In fact, during the past five years, the workforce has grown from about 80 or so local employees to 107 in the Chino Valley-Paulden area. Another 16 people are involved in administration, accounting and sales at the corporate headquarters in Scottsdale.
The parent company is in Peru.
The payroll almost doubled from around $5 million five years ago to an estimated $8 million in 2018. Entry-level jobs start at $16 an hour, with full benefits. Wages can increase to almost double that.
Drake Vice President for Environment, Health and Safety and Compliance David Chavez says, “Economic indicators forecast continued growth.”
Because of such expansion, the physical plant has also grown, with an emphasis on improved plant efficiency, maintenance, employee training and safety.
In the last year, Drake constructed a training facility, complete with locker rooms with showers for employees. In the plans is a sophisticated maintenance shop adjacent to existing offices and the control room area so that mechanical, maintenance and support personnel will have a modern facility to perform plant repairs. Expansion of electrical facilities is also scheduled.
“Drake has captured 30 percent of the Arizona cement and aggregate market,” said CEO Enrique Rozas, a native of Peru who has been working in Arizona for several years. “We’re supplying cement to a couple of other companies, too. The demand continues to grow.”
“We’re especially proud that our plant was awarded federal recognition in 2015 and again in 2017 for having the best safety record of any plant in the nation,” said Drake Director of Cement Operations Lawrence “Tony” Turner. “Those are the highest honors the company can receive.”
Karen Otis, administrative and community involvement coordinator has been with the company for 11 years, says opportunities have increased for company involvement and support of the greater community.
Turner says the company values its role in the community. “All of us are proud of this facility and the contributions it makes to the local economy in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.”
The Drake plant opened in June 2011, and has been producing two kinds of cement—Type II for general use and Type V, which has a low alkaline content. Both types of Portland cement are manufactured in a “closed loop” system, which means that virtually no gaseous or particulate emissions occur, say company officials.
One of the newest cement plants constructed in the United States and the latest to be built in Arizona, the plant is monitored regularly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to make sure no harmful environmental impacts occur.
Currently, most cement produced is trucked to Maricopa County. The plant has the capacity for producing up to 2,200 tons of cement a day.
The limestone supply, which is quarried near the manufacturing plant, is estimated to be good for at least 100 years.
Chavez says the cement plant is a strong contributor to the community, not just economically, but also socially and culturally. An important relationship, he says, involves having internships and consulting projects with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and Yavapai College (YC). ERAU faculty members and students provide scientific and analytical advice to Drake officials about how the company can continue its success. YC consults about advanced electronic circuitry.
Drake is a member of several community groups and organizations, including the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society, the Senior Events Center and similar groups. In addition, the company and its employees support the Chino Valley Police Department, the local schools and Future Farmers of America.
“We have employees who are active in the Yavapai County Education Foundation, the Yavapai County Spelling Bee, Habitat for Humanity, Women in Business and several Quad Cities job fairs,” he said. “We also use local vendors and suppliers as much as we can when possible. We want Drake to be viewed as more than just a major employer. It is a positive community asset.” QCBN
By Ray Newton, QCBN
For more information about Drake Cement LLC, visit drakeus.com.
Drake executives, CEO Enrique Rozas and Director of Cement Operations and Tony Turner take pride in the company’s goals of service, excellence, respect and value. (Photo by Ray Newton)