Michigan Paving Company strives to build, develop, and maintain strong ties to all of the communities it serves. In speaking with Nick Ricketts, the company’s area manager at its Paw Paw location, it’s through that focus that the organization and its employees achieve what they refer to as a “direct touch.”
“That direct touch,” states Nick, “is determined by figuring out the best way to get involved through understanding local aspects of the community’s culture and environment. It also involves listening to its own employees who not only work but live in the community.”
Situated in a rural community rich in agriculture, a common source of conversation amongst employees beginning in early Spring is that of the Van Buren County 4-H Youth Program and its Annual Fair, something many employees’ children or nieces and nephews participate in. That prompted the idea of having the company sponsor 4-H Youth by participating in the annual fair’s livestock auction. Taking that idea even further, it was decided that the animals purchased at the fair would be processed and the meat donated to local food pantries and community centers.
A few months prior to the auction, Nick looks forward to receiving letters from 4-H youth from Pee Wee exhibitors up to High School Seniors. Referencing the stack of letters sitting on the corner of the conference table, Nick shares, “It really is quite fun to read the kids’ letters, particularly when it’s apparent that the kids wrote their letters on their own.” Letters invite the company to come to the livestock auction and include mention of anything from their animals’ names and their pictures to what they feed their animals to how they take care of them to requests for support at the auction and how the kids plan to use the money from the sale.
Auction time can be a bittersweet experience, and this year was no exception. “One younger 4-H member was having a difficult time at auction and broke down when he came over to thank a Michigan Paving employee for purchasing his animal. The young member was reassured that not only did he do a great job of taking care of his animal, but that when Michigan Paving purchases animals the meat is donated to food pantries and community centers that help feed people who are less fortunate, many of those being kids just like him,” shares Nick. “That interaction seemed to bring about the understanding that he was helping. It also spoke to me that what we do really does matter.”
Michigan Paving supported five 4-H Youth through the purchase of four hogs and one lamb at this year’s auction. Eleanor’s Pantry was the recipient of a generous amount of that meat. “As guests visit the pantry, meat is not a regularly available item in our inventory. This donation provides so many guests with an opportunity to provide their families or themselves with a product that we sometimes ourselves take for granted,” states Rhonda Stull, the pantry’s Community Outreach Representative.
Thank you, Michigan Paving, for your support and for making us a significant part of your focus to achieve a “direct touch.”
Michigan Paving operates six asphalt plants and, with their partner companies, operate nine aggregate and materials locations, including one of the largest liquid asphalt terminals in Michigan.