A tale of two careers: profiles of two cement industry veterans and their career paths through a field that provides continuous opportunities for growth and exposure to facilities around the world.
One grew up in the cement industry and now calls Florida home; the other had his first exposure to the industry during a hazing ritual with his college fraternity and now lives in Canada. One is the vice president of technical expertise for Lafarge and manages three groups of the world's most savvy technical experts in cement and concrete assisting 30 cement plants throughout the Americas. The other literally built one of the most technologically advanced greenfield cement plants from the ground up and now serves as the president of American Cement Company, LLC and as a board member of the Portland Cement Association.
Cary Cohrs and John Kline, respectively, have traveled very different paths throughout their careers in the cement industry, but they share a passion for people and an unparalleled commitment for excellence. Cohrs serves as the chairman of PCA's Manufacturing Technical Committee, while Kline serves as co-chair. It's a dynamic duo that, in true Industry fashion, allows both to highlight their unique skills.
Kline's career in cement started off at the Fuller Company; later acquired by FLSmidth, Inc. His undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering positioned him well for ever-increasing areas of responsibilities. He ultimately would be responsible for the design and pricing of all cement plant projects at Fuller as chief conceptual engineer. After a brief stint in consulting, Kline Joined Allentown Cement where he worked his way up from process engineer to vice president of operations.
He repeated the same progress with Scancem in Kingston, Jamaica. From there, Kline then moved on to Lafarge and moved to Canada. Positions in performance and progress, industrial performance, manufacturing, and technical expertise quickly followed. Throughout a series of VP level positions, he has overseen: investment studies, capital expenditure projects, plant automation, plant operations, and maintenance support. His career has traced a path of world travel. He has lived in the United States, Peru, the Philippines, Jamaica, Canada and France and speaks English, Spanish, French and even some Portuguese.
Cohrs' first position in the cement industry was as an applications engineer for Claudius Peters. Cary went on to become a plant engineer for the carolinas Cement Company, LLC and then later a corporate project manager for Essroc Materials, Inc. His undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering was critical for those roles where, among other accomplishments, he was responsible for the development and commissioning of capital projects for six cement plants and two grinding plants. But his degrees in Business Management were foundational to one of the biggest career challenges he would face: the construction of a 750,000 tons per year preheater precalciner cement plant. In that role Cohrs was the point man in negotiating the purchase of more than $16 million worth of plant machinery, auxiliary equipment and subcontracts.
Cohrs' responsibilities increased as he advanced from assistant plant manager and construction manager to plant manager. He was also responsible for the myriad legal issues associated with financing, construction, permitting, and commissioning of the facility. His experiences with that plant set him up for more responsibilities as vice president of operations and plant manager for Florida Rock Industries cement group. That penultimate stepping stone set the stage for his current role as president of American Cement.
Two very different men share more than a few similarities. Cohrs' business acumen as president and board member is impressive, but many people don't realize he has also filled roles as production manager, quality control manager, E&I manager, and environmental manager. All of these are technically demanding roles. Kline's technical acumen in the areas of new technologies for mercury capture and NOx reduction are also noteworthy. But again, most folks don't realize John redesigned a budgeting process, led an impact analysis of new environmental regulations, and developed a capital compliance strategy.
And what about the folks that work with them? No man is an island, and both are ample proof. Kline is currently responsible for 50 technical experts who come from areas as diverse as process, environment, raw materials engineering, products and quality. Cohrs has a dozen senior professionals report to him along with overall personnel responsibility for 130 employees. These days, he takes the lead in building a team to establish and grow his company in one of the most aggressively competitive business environments in decades.
As if they don't have enough work responsibilities, Cohrs serves as chairman and Kline serves as co-chairman of the largest committee within PCA: the Manufacturing Technical Committee (MTC). The MTC is also the most unique committee within the PCA committee structure, a blend of PCA member companies that produce cement and associate member companies that provide goods and services to the cement Industry. The associate member companies Include equipment suppliers, vendors, and consultants committed to the industry.
Together, the PCA member companies and MTC associate member companies jointly fund critical manufacturing-related research focusing on the areas of energy and the environment. The MTC is also active in technology transfer and education through its annual fall technical session and sponsorship of PCA's Environmental Workshop held at the annual IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference. As chair and co-chair, the men set the strategic direction for the MTC. Two very different guys with an incredible track record of success. Think career opportunities like these exist outside the cement industry? Think again. Most folks can only dream of career opportunities like this, but in the cement industry, it's the norm. Both men are making critical decisions that impact their companies every single day, and they can't afford to make mistakes. From day one of their careers to today, Cohrs and Kline have balanced human capital, financial resources, and technical expertise to manufacture high-quality cement in an economical and environmentally sound manner. They're the reason that cement and concrete are the most sustainable building materials on the planet.
BY RICK BOHAN, PORTLAND CEMENT ASSOCIATION
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|Date:||Mar 1, 2012|
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