Brick Manufacturers Honored for Innovative Employee Health and Safety, Green Stewardship and Lifetime Achievement

Jan 28, 2011 12:39 ET

RESTON, VA–(Marketwire – January 28, 2011) – The Brick Industry Association (BIA) has honored four U.S. brick manufacturers for their ingenuity in employee health and safety, environmental stewardship and one individual for a lifetime of dedicated service to the brick industry. This year’s deserving winners and their programs save lives, drastically reduce employee injuries, greatly lower a plant’s energy use and honor the first brick plant to achieve Leadership in Environmental Efficiency and Design (LEED) Gold certification. They also recognize John “Russ” Butler of Elgin Butler Company for his exemplary lifetime contributions to the 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 BIA Vice Chairman Brett Packer, President, Packer Brick, Inc., in Rockwall, Texas.

Recognized last week during BIA’s Brick Forum 2011 in Greensboro, N.C, award winners include:

Lifetime Achievement Award

John “Russ’ Butler, Executive Vice President of Sales, Elgin Butler Co.
Recognizing industry leaders with at least 25 years supporting the success and growth of the clay brick industry, Butler’s 40+-year career includes mentoring hundreds of colleagues. An avid golfer, he worked high school summers for Elgin Butler, founded by his great-grandfather in 1873. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and serving in the U.S. Army and as a terra cotta manufacturer, he joined the company full time in 1965. While serving as company president for 20 years, Butler oversaw many innovative products including the “Craftwork Series,” and remains the sole manufacturer of structural glazed tile in the United States. His many leadership positions in Texas and nationally include serving as a BIA board member.
Employee Health and Safety Awards

Acme Brick, Fort Worth, Texas — Arc Flash Program
Over the past two years, Acme Brick’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. The program’s pre-shift stretching, buddy system, target zero, kiln safety week, daily pre-shift safety and health meetings before each shift, silica emphasis day each month, and company-wide Annual Safety Day – ACT Program (Action, Commitment, Training) all contribute to its success.
Whitacre-Greer Co., Alliance, Ohio — Reviving a Safety Culture Program
When submitted, this multi-faceted program with hands-on training had successfully achieved 1,093 days — and over 500,000 man 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

Boral Bricks Inc., Roswell, Georgia — LEED Gold Standards
Boral’s plant in Terre Haute, In. 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. Additionally, the natural day lighting provides a brighter, more natural workplace environment and the indigenous landscaping eliminates the need for routine maintenance and irrigation.
Glen-Gery Corp., Wyomissing, Pennsylvania — Upgrade Facility Lighting
As part of Glen-Gery’s overall goal to produce products with less energy, its energy conservation program utilized 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 2,800,000 KWH annually and reduced the company’s carbon footprint by 2, 610 tons annually.
Founded in 1934, the Brick Industry Association (BIA) is the nationally recognized authority on clay brick construction representing the nation’s distributors and manufacturers of clay brick and suppliers of related products. Web site: or / 703-620-0010 .

Stephen Sears
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