Although Dave Fletcher took over as Holcim Devils Slide plant manager May 8, he is no stranger to the company or area.
Fletcher is a native of Mississippi and majored in chemical engineering at the University of Mississippi. Fletcher’s wife is a native of Georgia. His first job was in the pulp and paper industry in the Georgia area. At the time, it was the world’s largest pulp and paper mill.
Five years later, his career took him to Maine, where he worked another seven years as operations manager in the pulp, paper, towel and tissue industry. While there, he and his wife added a son and daughter to their family.
The family moved to Georgia in 1993, when Fletcher took a job at Akzo Nobel, a paints and coatings company that produces specialty chemicals. He worked for that company as the technical marketing manager for eight years and another six years as director of U.S. operations.
In 2006, Fletcher was hired by Holcim Inc. as their general manager in Duluth, Georgia. He worked there for three years before taking over as general manager at Holcim in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada. Fletcher also worked as the energy optimization direction for Holcim for a year.
In all, he called Canada home for four years before moving to Summit County when taking over as plant manager at the Devils Slide plant. His children are both furthering their studies out of state: his daughter in Florida and his son in Georgia.
In the Toronto area, the plant was surrounded by 5 million people and Fletcher said it was important Holcim acted as a proponent of the community.
“It was good for us and good for the community,” Fletcher said. “It is an important aspect of our role in society.”
It is something he plans to carry out in Morgan County as well. He said his community advisory committee meets quarter to explore the needs of the community and how his company can meet them in a lasting, quality manner.
“The company will continue to invest in the area,” he said.
He first saw the Morgan Area around 2006, when he worked as the Holcim general manager in Georgia.
“I thought it was a beautiful area that would be a great place to live,” he said.
Since moving here from Canada, he said he has enjoyed the area quite a bit.
“Folks are nice, very supportive. There is a strong community focus,” Fletcher said in his office, which had an aerial view of the plant on the wall. “I am pleased with the great group of employees that create a team environment.”
He said Morgan resident’s good work ethic makes the area unique. He has met several employees who claim their family has been working for the cement plant for generations.
“It is in their blood,” he said. “They know how to work together as a team.”
Fletcher said in his travels while working with Holcim, he has seen plants in various stages of their life cycle. It is refreshing to work in the Devils Slide plant, which is one of the most modern facilities in the company since being built in 1997. He said since the Devils Slide cement plant’s beginning in 1904, the facility has been revamped three times.
“It shows this is a major focus as far as the market goes,” Fletcher said.
The faltering economy affected Holcim as it did many other cement companies. However, Holcim had one of the strongest balance sheets heading into the recession compared to many of its competitors.
“We have maintained a reasonable balance sheet and have retained a good bond rating,” Fletcher said while surrounded by various spreadsheets littering his otherwise tidy desk. “The company thinks long term, 50 to 100 years in advance.”
And he said the Devils Slide plant, located on a large deposit of limestone, has a long history in front of it. “We’re on a good deposit here,” he said. The area is also a good source of silica, which comes from local sand. Other components of cement are shipped into the Devils Slide plant including iron and clay.
“From a process technology standpoint, the plant runs very well,” Fletcher said.
Keith Krugh, the former Devils Slide plant manager, took a job managing the St. Louis, Missouri, Holcim plant.
Fletcher said as he moves forward, his priorities, in this order, include keeping the plant safe, complying with the laws of the land, and producing a quality product. In the meantime, he plans to help out at the many community events Holcim sponsors, as well as run, golf, hunt and fish. He looks forward to exploring the many national parks in the state, as well as sampling the skiing the area has to offer.