Workforce Alliance visits Middle Creek Quarry
The Middle Creek Quarry in Hawley employs 25 workers and has 14 million tons of reserved stone. Part of the stone gets produced into Asphalt. Asphalt production begins with blasting, crushing and screening stone. Then stone, sand and liquid asphalt cement are mixed together with high heat. The Middle Creek Quarry uses recycled oil to run the Asphalt Plant and has used 180,000 gallons of recycled oil since the beginning of 2016. Since 2004 Leeward Asphalt has produced over 1,778,377 tons of Asphalt.
Please click on the link below to view the tour and a blast.
News Eagle article by Peter Becker Managing Editor
PALMYRA TWP. (Wayne) – Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance hosted the third annual “Manufacturing Day Tour” October 7th, showcasing several examples of employers in the area producing a product. Among the stops of the tour bus was E. R. Leeward Construction Corp.’s Middle Creek Quarry, overlooking Hawley Borough.
Twenty three people took the tour.
Gary Linde, president of the company, described the operations on the ridge top and its importance to their company as well as local economy.
25 years of work
Leeward employs about 205 full time employees, with 25 of them working at Middle Creek Quarry. He estimated that they currently have about 14 million tons of stone to extract, that will keep their operation busy for the next 25 years. Linde called the Middle Creek Quarry the centerpiece of their operation, touching the many projects that they do. Stone is also produced for other contractors.
They transport a lot to Susquehanna County due to the Marcellus Shalle industry.
Both crushed stone and asphalt are produced at the 80 acre site.
Since 2004 Leeward Asphalt has produced 1,778,377.42 tons. Since the start of 2016 Leeward has produced over 120,000 tons of asphalt.
Their Middle Creek Quarry Division supplies many types of stone needed for Leeward’s construction projects. Stone is also extracted for the asphalt plant. Since 2003, Middle Creek Quarry has produced 2,952,891.82 tons of stone; 30,000 tons have been produced since the beginning of 2016.
About nine to 10 months of the year they use the big asphalt plant. They also recycle asphalt taken from road projects. A smaller plant is used to re-run the material through to get them through the winter. The last few years the weather has permitted the to keep operating year-round.
Asphalt is made by rising an aggregate of stones and sand with liquid asphalt cement, a petroleum product. Varying sizes of aggregates are heated, then mixed in exact proportions with asphalt cement that has been liquified to about 300 degrees F.
Recycled oil is used. Much of it comes from cruise ships.
The company raises approximately $40 million to $50 million a year. They have about $30 million in back-log in work, to do if the weather allows through the winter.
“The past two years have been very busy,” Linde said, “we’ve actually been operating at our limit.”
A deal was about to be closed, to add two asphalt silos to their asphalt plant so they can store 500 tons of asphalt. Linde said this would increase production by 30% to 40% a day.
For the benefit of high school students exploring their career options, Linde explained they Leeward offers good paying jobs. The industry doesn’t necessarily require a four year degree. “Most of my superintendents started off as a laborers and worked their way up in the operation,” he said.
“We hire younger people, and all they really need is a will to work,” Linde said. “We basically train them in-house, whether it is heavy equipment operation, or working on the crusher plants.” He said they have have a staff of about 10 mechanics, three full-time welders and an engineering department that does all their bidding and working on design.
The Marcellus Shale boom, he said, took a lot of their workers who went for “quick, high-paying jobs” but since the boom has slowed down, a lot of them have come back.
Colleen Edwards, Career Coordinator at Wallenpaupack Area High School, came on the tour with sophomore Micah Conant. Following the tour at the quarry, Micah said, “I liked it a lot, it was awesome.” Taking the engineering program at school, he said he is still exploring his options. He said he was also interested in what he learned at Spiral Tool Corporation, which was the tour stop prior to coming to Middle Creek Quarry.
Extracting the stone requires blasting, and the group had the opportunity to watch it happen from a safe distance. After the required warning blasts, the dynamite went off and along with the boom a cloud of dust rose into the air.
Asked further about the blasting on the ridge line above town, Linde said that since Leeward took over the entire Middle Creek Quarry several months ago, he believes there have been less concerns. They have built up barriers of dirt and rock to help muffle the sound.
Before they blast, Leeward telephones the Palmyra Twosnhip office a couple hours ahead of time, although if the office is closed only a message is left on the answering machine. There is a seismograph in place to record the impact of the blasts, and the PA Department of Environmental Protection does regular inspections.
Some blasts that are heard, however, may also be from the quarry next door (Atkinson Materials).
The Manufacturing Day Tour was supported by the Wayne County Commissioners, WEDCO, Chamber of the Northern Poconos. Wayne Tomorrow and Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (NEPIRC).
The Wayne County Commissioners issued a proclamation designating “Manufacturing Day” ahead of the event. Cheryl Duquette, Director of Program Development at Workforce Wayne, said that the purpose of the tour is to let community leaders be aware of their local manufacturers. She remarked at the Commissioners meeting that there are many manufacturers “behind the scenes” in the area and learning about their operation is an “eye opener.”
They also highlight the variety of options for careers that young people may want to explore. Students, guidance counselors and teachers were joining the tour.
The full list of manufacturers visited that day include:
- Spiral Tool Corporation, Shohola
- Leeward’s Middle Creek Quarry, near Hawley
- Rickard’s Cider Mill, near Honesdale
- St. Clair Graphics, Honesdale
- New Wave Custom Woodworking, White Mills
- Visual Expressions, Hawley.
“Our 3rd Annual Manufacturing Day Tour was fantastic! It is very impressive to see what is manufactured in our two-county region and how it ties back to the education and skills used to support those jobs,” Duquette said. She expressed thanks to their various sponsoring organizations and the Commissioners.
Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance is located at 92 Main Ave., Hawley, PA. For more information about the Alliance and the tour, call 570-390-7613 or visit www.wpworkforce.org/2016-manufacturing-day-tour.