Carlo Ditta Ready Mix Concrete's Joseph Ditta is certain New Orleans will prosper again.

Chris Black, an area manager, was awarded for his heroic efforts as a major in the Louisiana National Guard. He and others evacuated their fellow soldiers, and then launched self-directed missions outside the base to rescue hundreds of people from their destroyed homes

Todd Kraft also took time from his regular duties as a salesman for the North Shore territory. After evacuating his family, his part-time job as a reserve deputy member of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department turned full time, as he performed a number of duties.

Eddie Dugas, area manager in Houma, La., also got involved. Dugas and his wife waited out the storm and planned to help the elderly people of his small community. The avid sportsman provided a flotilla of canoes, johnboats, and other watercraft.

Tips for Preparation
  • Establish an employee contact procedure. Employees should provide contact information for family members living outside the area. Store this far from the storm.
  • Designate someone from another location as a default manager. Give employees his phone numbers as an emergency customer/employee contact. This helps if the regular manager can't be found.
  • Develop a plant shutdown plan. Consult your plant manufacturer to determine whether to leave aggregate bins/ silos empty or full. Producers usually unload all cementitious materials.
  • Plan to move trucks to secure areas. Once parked, some producers load mixer drums to about half full with coarse aggregate to prevent tipping from high winds.
  • Establish when the plant will reopen after the storm. Some have a policy to reopen 48 hours after the end of an evacuation order to allow time to reconnect utilities. It also gives employees time to make sure their families are safe.
  • Provide watertight containers for the office to protect plant handbooks and important papers.
  • Producers Step Up

    Two of our industry's largest producers made significant financial contributions to New Orleans' rebuilding efforts. Last fall, the U.S. division of Cemex donated almost $570,000 to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Cemex matched employee contributions two-to-one. For employees whose gifts equaled or exceeded 1% of their salaries, Cemex increased the match to three-to-one.

    Lafarge North America set aside $1 million to support relief and rebuilding efforts. The pledge will fund support for Lafarge employees and their families who were directly affected by the hurricane, as well as nonprofit groups' rebuilding efforts.