World Cement talks to John Stull, CEO of US Cement at LafargeHolcim about his career, the challenges facing the cement industry, the importance of sustainability - and the most interesting place he's visited.
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"Five Minutes With... John Stull"
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Describe your job in a sentence
As CEO of the largest cement maker in the US, my focus is on reliable delivery for our customers, protection of the environment, and the health and safety of our workforce.
How did you start in the cement industry?
I have always been fascinated by the industry’s ability to transform commonly available materials, such as limestone, aggregate, and sand, into structures that are essential to our society and that endure for many generations. I feel manufacturing these materials in a safe and sustainable manner is our responsibility to current and future generations. This is why I chose to study engineering and to work in this industry. At LafargeHolcim, our R&D group partners with university research teams to develop innovative cement products that enhance lives and meet the design challenges of the 21st Century.
What is your proudest career achievement?
I am fortunate to have worked with great teams of professionals over the course of my career on many innovative and challenging projects across the globe. The completion of One World Trade Center in New York City is a project that certainly is high on my list of career highlights. Not only is this an iconic project for LafargeHolcim, it is a building that is symbolic to all Americans, and a testament to the strength and resiliency of the American people. I am proud to have worked with a team that contributed to the sustainable design of this building.
What is the biggest challenge facing the cement industry?
The cement industry faces the challenge of delivering sustainable and cost-effective building solutions to our customers. In the US, affordable housing and infrastructure maintenance and development are critical to economic growth.
What strategies can the industry employ to solve this challenge?
The industry can more effectively and efficiently petition the government for a properly and predictably funded infrastructure programme, which is essential for the productivity and success of our country.
What is the most interesting place you have visited?
As regional president of Lafarge Sub-Saharan Africa division, I lived in Cairo, surrounded by ancient Egyptian architecture. The engineering and execution of these structures, built without the benefit of modern equipment, is inspiring. It’s a constant reminder that our industry has a lasting impact and that our decisions today leave a legacy for future generations.
Tell us something we may not know about LafargeHolcim
Health and safety is our way of life at LafargeHolcim. We are continually monitoring the workplace safety conditions at all of our facilities, conducting Health and Safety Audits and empowering our employees to speak up, if they see something or identify a situation that needs improvement.
What’s next for LafargeHolcim?
The merger of LafargeHolcim is successfully behind us now and our focus is on the next chapter of our company’s development. In the US, our technical expertise and cement distribution network is second to none in the industry. This translates to shorter supply lines and the ability to deliver quality product to large projects. We will continue to focus on delivering innovative and quality products to our customers and working with them to find solutions that are sustainable and economical.
Do you have a final message for the industry?
I can speak only for and to LafargeHolcim – and my message to my colleagues there is that we need to increase our commitment to sustainability and set new standards. Road safety is an excellent example of this type of action. If our company insists that our transport adhere to the highest standards and use the best technology, we can make a difference. Additionally, our company’s goal is to promote sustainable construction solutions based on a life-cycle approach that looks at the energy consumed over the entire life of the building or road. At LafargeHolcim, we are committed to sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations.
This article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of World Cement. Interested in reading more like this? Sign up for a FREE TRIAL subscription here.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/special-reports/23042018/five-minutes-with-john-stull/