‘Safety First’ Draws Pride & Commitment at Rinker Materials

Bart Denney, general manager at Rinker Materials, runs a tight ship, and safety is his number one concern. In fact, fostering and implementing a safety culture is so important to Denney and Rinker Materials that it leaves little to no time to deal with the hiring process. Therefore, the company relies heavily on the staffing professionals at Employment Solutions.


Founded in 1963 and acquired by CEMEX in 2007, Rinker Materials is an industry leader in product innovation, technical expertise, high quality products, safety, and customer service. As one of the nation’s largest and leading manufacturers of concrete pipe and related products, Rinker serves 30 states with over 40 facilities.


“Rinker Materials has been recognized nationally for many things, but what sets them apart from the competition is their safety record, policies, and procedures,” shared Tom Weddel, outside sales rep for Employment Solutions.


“Our driving statement is, ‘You are your brother’s keeper,’” Denney elaborated. “When you come into this plant, not only am I responsible for you because I have the experience, but you are just as responsible to watch out for me even though you do not have the experience.”


Denney also strongly believes that safety and quality are so very close in rank of importance that without the safety culture, quality culture suffers. “And then the production efficiency suffers,” he explained. “Safety has to be what everything else is built on.”


While Denney and the Rinker workforce are ready and willing to teach new hires the job, they must first have a safety mindset and be ready to accept the company’s safety culture. “And credit for our success in this goes to Employment Solutions,” he shared. “Tom and [the Employment Solutions team] have been phenomenal in truly understanding our business,” said Denney. “They take what we are looking for and put it into a model to see if folks are going to fit or not.”


Denney and the Employment Solutions team often sit down together to examine topics such as company pay rates and benefits and how they compare to the current market. “We question whether we want to be at the top or the bottom of the pay scale and whether we want to draw committed, long term employees or part time employees,” Denney explained.


In addition, he also receives ongoing reports detailing how many people are seeking employment, average pay rates, benefits comparisons, etc. This type of information helps Denney identify employees who are more likely to be interested in long term opportunities. “There is a certain percentage that are more interested in the dollar per hour than long term,” he explained. “And through these conversations and reports, it has become apparent that Employment Solutions is in tune with the job market and they understand my business and what my needs are.”


And Employment Solutions knows that understanding Rinker’s business relies heavily on believing in their safety culture, and Denney is assured of this belief in the resulting hires. “When these folks come in the door, they know exactly what to expect in terms of our expectations,” he explained.


And while not wanting to jinx it, Denney was proud to share that their injury record is clean. “We have had a huge amount of temporary employees come through over the past two summers,” he said. “And every single one has fit right into our safety culture.”


Being proud of the work they do is also an important piece of the Rinker culture. “We talk about pride every week,” he said. “Just as there are professional football players and professional baseball players, we are professionals at what we do…and that pride carries a lot of weight.”


Denney further shared that his plant holds open weekly staff meetings. “The number of temp folks that have input in those meetings is staggering, and a lot of times the temps will start a conversation that the senior guys will then jump into to give their input,” he said. “That is critical—whether you are full time or part time, we are “our brother’s keeper’ and we are proud.”


Together, with the proud Rinker safety culture and Employment Solutions’ appropriate recruitment and interview processes, Denney recognizes that his odds of retaining qualified, committed employees is stronger than ever. Currently, an estimated 30% of the workforce hired through Employment Solutions is now fulfilling full time positions.


And this past week, the Employment Solutions team was onsite with pizza to celebrate Rinker employees who were moving over to full time status and becoming permanent employees. “That is going above and beyond, and celebrating these guys builds onto our safety culture,” said Denney. “What we do is hard—it’s cold, it’s hot, it’s dirty; thank yous go a very long way.”