Carl Van Hoozier earned the nickname Carl Van Vulcan for good reason. Leading up to his recent retirement, Carl spent the last 45 years of his life climbing the ranks of Vulcan Materials building a diverse and celebrated career.
Carl’s story started in the lawn of Vulcan Materials’ Knoxville division office. As a teen, Carl mowed the lawns of his neighbors to earn extra cash to help pay for his expenses. One of his neighbors was an employee at Vulcan who knew the company needed a hand with their office lawn. He asked Carl if he’d be willing to cut the grass down at the office. Carl accepted the work with one stipulation: Vulcan Materials would need to put him on the payroll consistently. The company agreed, and Carl started regularly mowing the lawn and helping out with maintenance work around the building and the mailroom. In exchange for their consistent work, Carl dedicated his summer breaks to the company to help with whatever they needed from him. The partnership continued through his college years at the University of Tennessee, where Carl was studying business.
Once he graduated from UT with his business degree, Carl had a decision to make. He could go to work with his father at another local business that sold earth mover tires to companies like Vulcan, or he could continue his own career path at Vulcan Materials. Carl had become familiar with Vulcan over the years, and he fell in love with the business in the process. He opted to carve his own career through his own hard work and merit with Vulcan, and he has never looked back.
Construction: The Satisfaction in Crushed Stone
Carl genuinely enjoyed the crushing stone side of construction industry. From his very first visit to a quarry, Carl was hooked. In fact, Carl admits that he still got excited about going out to do work in the quarries throughout his long career with Vulcan, even when his roles changed with the company.
“I like the process,” Carl shared. “There’s not a lot of businesses that you can truly work from the very beginning and carry it through to the very end. We start the dig with the drilling and blasting, and we see it all the way through the extraction, crushing, sizing, and then selling to our customer. It’s satisfying to experience the start-to-finish process.”
Leadership in Construction
After college Carl went into Quality Control full-time and oversaw five quarries. His passion for the work and his commitment to the company made Carl a great fit for sales, and he moved into a sales representative role. Carl’s success on the sales side, including selling Ready Mix Concrete, made him the natural selection to manage the Ready Mix operation. Sales was a great experience for Carl to develop relationships with Vulcan customers, but he missed the stone side of the business. He moved to Nashville to focus on his career as a quarry operations manager for several years before being recruited into a district sales manager in Nashville then back to Knoxville as a regional sales manager, where Carl called home.
“Every good sales person is going to be involved in the community,” Carl said. “You get to know the local politicians and local businesspeople through the sales roles. That’s one thing about a quarry: it’s a local business and it plays a very important role in the vitality of a local economy.”
Those relationships paid off for Carl. He was tapped to become the head of Government Affairs and Community Relations and Process Improvement Manager for the Central Division, which is where he worked until his retirement in March 2020.
“I miss the people and I miss the work,” Carl said of his retirement. “Once you start in the quarry business, you don’t seem to want to leave. Most of us really love what we do, and the equipment is amazing.”
In Construction, Teams Matter
Carl’s experience working in the quarries emphasized the need for a well-functioning, highly communicative team. No one person alone can make a quarry run, and there are numerous people who must bring their own individual expertise to make it work, including geologists, safety managers, accountants, purchasing agents, equipment operators, and more. There are a number of people who must work hard and do their job well to make quarries operate correctly–and that reliance on the larger team is part of that hard, yet rewarding, work.
“If there’s a weak link, it messes up everyone else,” Carl said. “Everyone works hard to have a good, strong production day. It’s great to see, because there’s not much our work doesn’t touch. It impacts everything. Our product helped build Kentucky from the ground up, literally. Every home has crushed stone in it. All the roads and the parking lots, too. There’s very little that aggregates don’t touch.”
Becoming Mr. Van Vulcan
Carl may miss the work, but he’s keeping himself plenty busy in his retired days. Pandemic impacts aside, he is serving on three different community nonprofit board of directors’ positions and continues to remain involved in the industry.
As for his nickname “Carl Van Vulcan”? Carl loves it.
“I know I’m biased, but Vulcan Materials Company is a great company to build a career and a wonderful place to work. They’ve been mighty good to me.”
To learn more about Vulcan Materials Company, visit their website here. To learn more about a career in aggregates, consider exploring the Kentucky Aggregate Technician Program. Details are available on the Kentucky Crushed Stone Association website.