Memphis Stone & Gravel Company News

3-for-30: James Rayford

Our greatest asset is our people. It has always been our goal to be the best aggregates and asphalt producer in the Mid-South. That would be impossible without a great team of people. We believe the path to true success begins with hiring qualified men and women who will thrive in our culture. We have cultivated an environment that allows us to attract and maintain loyal team members, some who have been with our family of companies for 30 years or longer. In our “3-for-30” series, we gain better insight into those who have contributed so greatly to our success.

This month, we hear from James Rayford, a treasured member of our DeSoto Plant team. His supervisor Eddie Ragsdale (Superintendent) put it best when he shared, “James has always been a perfect example of our core values.”

John Paul Finerson (VP of Production) added, “When it comes to James, the one core value that always stands out the most to me is relationships. I do not know of anyone who doesn’t appreciate working with and/or interacting with James. He is a consistent pleasure to work with and a perfect example to others.”

James Rayford, Equipment Operator

How long have you been with the company?

30 years

How did you get into this career, and what led you to this company?

“My cousin Willie runs the loader on the yard at DeSoto Plant and he asked me if I wanted a job. He’s the one who told me to put in an application.”

What are your current job responsibilities, and what positions have you held over the years?

“When I first started, I was an “all-around” man… a ground man and welder. I started watching the plant guys and was even a foreman for a short period of time years ago at our Green T Plant.” However, James noted that his heart lied with operating equipment. “After that, I began running the excavator and have for a long time. I’ve been doing that for so long, that it’s like second nature. I’ve worked at Fly Plant, North Plant, and Bridgeforth as well.”

His supervisor, Eddie Ragsdale, noted that James got his start at our Bridgeforth plant. Over the years, he’s put in an immeasurable amount of hours running equipment, including water trucks, graders, and excavators. One other thing that sticks out with James is that he has played a large role in mentoring many new team players over the years.

What is your favorite part about working at our family of companies?

“It’s just like home and like we’re family. To tell you the truth, this crew is really what makes me get out of bed in the morning.”

How have the company’s core values, and overall culture impacted your role or inspired passion in what you do?

“Relationships and humility stick out the most to me – I’m willing to do any job.”

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

“Years ago, I used to play softball. But now I like to kick back at home when I’m not at work.”