Live Local, Act Local | Partnering with the United Way of Baldwin County

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United Way Award 2015

Vulcan Aluminum Sales Manager, Todd Koniar (left), accepting an award on behalf of Vulcan for being a United Way Leading Company for 2014 (Chairman of the UWBC Board, Will Murray, on right)

Giving back has always been a part of the culture at Vulcan. Whether it is sponsoring a local youth sports team or hosting a food drive to support local agencies that help families in need, giving back is a core value we strongly believe in.

For over 40 years, Vulcan has proudly partnered with the United Way of Baldwin County (UWBC), an organization that works tirelessly to aid over 30 local, non-profit agencies such as the American Red Cross, the Bay Area Food Bank and YMCA of South Alabama.

UWBC Mission: (Courtesy – United Way of Baldwin County website)

The United Way of Baldwin County’s collaborative effort with health and human service agencies works to build, grow and enhance the well-being of citizens in Baldwin County.

UWBC Vision: (Courtesy – United Way of Baldwin County website)

The United Way of Baldwin County is a network of organizations that brings people together to tackle community issues. Our goal is to create lasting change by addressing the underlying causes to problems in the areas of health, education and financial stability. This is accomplished through a collaborative effort with our community partners and programs designed to address the needs of Baldwin County citizens.

Not only does Vulcan give to the UWBC as a corporation, but a large percentage of Vulcan employees give consistently via payroll deduction. This collective effort has allowed us to receive the award for one of the UWBC Leading Companies of 2014. We are honored to receive this award and view it as a challenge to exceed donations for 2015.

Remembering September 11, 2001 | 14 Years Later

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Vulcan flags were at half mast today in remembrance of

September 11, 2001.

It is hard to believe it has been 14 years since that tragic day. Just as many Americans remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that JFK had been assassinated, the memory of 9/11 can instantly flood our minds with the catastrophic events that occurred on that day. We would like to take a moment of reflection as we share a moving video produced by the United States Naval Academy’s Contemporary a capella group, the Anchormen.

In remembrance of the anniversary of September 11th, the 11 members of the United States Naval Academy’s Contemporary a capella group, the Anchormen, pause to honor the lives of those affected by one of the worst attacks on American soil. This video is meant as a tribute to those who gave their lives then as well as the men and women who currently stand in defense of this great nation.

 

Welcome to the Family | A New Sales Manager for Vulcan Utility Signs

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We are excited to welcome a new member to the Vulcan Family! Shannon Melton is joining us as the new Sales Manager for Vulcan Utility Signs. After a short Q & A session we think you’ll agree, he’s going fit right in and be a great asset to our team!

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Vulcan: So Shannon, tell us a little bit about where you are from?

Shannon: I am a “local” resident of the Gulf Coast having grown up in Pascagoula, MS.

Vulcan: We are all about family at Vulcan, so tell us about your fam jam!

Shannon: I have been married to Lora for over 27 years.  We have two children – Olivia is a Junior in college and Samuel is in eighth grade.

Vulcan: Have you always lived in the South?

Shannon: Lora is also from the Pascagoula area, but during our marriage I have dragged her to Cincinnati, OH for two years, to Madison, MS for six years, and most recently to Houston, TX for a year.  However, we lived in Orange Beach for seventeen years prior to the move to Texas and are thrilled to have the opportunity to come back home.  A significant part of my summer as a youth were spent in Silverhill at my Grandparents (John L and Lilly Belle Simpson) house on County Road 104 – so yes, I can shuck & silk corn, pick peas & butterbeans, and eat fried okra.

Vulcan: What do you miss most about summer’s at your grandparent’s house?

Shannon: Definitely the homemade biscuits with my Grandma’s knuckle prints where she used her hand to flatten them.  Her knuckle prints were perfect for holding extra syrup!

Vulcan: We must now ask you a very serious question… do you root for Alabama or Auburn?

Shannon: Neither! I am an alumni of Mississippi State (Hail State!) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Vulcan: How did you make the transition from Engineering to Sales?

Shannon: I worked for over ten years total as an Engineer for Ingalls Shipbuilding, General Electric, and Eaton.  I took advantage of an opportunity to move into Sales while at Eaton and spent the last two years as a Sales/Operations Leader with HYDAC International.

Vulcan: Are you excited to be starting this new chapter with Vulcan?

Shannon: With almost two decades of Sales and Sales / Operations Management experience, I am confident I can bring value to Vulcan and I appreciate the Senior Leaders giving me an opportunity to prove it.  I also get that I work for each of you as owners of Vulcan.  My goal is to earn your trust and make you feel the investment in allowing me to join the Vulcan family is a good one.

Vulcan: Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Shannon: When I retire I am going to be a white water rafting guide.  My wife keeps asking me if I have ever noticed how young all of the guides look.  I am still not sure what she is insinuating, but I think I should be mad about it!

 

Lending a Helping Hand | The Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation

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Director of The Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, Allison Faircloth, excited about the arrival of their new sign provided by Vulcan Signs!

Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation

Playing an active role in supporting local community organizations is something that Vulcan has always made a top priority. By doing so, we are nurturing the development of countless programs that many of our employee-owners and their family members benefit from. The Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation is one type program we are proud to have supported over the years.

According to jennifermoorefoundation.com, “The foundation was named in honor and memory of Jennifer Claire Moore, a 16 year old high school student who lost her life to suicide in 1997.  Jennifer’s family wanted to enable all young people to have access to assistance, understanding and positive reinforcement when they needed it.  In the hope that something good could develop from the tragic circumstances of her passing, her family founded the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation in 1998. Today, there are 47 schools partnered with the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation to have Peer Helper programs serving a population of approximately 31,000 K-12 students in Baldwin County Public Schools, Bayside Academy, Christ the King Catholic School, Saint Benedict Catholic School and Alabama Gulf Coast Christian Academy. Suicide prevention is still a critical issue that is addressed by the program; however, many more emotional, societal, and educational issues are now additionally a focus of Peer Helpers in their respective schools.”

We feel honored to be able to partner with this incredible foundation that has impacted literally thousands of lives… and many more to come.

#alabamagulfcoast #community #lendahelpinghand

Simplify | Ordering Across Multiple Locations Just Got Easier

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Has ordering marking products become too much of a chore for your corporation? Over the years, we have heard horror stories about how consistent ordering across multiple field locations is nearly an impossible task. One location orders flexible fiberglass markers from Company A, while another aluminum signs from Company B, while yet another orders from Company C. With no specifications to go by, it is easy for ordering to become a free-for-all and what you end up with is zero brand consistency among each location. You want your signage and pipeline markings easily identifiable whether you are in Texas or North Carolina, right? At Vulcan Utility Signs, we have developed a solution. Our Marking Standards Manual illustrates signs and markers specific to your corporation that are approved to order, along with item numbers and specifications. The manual is easily distributed in digital format, ensuring each field location will have easy access. It’s a no-brainer if you ask us. So go ahead, simplify! There is absolutely no reason why ordering marking products should be hard. Contact one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives at Vulcan Utility Signs to get started today! 1.800.426.1314 or vulcan7@vulcaninc.com

#simplify

Core Competency | What Your Company Needs To Know

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Core competency is a term that has been used in manufacturing since the 1980’s. Although it isn’t a new concept, it is one concept that is definitely worth revisiting. It is defined basically as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace”1. However, core competencies are often confused with a company sticking to “what it’s good at.” Sticking to “what it’s good at” can often be a financially sound approach for a company to take, but at Vulcan we have found that utilizing core competency as it is truly defined is the key to success for us. Vulcan has a multitude of resources and skills across our integrated organization that requires continual “harmonization” in order to continue “distinguishing” ourselves in the industries we serve.
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A word of caution… beware of developing a “silo mentality” defined as what can occur when a team or department shares common tasks but derives their power and status from their group. Those that develop this mentality are less likely to share resources or ideas with other groups or welcome suggestions as to how they might improve. Collaboration in a business culture with silos among teams or departments will be limited, unless collaboration benefits the members of the department. In addition, the members of a silo tend to think alike. They get their power from association with their function and shared technical knowledge.2

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How are we making better use of our core competencies at Vulcan? There are several key projects already underway that have been engineered to highlight the processes in which “harmony” is at its highest among the plants. Consider some of the resources and skills that Vulcan has at our fingertips:

  1. We manufacture our own aluminum, which supplies all other plants with the raw material they use in their fabrication processes. How many aluminum manufacturers can say that?
  2. Chemical Conversion Coating (the best corrosion fighting coverage in the industry)
  3. High Volume-Low Mix Capability (Coil Fed stamping operations)
  4. Low Volume-High Mix Capability (Laser cutting and custom fabrication operations)
  5. Automated, Manual Screen Printing and Digital Printing Capability
  6. Metal Forming and Fabrication
  7. Engineering

As we continue to implement process improvements, our ultimate goal for everything we do is for it to benefit our customers. That is the mindset that we have taken on from the start and we are proud to say that it has allowed us to be successful almost 50 years. The key is to never stop and think you have it all figured out. Continuous improvements are what keep your business focused and that is the motto Vulcan plans to follow.

  1. Schilling, M. A. (2013). Strategic management of technological innovation, p.117 International Edition, McGraw-Hill Education
  2. Bianca, Audra (2015). http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/silos-mean-business-culture-3448.html

Just the FAQ’s: Vulcan Signs Customer Service Team Answers Top 3 Most Frequently Asked Questions

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Does your metal meet DOT standards?

Yes, 5052-H38 has been the industry standard alloy for the past 40 years and is the only alloy specified by all DOTs, and for good reason…

  • 5052 has 39.3% more Tensile strength and 33.3% more Yield strength than 3105*
  • 5052 has 5 times the magnesium content of 3105, giving it vastly superior corrosion resistance*

–        Relative to the performance of the two alloys, the price difference is negligible

Vulcan specializes in the manufacture and fabrication of 5052-H38. Its long-standing reputation as the industry standard speaks for itself.

*Data from 2009 Aluminum Standards and Data issued by The Aluminum Association

Does your sheeting meet the minimum retroreflectivity?

Yes. Vulcan Signs is an exclusive 3M fabricator and all of our signage utilizes 3M sheeting, which meets the minimum retroreflectivity standard.

Does Vulcan make custom signs?

Yes! Fabricating signs for the transportation industry is where we have made our mark in the signage world since 1966, but over the years we have grown and expanded our product offerings to include endless possibilities for custom signage. The addition of our in-house laser cutter enables us to fabricate completely unique shapes. From our very own Vulcan Aluminum, we have lasered everything from monograms for door hangers, to intricate logos, giving a standard sign a layered or 3D effect. Our large format digital printer broadens our abilities to offer signage that includes full color, high-definition photography and graphics as well. The experienced graphics team at Vulcan has the knowledge and expertise to take a generic idea and fine tune the design, producing an end product that includes the right balance of graphics and verbiage for an effective message. We also have the ability to color match any Pantone color using 3M translucent inks.

Rejuvenation in the Works for Vulcan’s Original Production Facility

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Laying the groundwork

Big changes are in the works for Vulcan Aluminum, also known by employees as Plant 1. Established in 1968, Plant 1 was the very first of Vulcan’s production facilities built in Foley, Alabama. Back in the day, Plant 1 was where all the magic happened, primarily because it was the only building that existed on campus. Before Vulcan grew to include five separate, but integrated manufacturing divisions, Plant 1 was truly the hub of all the action. Not only were aluminum sign blanks produced in this facility, but finished signs were offered as well… all under one roof! Today, these two manufacturing processes have been separated; Plant 1 fabricates and treats the aluminum blanks and Plant 3 (Vulcan Signs), takes the blanks and screens messages onto them, creating the finished product. The separation of the two divisions has proven to be the right move. In fact, Vulcan Aluminum is the largest manufacturer of aluminum sign blanks and sheet in the United States, while Vulcan Signs has also grown to become a top player in the transportation and custom signage industries.

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The beginning of big changes!

Throughout all of this growth and development, the original Plant 1 structure has fared extremely well. However after 47 years, it is time that Plant 1 received a little bit of a facelift. Physically, demolition and reconstruction of the original structure has already begun. The scope of work includes a design for a new conference room, as well as remodeling the existing break room and bathrooms. Each facility’s break room serves as the gathering space for plant-wide meetings and it has become a trend on campus to retrofit these spaces with big screen LED TVs, which are used to display training videos, as well as communicate safety and hazardous weather information. Luckily, no disruption of the production schedule will take place, so expect shipments to continue as usual. Stay tuned… the transformation will be complete in only a few short months and we will be sure to post updates on the progress along the way!

Vulcan Utility Signs: Greater Flexibility with Digital Printing

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Here at Vulcan Utility Signs, screen printing has long been our bread and butter method for producing quality signage for the utility industry. However, as part of our effort to offer a diverse product line enriched by a multitude of manufacturing capabilities, we have expanded the ways we can produce signs and markers to better meet those needs.

One example that is representative of our growth is our digital print capability. This versatile printing process gives us the ability to produce almost any type of sign our customers can dream up. Whether it is a sign with a hundred different colors, a complex graphic or a high-resolution photograph, we have the capability of printing it. Have a celebration or special event coming up? We can design and fabricate eye-catching banners to celebrate achievements or promote events. Digital printing has also proven to be a more cost-effective method for small orders with multiple colors when compared to traditional screen printing.

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Take a look at the sign below. The intricate details of the “litterbug” can easily be digitally printed in the time it takes to get photos made at the local pharmacy.

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Operating a sign business inevitably means you are going to get unusual requests for signs. With the digital printer, we can handle most, if not all, of those requests that come our way.

#manufacturing #signage #signs #digitalprint

 

 

Vulcan Utility Signs: Going Beyond Providing a Product

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We hate to toot our own horn, but there is something extremely gratifying about working with a customer to provide a solution that truly makes a difference in the productivity and efficiency of their business. As the leading manufacturer of pipeline marking products in the industry today, we often promote the fact that we are a “Marking Solutions Provider.” What does that mean exactly? Well, we don’t just sell products that you see pictured in our catalog or on our website. When a customer comes to us with a specific marking issue they are having, that’s when we roll up our sleeves and put our thinking caps on. We assemble a team consisting of a variety of disciplines from engineering, to production, to customer service, all with the same goal in mind… develop a marking solution that will fit our customer’s needs. This was exactly the case when we received a call from Zackery Gravely, with Virginia Natural Gas. Once Zackery explained the issues he was experiencing, we were able to design and fabricate a custom Vulcan Bullet Marker that incorporated a locator.

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“So with the installation of this one marker, we increased our visibility, aided with public awareness showing 811 and the QR code linking to Vulcan’s website, we are using something that can actually be found, opposed to our flush locate stations we’ve been using, created superior ground hopefully ensuring an excellent locate, and due to the design of the marker, we never have to worry about the locate tech disassembling and not putting back together our equipment; ensures good housekeeping.” – Zackery Gravely, Asset Management Group, Virginia Natural Gas

By the end of the project, Zackery got exactly what he was looking for and our team felt accomplished knowing they had worked through several challenges to meet the needs of a customer looking to us for a solution.

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Stacy Holland, Sales Representative for Vulcan, worked closely with Zackary Gravely coordinating the project.

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Left to Right: Boston Sherrier, Rocky Stewart and Mark Walker from Vulcan designed and developed a prototype marker to ensure its functionality, then shipped it to Zackary for testing.

#manufacturing #custom #solutionsprovider #quality #prideinworkmanship #happycustomer