Silver Creek Materials practices open pit mining, yet sees itself as an environmental steward and more. The company aims to leave all of Fort Worth better than they found it. What started as a humble family-owned mining operation in West Fort Worth in 1983, has expanded into a mining, compost, and large-scale recycling industry leader.
“We dig sand and gravel out of the ground and sell it to construction and utility companies,” says Marshall Dow, Chief Information Officer of Silver Creek Materials. “Then, on the backend, we use recycled concrete to reclaim our mine property and turn it back into how it used to be – a nice green space.”
Composting: the big picture
The company also performs large-scale organic recycling and composting. “We have a very large composting operation here on site,” he says. “We make compost and mulch and sell it to commercial landscapers and homeowners around Fort Worth. So, that’s kind of the big picture of what we do.”
Marshall grew up coming out to the site. He recalls fond childhood memories of climbing on sand piles down in the mining operations. “It’s always been a part of my life,” he says.
It’s safe to say the businessman has come a long way from those early years playing in the dirt. His day-to-day schedule is chock-full of critical tasks, which keep the business running smoothly.
“My days include coming out to the site and speaking to our operations and financial managers and going around and looking at the operations and solving problems,” he says. “Also, figuring out the best place to get sand. The best way to move the mulch and compost around in our operation. And how to be profitable and successful and try to comply with environmental regulations. That’s a really big part of our days, trying to make sure we’re doing things in accordance with the laws of the state of Texas, and being economical, and running a green operation.”
Partnering with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Marshall notes that another important part of the job, which aids in making Fort Worth better than he found it, is staying in contact with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. “We go down and meet with them in Austin,” he says. “They have rules, regulations, guidelines, guidance, and documents that we keep up to date with and follow.”
Going above and beyond expectations
He explains that Silver Creek Materials not only follows the guidelines provided by the environmental agency, but the company also does its best to go above and beyond. “We try to do some pretty cool recycling stuff out here,” he says. “This can be environmentally beneficial as well as profitable.”
Marshall says that clear, concise communication with the general public and his clients is another small act that can go a long way.
“The goal is to reduce landfill waste,” he says. “And to educate the public and show them the cool things you can do if you just spend a little effort and think about your trash or what you’re recycling in a different way.”
People from all over the DFW area bring wood waste to Silver Creek Materials.
“You know, if somebody’s tree falls down, they’ve got to get rid of that stuff somewhere and they shouldn’t take it to a landfill,” he says. “Because then you’re putting biodegradable green waste in a landfill, and we’d rather recycle it.”
According to Marshall, the company receives millions of tons of wood waste each year, which they grind up using commercial tub grinders to turn it into mulch.
“What we try to do is educate our customers,” he says. “We communicate and tell them that if they bring clean material from their construction sites, and spend a little extra effort cleaning it up, like pulling plastic out of tree branches, we won’t have to charge them a contamination fee.”
He explains that this not only incentivizes customers to sort through their materials before dropping them off at the facility, but it also streamlines the process.
“It’s just a lot smoother to do business. It really helps when we educate our customers.”
It’s a lot of moving parts. And on top of it all, Marshall aims to provide a good living wage to current employees while adding additional staff and expanding the company. Through all these micro-victories, Silver Creek Materials has not only gained recognition as being an industry leader but has also made a positive impact on the community they serve.