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Montana City plant wins top energy award

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World Cement,

Energy and resource management are priorities at Ash Grove Cement Company and for 2015, its Montana City, Montana, plant won top honours in the annual Ash Grove Energy Management (AGem) Outstanding Plant of the Year competition.

"The Montana City employees have worked very hard at efficiency and conserving resources,” said Andy Lippert, corporate energy director for Ash Grove Cement Company. “We commend them, and all Ash Grove employees, on successfully increasing efficiency, reducing emissions and promoting sustainability in their operations.”

Since 2008, eight Ash Grove cement manufacturing plants and two grinding facilities have competed to earn the award. Each facility is evaluated on an extensive matrix of data that is focused on energy use, efficiency and cost. The AGem process involves the entire plant workforce as well as overhead and support groups. Most suggestions to reduce energy usage and costs come from plant employees. More than four years ago the process had exceeded the goal of saving US$20 million in energy costs across all plants and terminals, and it continues to drive additional savings.

Each plant has its own AGem champion who coordinates the AGem activities, which include monthly meetings, idea promotion, idea solicitation and project evaluation. The AGem process partners the company with local vendors, national suppliers, utilities, energy suppliers and contractors as well as local and state governments to identify, implement, finance or develop worthy ideas. New projects since 2012 have included installation of LED lighting, variable frequency drive motors, high efficiency motors and more efficient processing equipment.

Lippert scores each plant every month based on 12 metrics. Those scores are tabulated and the plant with the highest score is recommended to Ash Grove senior staff as the leading plant to receive the award. For 2015, Ash Grove senior staff selected Montana City as the outstanding AGem plant of the year.

“Our team is honoured to win the AGem award,” said Montana City Plant Manager Dick Johnson. “This recognition is possible because all our employees are committed to identifying and incorporating ways to conserve fuel and electricity.”

The Montana City cement manufacturing plant employs 79 and began operations in 1964. The plant has earned numerous safety awards including the Ash Grove President’s Gold Safety award.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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