“Digging” Into the Local Economy

April 05, 2024 | Written by: Campbell Wheby

Crystal Gaddy, Business Retention and Expansion Manager, at Martin Marietta.

Lee County boasts a rich natural history, with diversity and composition stemming from various sources. Our position on the fall line of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain provides a conducive environment for plant and animal species to thrive. Digging deeper (pun intended), our county contains three different geologic terranes, meaning the crust formed on a tectonic plate and layers accumulated on top of each other over time. Our geology is unique and contributes to a rich history in natural resource-based building materials, thus making our former title of “Brick Capital of the USA” a fitting one! The natural resource advantage in Lee County has, in many ways, contributed to the diversity of industries we see here today.

Many companies have been established in Lee County for decades, working with natural resources. In Lemon Springs, Martin Marietta uses what lies underneath our soil to produce building materials that surround us every day. The quarry began in 1972. Today, it has multiple employees who have been with the company for 30 to 45 years.  Some employees have brought their adult children into the company, which shows their true trust and confidence in their employer. SAGA’s Business Retention & Expansion efforts led us to visit the site and meet the Lemon Springs Team, and it was an impressive visit. The sheer size of the quarry and equipment in use immediately delivers appreciation for the company’s clear core value of safety. The quarry has won 1st Place in Safety within the company multiple years and has been in the Top 10 Leading Sites for Safety for six years straight. The company-wide safety program, “Guardian Angels,” is promoted across the site. Moving through the site and witnessing the precision and systems for blasting, breaking, and transporting aggregates gave new appreciation for where our “rock” comes from. The Lemon Springs site is the largest aggregate producer per ton on the east coast for Martin Marietta. This essential building material supplies numerous builders across our county and region, which is evident in the constant stream of customer trucks pulling into the facility daily. The site has rail access, allowing train shipments east to the Wilmington area. The quarry is a critical regional resource; how long can you go during your day without seeing gravel, crushed stone, or concrete and asphalt construction that use quarry aggregate?

With 38 employees, a value for safety, and an extensive economic impact on our local and regional economy, Martin Marietta is an important industry partner in Lee County. As it continues into its 50-plus-year residence here, Martin Marietta continues to make strides in sustainability. “Proud to provide the solid foundation upon which our communities thrive,” the company strives to be stewards of the resources on which they depend. Responsible practices and minimization of environmental impact remain commitments for the company and for the community they call home.

Crystal Gaddy, Business Retention and Expansion Manager