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Fred Hill Materials lays off 18, sells part of Shine Pit operation
By NORTH KITSAP HERALD Staff
Eighteen employees lost jobs Friday after Fred Hill Materials finalized the sale of part of its Shine Pit operations. The sale is designed to bolster the company and preserve other jobs in the face of industry-wide economic slump, FHM officials said. The move also adds operating capital to the company's proposed Hood Canal Pit-to-Pier project.
Company plants in Poulsbo, Bremerton, Port Townsend and Sequim will continue to receive material from Shine Pit.
FHM produces and delivers concrete to residential, commercial and military customers on both the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.
“This divesture sale strengthens our company during a particularly tough economy for those of us in construction,” said Alex Hill, third generation FHM family owner. “We’ve consolidated our assets, saved jobs overall and enhanced future growth opportunities. With this sale, Fred Hill Materials remains a strong company and strong union employer.”
In contrast to the 18 jobs lost, 100 were preserved, a company press release reported.
Auburn-based Miles Sand & Gravel purchased the truck-based sand and gravel mining portion at Shine Pit. Miles Sand & Gravel is a fourth-generation family-owned company with multiple locations in the Puget Sound region. The company has been doing business in South Kitsap for over 30 years, including supplying materials from its Port Orchard Sand & Gravel operation to FHM, according to a press release.
FHM's proposed pier project includes a new conveyor that would move sand and gravel from Shine mining areas to a facility on the western shore of Hood Canal. It is in its seventh year of approval processes and environmental reviews.
The finished project, Hill surmised in a press release, would provide a domestic regional source of sand and gravel that would benefit private, public and environmental projects. The company has pledged to donate 500,000 tons of sand and gravel to help restore beaches and marine and salmon habitats.
“The economy and environment – both locally and globally – are too important for forward-thinking, 21st century businesses to choose one or the other,” he said.
According to the American Geological Institute, in order to meet future growth while replacing aging infrastructure, the U.S. will consume more aggregate over the next 25 years than it has over the past 100 years, the release points out, indicating a clear demand for sand and gravel.
Shine Pit was originally opened to supply materials for Hood Canal Bridge construction in 1960. FHM has operated Shine Pit since 1976.
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