Program Report: Ward Nye – Martin-Marietta

A full house of Durham Rotarians sat down to listen to Ward Nye (no relation as far as I know to the science guy).

President Seth Jernigan introduced him in a speech “that could have been written by my Mother!”, said Mr. Nye, leading all to infer that Mr. Nye was well-loved indeed.  Ward Nye is Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Martin Marietta Materials, a large company.  He also serves on numerous other company boards and lives in Raleigh.

Yes, “materials”.  Some older Rotarians may remember M-M as an aerospace company, a part of Lockheed Martin.  They built many major engineering projects like nuclear power plants, the Walt Disney monorail and modified Titan II rockets.  Martin Marietta Materials specializes in heavy construction materials – such as aggregates, concrete and asphalt.

Mr. Nye gave a polished talk describing the aims of the company and its 400 current operations throughout the country. He emphasized the values of the company and its emphasis on safety – not a trivial matter in this kind of business.  They aim to go beyond the legal requirements of OSHA.  Working for M-M is apparently statistically safer than working for Wal-Mart.

MMM is very concerned that their projects have a “social license”, the concurrence and support of the local community. Some twenty percent of its business is in fact in housing.  Mr. Nye was optimistic about Durham and how we are doing.

There was time for a couple of questions. One was “Are we running out of sand?”  Mr. Nye seemed a little surprised by the question. His response was basically that there is sand and there is sand implying that there were shortages of certain types of sand but that we shouldn’t worry about the beaches.

Submitted by JS

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