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UW-Stout students tour County Material's facility

Tom Peterson, regional manager for County Materials, fields questions from UW-Stout students participating in a tour of County Materials Corp.’s production facility. Photo submitted by Cyle Cramer1 / 2
Students look on as John Kaiser, prestress operations manager, explains the production process for hollow core plank. Photo submitted by Cyle Cramer2 / 2

ROBERTS, Wis. — Fifteen students from the University of Wisconsin-Stout's construction management program toured County Materials Corp.'s production facility May 3. The trip was organized after Stout Professor Heath Wiley contacted Tom Peterson, regional manager for County Materials. Wiley wanted students to see the manufacturing process for concrete construction products firsthand, back up the technical information from the textbook, and teach his students about the construction industry from a new perspective.

Peterson was immediately on board with the tour. "I was excited to set up the tour with Professor Wiley, this was a great opportunity for students to see the vibrant industry and learn about the complexities in manufacturing." Peterson said. "Many young people interested in the industry do not understand how engaging the manufacturing process is."

Peterson along with location manager Carlos Villarreal, prestree division sales manager Matt Fall, and prestress operations manager John Kaiser, led the tour and explained their different roles within the organization. Students visited County Materials' concrete block, precast pipe, ready-mix, prestress bridge girder and hollowcore production plants.

Wiley was enthusiastic about what the tour offered his class. "The students gained great insight to the concrete industry from a leading concrete company," Wiley stated. "I believe that if construction students can gain an understanding of the time and effort that is being put into high-end concrete products produced by the employees at County Materials, they will understand that they are the most valuable asset in a company."

Many of the students already work or have experience working for construction companies, however have not seen the production process for materials they use.

"The students seem ready for the industry. I am excited that there is so much young talent interested in becoming a part of construction and manufacturing," Peterson said.