Ceramic Industry

Brick Industry Association Honors Brick Manufacturers

February 10, 2011

The Brick Industry Association (BIA) has honored four U.S. brick manufacturers for their ingenuity in employee health and safety and environmental stewardship, and one individual for a lifetime of dedicated service to the brick industry.

“All of the winners are innovators and leaders who demonstrate our industry's commitment to healthier, safer workplaces, increasing building sustainability, and a steadfast dedication that benefits the entire industry,” said Brett Packer, BIA vice chairman and president of Packer Brick Inc.

John “Russ” Butler, executive vice president of Sales for Elgin Butler Co., received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Butler’s career in the industry has spanned more than 40 years. He spent his high school summers working for Elgin Butler, which was founded by his great-grandfather in 1873. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, serving in the U.S. Army and working as a terra cotta manufacturer, he joined the company full time in 1965. His many leadership positions in Texas and nationally include serving as a BIA board member.

An Employee Health and Safety Award was given to Acme Brick for its Arc Flash Program. Over the past two years, the company’s comprehensive arc flash/electrical safety program has resulted in zero arc flash injuries. This program significantly increases worker safety by highlighting safe work practices for electrical components and modifying electrical equipment to reduce hazards. An electrical diagram was created for each facility to assist in identifying potential hazards and is combined with hazard labeling throughout the facility.

Whitacre-Greer Co. also received an Employee Health and Safety Award for reviving a safety culture program. When submitted, the company’s multi-faceted program with hands-on training had successfully achieved 1093 days and over 500,000 work hours without a loss time injury. Key components include five-minute Safety Talks, the Caught Being Safe program and an annual training day at Whitacre Greer University. Strong employee orientation and recognition programs also help to reinforce the importance of safety. The success of this program is shown by a 95% reduction in company injury costs.

Environmental Stewardship Awards were given to Boral Brick and Glen-Gery Corp. Boral’s plant in Terre Haute, Ind., is the first brick plant built to LEED Gold standards. The plant achieved 39 points for sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. The use of landfill gas, natural day lighting, a cool roof, and indigenous landscaping all add to the plant’s sustainability. In addition, the natural day lighting provides a brighter, more natural workplace environment, and the indigenous landscaping eliminates the need for routine maintenance and irrigation.

As part of Glen-Gery’s overall goal to produce products with less energy, its energy conservation program used best practices in retrofitting its facility lighting systems. Older low-efficiency fixtures were replaced with high-efficiency fixtures. Occupancy sensors and timers control the operation of the fixtures. The program has reduced energy usage by approximately 2.8 million KWH annually and reduced the company’s carbon footprint by 2610 tons annually.

For additional details, visit www.gobrick.com.