Memphis Stone & Gravel Company News

Employee Spotlight: Joe Murphy

For 30 of the 32 years Joe Murphy has been employed by our companies, he has operated a front-end loader. Joe has seen and experienced a lot over those years, and he is committed to sharing what he has learned with his co-workers.

“Back at Green T, we were stockpiling sand,” Joe begins his story. “I went up and dumped a bucket. I came back down, got some more. I did it over and over, but then I came back to the same place and the whole pile had slid out. Everything we do is dangerous. When you’re on top of that stockpile, anything can give way.”

Joe sets his mind on his day before he goes to work each morning. “When I leave home, the first thing I think of is being safe. Get to the job safely, so I can do the job safely, so I get back home the way I left.” After he arrives at the Perry Plant, the first item on his list is to do the pre-shift inspection, in order to make sure his equipment is safe to run. While listening to Joe speak, it is easy to hear his humility and his next statement sums up that character trait perfectly. “I consider myself to still be a rookie. Once I get a big head about that machine, that’s when I mess up. I see guys do it all the time. They say, “I can do this’ or “I can do that.’ But, that’s no toy out there.”

Because the work environment is changing constantly, Joe cautions that each employee must keep his or her mind on the task being performed. “Leave your problems at home and keep your cell phone on your belt,” Joe says. “If you’re trying to talk on the phone, you can’t operate your machine. If I get a call, I stop. When I hang up, I go back to work.”

Joe cautions the biggest hazard is in loading the trucks, saying new drivers may unknowingly contribute to a variety of hazards. There may be traffic flow issues and someone inexperienced may not know which direction to go. A driver may pull in behind the loader, which prevents the operator from seeing them. A new driver may also get out of the truck. “If that happens, I back up and drop the bucket until he gets back in.”

Joe concludes by saying, “I think the company is doing well. They provide everything I need – good equipment, knowledge, and every year we get new training. The company is trying too hard for us not to fall in line.”