACPA Awards Committee, consisting of Beth Langhauser, Carl Walker, Bob Weatherton and Dennis Andrews.
2016 Operator of the Year: Tyler Wood
Each year, the ACPA recognizes one outstanding concrete pump operator for exemplary safety achievements, and who has demonstrated a devotion to the field. Operators are nominated by their employers and, as a condition of award consideration, must be a valid ACPA certified operator. The applications are reviewed and a winner chosen by an independent safety consultant.
The award recipient receives roundtrip airfare, courtesy of Construction Forms, and hotel accommodations for two, provided courtesy of Schwing America, to attend World of Concrete in Las Vegas, along with $500 in spending money, donated each year by Putzmeister America.
Although each of these nominees was worthy of recognition, one especially stood out this year as the most outstanding—Tyler Wood of McClure Concrete, Aurora, CO.
It typically takes several years and multiple job experiences before a person finally settles into a job they consider as a career, and most are never fortunate enough to consider a career a passion; but not so for this year’s operator of the year, Tyler Wood. Ty knew from the very beginning that concrete pumping was his destiny.
It all began when Ty’s father, Tim, started working for McClure Concrete Incorporated of Aurora, Colorado in 1988. Ty was nine years old and remembers his father building an addition on their home, when a Putzmeister concrete pump showed up to do the job. He stood there, looking at the massive pump, and knew instantly he wanted to know more about that machine. During the summer a few years later, Ty joined his father at work to observe and learn more about the concrete industry. After turning 15, he started a job of his own at McClure Concrete and remained a part-time employee until his high school graduation. He continued working with McClure, operating a crane in the yard with another McClure operator.
After noticing his natural ability to learn quickly, and operate smoothly and safely, Phil McClure, owner of McClure Concrete, approached Ty with an idea. He suggested Ty get his CDL and then learn to operate a concrete pump. Ty was instantly intrigued and agreed to take the test right after his 18th birthday. After passing his CDL, he was sent to Brundage Bone in Denver, Colorado, where he trained for two months, until the new 34-meter Schwing arrived at McClure. Once the new pump arrived, Ty was sent out on his own to operate.
Ty was dedicated to McClure, averaging four to seven jobs a day. Once McClure saw how well he was doing with the pump, they decided to get him another, bigger pump—a brand new 41-meter Schwing. In 2013, he received a new Putzmeister 46-5 R Z pump. That pump is now almost three years old, and Ty keeps it looking as good as it did the day it arrived.
Safety has always been one of Ty’s top priorities. He stays up-to-date with all certifications and attends ACPA safety seminars to maintain his ACPA operator certification. As well, Ty has attended the Schwing service school four times and Putzmeister’s service school three times. He has also attended OSHA classes, been 10- hour certified twice, as well as having been certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.
Ty started a company Facebook page, where fellow McClure coworkers can post their job site pictures. This led him to start a company program, “Crew of the Week,” to recognize employees for outstanding performance and motivate others to follow suit. Phil took it one step further and decided that Crew of the Week was working so well, he wanted to add Crew of the Month. All monthly winners are rewarded with bonuses, acknowledging their outstanding work.
Ty will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and always has a solution to any problem. Every day, Ty shows up to work with a positive attitude, always striving to do 100 percent. He is very involved with both crane and concrete boom inspections and safety training. Ty’s love and dedication for the concrete industry is extraordinary. He is very passionate about all aspects of concrete pumping, from placement to safety to finishing, and is proud to say he’s been pumping eleven years with no injuries or accidents.
Besides Ty, his father, one brother and two sisters all work for McClure. His dad, Tim, has been their field superintendent since 1988. Outside of work, Ty was a competitive body builder and owns a collection of approximately 65 pump models. He is married to Jessica, and they both enjoy boating.
Tyler is unique in that he not only had an impressive nomination recommendation from his company, but he also had two letters of commendation from his company’s business associates. Here are some of their comments.
From Reed Swenson, national consulting manager of SFI Compliance, Inc.: “I have dealt with Tyler Wood directly over the past four-and-a-half years, and I must say his approach to safety is top shelf and exactly what McClure wants all of their employees to inherit, both at work and in their personal lives. He always goes the extra mile to verify the crews are in compliance. He not only takes his job extremely seriously, but takes great pride in helping keep McClure and the team safe at all levels.”
Another recommendation, from Scott Love, Brighton area manager of Bestway Concrete and Aggregates: “Tyler is always willing to go the extra mile to help people out, and has raised the bar to a whole new level for the pumping industry. If I was going to put my name behind someone, it would be Tyler. He is a great contribution to this industry and I couldn’t think of a better person to recommend. I hope that the upcoming generations will look at Tyler as a role model and will be able follow his lead.”
Other nominees for this year included: Marlon Chavez – C & C Pumping Services, Inc. – Groveland, Florida; Randy Groch – Meyer Concrete Pumping & Conveyor Service, LLC – Libertyville, Illinois; Billy Hubbard – Ramcrete, Incorporated – Hamilton, Ohio; Gary Inman – Interstate Concrete Pumping – French Camp, California; Antonio Rincon – Hi-Tech Concrete Pumping Services – Kemah, Texas; William Stevens – Original Concrete Pumping Service, Inc. – Chicago, Illinois; Agostino Valente – Our Rental Pumps, LLC – Farmingdale, New York; Thomas Warren – Preferred Concrete Pumping, Inc. – Tucson, Arizona
2016 Pioneer Awards
By definition, each of this year’s Pioneer Award recipients exemplifies the true meaning of “pioneer”—someone who helps create or open up a new line of thought or activity; it also means someone who is, or has been, capable of establishing a new frontier. The ACPA is pleased to recognize three individuals whose dedicated efforts, willingness to share their ideas and entrepreneurial spirit contributed towards advancing and improving the lives of all those in the concrete pumping industry.
Gene Burbidge’s adventure in the concrete pumping industry started back in 1972, when he bought his first concrete pump, a Thompson 740, and started Burbidge Concrete Pumping. His hopes of establishing a successful business in Salt Lake City required a pioneer effort, considering this concrete delivery method was new to the area. Being a pioneer was in Gene’s blood—his ancestors were Mormon pioneers who settled in the Salt Lake Valley 100 years earlier. He, along with many others, had to figure out how to deal with harsh mixes; boom hoses that would plug and bird nest; flapper valves that would wear out quickly; hydraulic pumps that regularly needed to be rebuilt—and the list continues. In those days, everyone in the concrete pumping industry had to pioneer these challenges just to survive.
Gene was a unique pioneer: he was one of the first to use a computer to make his business more efficient. In 1975, Gene was trying to correctly calculate the expense of pumping concrete in order to determine how much he had saved after various changes he had made to his operations. Without a computer, obtaining this data was nearly impossible. In addition, he was trying to improve his accounting methods, get the bills out faster and collect receivables sooner. His solution: a computer. Gene had a vision that the computer was going to be the future of every business. Most thought that was a wild idea, but he incorporated the computer into his business and pioneered the concept.
Back then, using a computer required much more effort than it does today. There were no software programs, no personal computers and no internet. First, Gene had to buy a computer and then find a programmer to write the software. Believe it or not, this process wasn’t easy. His son, Vaughn, remembers the day his dad brought his first computer into the accounting office, which was located in their home. He announced to his wife, Alice, who was the bookkeeper at the time, that this machine was going to do almost all her work for her with just the push of a button. Vaughn can’t remember ever seeing his mom so mad. She laid it out very clearly. ”It’s either the computer or me, but we will both NOT be staying in this house!” Gene quickly decided it might be best to keep the computer at the programmer’s house until Alice settled down.
Well, we all know the end of the computer story, and today, we could not survive without them in our businesses. But to get to the end of Gene’s journey was not an easy task. He spent countless hours with his programmer, working out all the bugs. In time, he was able to use the computer to do most of the billing, payroll, bookkeeping, concrete pump use-analysis and many other useful tasks. Gene also shared this knowledge with many others in the industry, who were willing to accept this new type of “voodoo” machine, and helped them better manage their concrete pumping businesses.
Gene continued working right up to the day he passed away in 1990, and Alice continued to keep a second set of books by hand until she retired from the company in 1992. Today, Burbidge Concrete Pumping is actively managed by their sons, David and Vaughn, along with Vaughn’s son, Trevor.
Don “Boone” Heinz
Known simply as “Boone” to all that know him, Don Heinz has been in the concrete pumping business for nearly 27 years—all of which have been with Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping located in Kent, Washington.
Boone started as the service manager in Brundage-Bone’s Kent location. which covers the Seattle area and all of western Washington, and quickly worked his way into the assistant manager role. Boone’s responsibilities included overseeing the service department and field operations. During his time in this position, Boone became extremely knowledgeable on Schwing equipment and fully understands the technical aspects of the equipment and the job site application of units ranging from small line pumps to 61-meters.
It was widely known that when Boone pulled onto a job site in his service truck, no matter what the challenge, he would quickly get the equipment back in operation. Boone was also instrumental in developing and implementing some of the most intricate separate placing boom applications in the Seattle construction market; his pioneering techniques were adopted all across the country and in many parts of the world.
After his time in management at the Kent branch in 2005, Boone was promoted to a corporate position, where he oversaw all Brundage-Bone specialty placement applications. He was involved in projects that ranged from high rise pumping to hydroelectric plants, and at one point had over 50 separate placing booms on projects with over 100 mast locations.
In January 2010, Boone was promoted to national service manager, where he became responsible for the maintenance of all Brundage-Bone equipment on a very tight budget. During this time, Boone was also responsible for all equipment moves and permitting. In 2014, with the resurgence of the separate placing boom market, Boone was moved back into the role of managing specialty applications, along with overseeing the Brundage-Bone boom inspection program.
Dedicating a major part of his career towards the betterment of the concrete pumping industry, Boone truly meets the definition of “pioneer.”
Boone lives in Covington, Washington, with his wife Karen, and has three children and five grandchildren who are big parts of his life. Boone’s favorite hobby is trap shooting, and he has won numerous awards as a top shooter.
Boone has made many long-lasting friendships in the industry and is grateful for the support of many in the industry for such a great career.
Born in Vermont, George King was one of eight children. His family worked hard and grew close as they all chipped in to help with the chores to run their farm. This work ethic has carried over throughout the years, to help George build his company and become the success he is today.
After turning 18, George moved to Connecticut and began working for his brother, laying tile, which then led to him working as a mechanic for J I Case. While employed there, Case began to sell concrete pumps. Thinking this was a good niche market to get into, George started strategizing on how to start his own concrete pumping business.
In 1966, George King and his partner started Modern Concrete Pumping Incorporated, located in West Hartford, Connecticut, with an I-35 pump. They were the only concrete pumping company in the state. Before too long, Modern had grown to five employees, with a couple of Case trailer pumps and a boom pump with a 50-foot reach that was the talk of the industry. Business was good, and after only three months, they added four more pumps to their fleet.
Over the past 49 years, Modern has grown in reputation, as well as in size. With a fleet of 18 Schwing pumps, the company is now located in Newington, Connecticut, servicing the New England and eastern New York areas, and performs various types of jobs, including state, commercial and residential. One of the latest pumps to join their fleet is a Schwing S 20-meter Z-boom, painted entirely in pink in support of breast cancer awareness. The pump, referred to as “Pinky,” is a local favorite, and has been featured on area television stations and in several newspaper articles.
George is well-known throughout all of New England. When he enters a room, people know him, come over and shake his hand. His experience and knowledge of concrete pumping make him a valuable asset to the industry, as well as to his customers, who often call him for advice and encouragement, and at times when they’re in need of a good laugh.
Leo Nardi, assistant vice president of O&G Industries— one of the Northeast’s premier construction companies— says this about George. “George King has been a pioneer in the pumping industry since I started at O&G 37 years ago. He’s always available to look at sites and offer suggestions for size, positioning and hourly pumping capacities. And he’s a valuable source of information for mix designs to everyone, including architects and engineers. George is also a comical addition to any conversation, with his ability to drop a one-liner and bring down the house. He is truly one of a kind.”
George’s son, Marcus, has been working alongside him for the past 25 years. Marcus explains, “My father is a hard-working man who loves to help people. He is highly respected and well known in this industry. He has been pumping for almost half a century, and it’s been an honor to work side-by-side with him for all these years, making memories that will last for many lifetimes.”
George is married to Diane and they have two children, Marcus and Joline, as well as seven grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys snowmobiling in Island Pond, Vermont, where he has a camp.