2020 MLK Day of Service and Annual Training Academy

By: Fara Foster, Director of Communications & Community Engagement

Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Starting in 2015, Lehman-Roberts and Memphis Stone & Gravel leaders opted to expand our Annual Training Academy week to include a day to serve our neighbors. To honor the legacy and resulting impact left by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we spend the first day of the week, MLK Day, fanning out across our community for a Day of Service. Now a day that our family of companies looks forward to at the beginning of each year, we find passion in living out our Core Four and helping the communities where we live and work to thrive.

This year, our team served 12 different non-profits by completing 38 projects. The various projects included: interior painting, flooring installation, landscape maintenance, furniture moving, floor and wall demo, and interior framing.

Weeks of planning go into our annual Day of Service, yet the impact can be felt and seen for the many years that follow. Here are a few projects we completed and some of the kind words shared by local organizations:

  • We worked alongside the Southeast Memphis Partnership to clear storm debris resulting from a tornado last October. Lynda Whalen, president of the partnership, said, “I cannot tell you how amazing your guys were. They made such a difference. After months of despair, the neighbors in Parkway Village were so happy just to know they were not forgotten. There’s no way I can ever thank you!”
  • Another new partnership for us this year is New Hope Christian Academy. Founded in 1995, the Frayser school includes a forest and urban garden, where students learn about growing food and ornamental plants plus insects, birds and other wildlife. New Hope science teacher, Mary Leslie Ramsey, wrote, “Thank you for your time and talents, braving the cold weather to volunteer with us…We [completed] so many jobs. Everyone was so kind and helpful. It was a pleasure to partner with your company in a Day of Service to honor Dr. King.”
  • Kelsey Martin with Advance Memphis, agreed with the above, saying, “Your team is consistently a blessing for our neighbors in South Memphis.”
  • Devin Schniepp with Multi-National Ministries said, “What a gift this has been for us…like it was Christmas morning! We are so grateful to you all. With the new room and furniture, we are able to create spaces for our middle and high school students.”

After a Day of Service that left our hearts feeling fulfilled from the opportunity to benefit those who could not otherwise do these projects by themselves, we returned to Soulsville Charter School for lunch and fellowship. We also began to prepare for the insights we would attain from the rest of the week.

As music drifted across the Whispering Woods Conference Center, our family of companies kicked off our 10th Annual Training Academy with a celebratory performance from the STAX Music Academy Alumni Band. Continuing on the theme of improvement, Pat Nelson set the focus for 2020 saying, “Our goal is not just to be the best in class; it is to beat the best companies in the U.S. in planning, execution and continuous improvement.” He went on to state our strategy would be to continue our journey to excellence to improve people, process and planning by being fanatically disciplined in everything we do. He closed by sharing projections for a fourth industrial revolution, one that would heavily impact the construction industry and completely change the way our jobs are performed over the coming 10 years.

Mark Fernandes of Capitalism 2.0 furthered the message of discipline, saying that it comes by choice. He spoke of the limitless potential each person possesses, but only if each of us chooses to eliminate BCD from our daily lives. BCD, or “Blaming, Complaining and Defensiveness” prevents problems from being solved, goals from being achieved and relationships from being built. Instead, he challenged the team to trust the process and to lead fearlessly.

The four-day training academy included 12 course offerings, as well as a two-day benefits fair. All employees received training in diversity and inclusion, as well as anti-harassment, plus training applicable to their respective roles, such as Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), safety, leadership, asphalt construction and production, and wash plants. Other electives were also offered, such as financial well-being. By the end of the week, a total of more than 6,000 hours of training had been completed by our team.

Carrying over the theme of giving back to our community from our MLK Day of Service was also a food drive, benefitting the Mid-South Food Bank and South Panola Food Pantry. Employees were offered additional chances to enter for door prizes when they brought in five, 10 or 15 cans or boxes of non-perishable food. As a result of their generosity, more than 77 boxes of canned and dry goods were collected to feed families in need throughout our community.

We choose to start each year off with this pivotal week to align our hearts and minds with our team goals for the year: ultimately to continue investing in and improving our communities. We look forward to implementing our new insights from our MLK Day of Service and 10th Annual Training Academy throughout the rest of 2020.