Published February 8, 2015 | ALConcrete.org
Charles Bell was presented the 2015 Chairman’s Award at this year’s Annual Business Meeting for his great contribution and leadership he provided during his 51 years of work in the concrete industry. Bell was presented the award by Joe Kelley.
Charles Bell’s biography
Charles Bell was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in the 1940’s to a homemaker mother and father who worked as a construction project manager for the city of Tuskegee. As Charles grew, he expressed interest in construction, and his father was able to help him secure a job with the city during the summers. It was during these summers that Charles grew fond of the construction industry and saw the field as a possible career.
After high school, Charles put his construction career on hold to enroll at Troy State University. Charles spent only one year there before deciding to transfer to Auburn University. While at Auburn, Charles had his first introduction to the concrete industry when he went to work for Sharpe Sand and Gravel. After a couple of years with the company, the Sharpe family recognized Charles’ hard work and leadership and asked him to lead their effort to open a concrete plant. Although Charles had never run a concrete plant, he opened the facility in Auburn in 1963. For the next twenty five years, Charles helped grow the company into one of the leading concrete companies in the area.
In 1988, Sharpe Sand and Gravel was sold to Blue Circle. Charles worked for Blue Circle for the next 4 years until he received a call from the owner of Twin City Concrete Company. The owner wanted to better compete with Blue Circle and end the many years of losing money. By this time, Charles was recognized as one of the top concrete operation guys in the state, and the owner wanted Charles to turn his company around. Charles accepted the challenge and took over at Twin City.
In his new position, Charles began to not only change Twin City, but also the concrete industry as we knew it in Alabama. Charles first move was to bring front discharge trucks to the state. The front discharge charge trucks allowed his drivers to be more efficient and compete in the tough market. Prior to his move, only rear discharge trucks had been used in the state. Next, he completely modernized the ready mix plant. Charles was one of the first adopters of reusing water and the modern concrete settling ponds that you see as the norm across the state today. Twenty two years later, the plant is still considered one of the best in the state.
In 2000, Twin City was acquired by Sherman Industries. The management of Sherman realized the valuable asset they had with Charles and asked him to stay with the firm. Charles stayed with Sherman until 2008 when he made a move to Ready Mix USA.
Charles worked for Ready Mix USA until 2014 when he retired.
During his 51 years in the concrete industry, Charles was involved with many notable projects around the state but it was his involvement at Auburn University that is most noteworthy. Charles was involved in the placement of the concrete at nearly every major athletic facility and education building on campus. Charles also found time to give back to the university by spending thousands of hours working with the engineering, architecture, and building science departments on concrete research and placements that will pay dividends for years to come.