Lessons Learned From a Different Sandbox

Nov 8, 2019 12:40 PM ET
Article

You might think that at 39, I’m a little old for playing in the sandbox, but six years at Covia (NYSE: CVIA) proved just the opposite. It turns out there are still lessons to be learned, especially while leading the sustainability efforts in the largest producer of industrial sand in North America.

I went to work at Fairmount Minerals in December 2013, and in August 2014, the company became Fairmount Santrol when it went public. In 2018, Fairmount Santrol merged with Unimin, another leading producer of industrial sand, to form Covia. It was a sandstorm, in more ways than one—from taking a privately-held company public, then merging with another large industrial sand producer, all while attempting to integrate sustainability into every aspect of the business in a way that was meaningful and measurable.

The years 2013 and 2014 were big for sand in North America. Sand is a critical component to our daily lives. It’s used in products from windshields to clean water to natural gas production. If you play golf in North America and hit the ball into a sand trap, it was likely Covia’s sand. Covia’s markets include customers in oil and gas, foundry, glass, water filtration, pool filtration, sports & recreation markets, and building products industries.

I learned many lessons in my time at Covia, starting with this one: don’t rule out any industry. You can be amazed at what you’ll learn when you think outside your normal playground. Here are some additional lessons learned from the ‘Sandman for Sustainability.’

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