LIBERTY — Chris Pilkerton, acting head of the U.S. Small Business Administration and member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet visited Liberty’s Geiger Ready-Mix Tuesday, July 9, to highlight its participation in the president’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” campaign that asks companies and trade groups throughout the country to expand programs that educate, train and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement over the next five years.
Geiger pledged to hire and train 125 workers within the next five years.
The company is one of 282 across America that has signed the pledge, which may result nationally into close to 10 million jobs.
“Every job that is created and every small business that has success, it’s a win,” Pilkerton said. “If a company can get the workers they need, these commitments mean a lot. It’s about amplifying the message and hoping to connect those who are looking for a job.”
Geiger Ready-Mix has about 270 employees dispersed among five plants: Liberty and Lee’s Summit in Missouri and Leavenworth, Kansas City and Olathe in Kansas.
“Concrete is a perishable product,” said Geiger Chief Executive Officer Steve McDonald. “With the plants we have, it’s a four-corner footprint that allows us to reach 10 counties.”
The Geiger name and building materials have been around since 1892.
Fifth-generation family member Julie Geiger, assistant human resources director, was also present at the Tuesday event.
After the recession that ended in 2009 and the dip in needed materials was felt for years, the need for employees still exists despite having employee numbers in the hundreds, Geiger leadership said. The company has been looking high and low for a qualified workforce, hence the company’s participation with the president’s pledge.
“Delivery professionals must be 21 to go over the state line and that’s tough for a business that straddles the state line,” McDonald told Pilkerton during a tour of the Liberty location Tuesday. “We also have those who handle quality assurance and production.”
Pilkerton asked how the company is attracting employees. McDonald said the company has strong relationships with area community colleges and the vocational-technical schools in the area.
“We find talent wherever it is,” McDonald said.
While the company is open 12 months a year, the nine months with moderate to hot weather is the peak season.
“It’s exciting to know that our product is going into buildings, roads or schools,” McDonald said.
Pilkerton also asked about high school links. McDonald said they are trying to be integrated into some of those tracks that are specifically geared toward product manufacturing and distribution.
“That’s why we are offering the support at the national level,” Pilkerton said. “That’s what this pledge is all about, the aim to attract and develop a viable workforce.”