And the Winners Are…

We were excited to be able to gather in person at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for Braen’s 5th Annual Team Building Event! And there is no doubt that the presentation of the 2023 Vision and Values Awards was one of the highlights. Winners were nominated by their co-workers based on how they represented our company’s core values of Service, Integrity, and Respect. The Leadership Team then chose winners for each core value, plus one overall winner.

Service Award: Lucas Goncalves Almeida, Daniel Hook, and Andrew La Min were each honored for their unwavering commitment to customer service and their willingness to always go above and beyond to help their co-workers as well as Braen’s customers and vendors. “In the words of Stephen Covey, ‘What you do has far greater impact than what you say’,” Lucas said. “I try to embody these words and use them as an inspiration to be the best version of myself, both professionally and personally.” Described as someone who never says no, Dan noted that the award is a testament to Braen’s investment into their workforce. “I’m grateful to work for a place that provides so many opportunities for their employees.” Andrew exclaimed, “I am honored to receive this award and definitely did not expect it at all.”

Respect Award: Winners Dave Jennings and Adrian Feliciano embody this value by working well with others and treating people the way they themselves want to be treated. In turn, they have earned the respect of their colleagues. Dave, a 19-year company veteran, said, “I am so proud of this award. I would like to thank my co-workers for choosing me and the Braen family for having a wonderful program like this.” Acknowledged as “the definition of a true leader,” Adrian thanked everyone who participated in the program. He added, “I consider myself fortunate, and extend my heartfelt gratitude for the award presented to me. “

Integrity Award: Maria Vargas was recognized for her positive attitude, strong work ethic, motivation to learn, and for being someone others can count always on. “Thank you to the Leadership Team, the Braen Family, and all of my fellow co-workers for making my day-to-day here enjoyable! I truly appreciate the recognition, and I’m looking forward to more relationships to build and more growth in the years to come.” 

Jennifer Suriel, who was honored with the Overall Award, was described  as one of the most hard-working and knowledgeable members of the Braen team. “It will always be a memorable moment for me. To be nominated and recognized by my peers, managers, and Leadership Team is what made winning even more special. I will continue to strive to be someone who management can trust and who coworkers feel comfortable coming to for help.”

Moments That Matter

Braen’s 5th Annual Team Building Event was filled with opportunities for us to learn, collaborate, and have fun. One of the most inspiring moments was the keynote address by Brigadier General Maureen LeBoeuf. Entitled “Moments That Matter,” she spoke about her life and the tiny moments that made a big difference. She described specific experiences that gave her a different perspective on life, and on how to respond to adversity and recognize achievement. 

In her closing remarks, Brigadier General LeBoeuf expressed hope that her talk would inspire us to think about moments that mattered in our own lives, as well as moments we have made matter in the lives of others. Looking back at the last few years, there have been key moments for both the Braen team and the company. Points in time that caused the path to change for all of us. For example, being able to have a Christmas party and an in-person gathering – where we had the chance to meet people from other locations – were definitely big moments. This was especially true for employees who have never had the experience.

When asked about moments that mattered to them, here is what several members of the Braen team had to say:

Jose Perez: “I can’t pick an exact moment. I just know that working here keeps getting better each year.” 

Douglas Belina: “During my onboarding, Maria made the process very smooth and easy. This mattered because having this job helped me get a mortgage.” 

Joe Latronica: “Putting the drag slat on the new asphalt plant is definitely a moment that comes to mind. It finally felt like the project was coming together.” 

Shawn Foley: “Being up in Whitehall, I never thought I would get to meet people who work at other locations. But at the Christmas party, I was able to enjoy interacting with many other members of the team.” 

Mike Valicenti: “I really liked the Emerging Leader Program. It shows that our company is investing in its employees and recognizing those who it believes will be the next generation of leadership.” 

Juliann Johnson: “A moment that really mattered to me happened years ago. I was in Janet Braen’s office with a few other people and a pastor prayed with us. I was only a few months into working here, and I remember him telling me, “Don’t be anxious, you are where you need to be.” 

Braen Expands!

Since 1904, contractors across Northern New Jersey have come to count on Braen Stone for the materials they need to build everything from highways to driveways and bridges to tunnels.  

This includes providing a diverse line of aggregates, recycled materials, and hot mix asphalt to all parts of the construction industry. Since 2019 Braen has hired 94 active employees. They have helped us…  

Braen Stone Acquires New Quarry in Whitehall, NY 

We are excited to announce that we have expanded our operations by acquiring a new stone quarry in January of 2022. Purchased from Azzil Granite Materials, Braen Stone of Whitehall is situated on roughly 150 acres in Upstate New York, just 35 minutes from Lake George on the Vermont border in Washington County. 

Already recognized as one of the largest producers of construction materials in northern New Jersey, our ability to mine granite at Braen Stone of Whitehall marks a strategic step in our company’s growth. This additional site – the fifth in our family of Braen-owned-and-operated stone quarries – will allow us to better supply the New York market as well as to serve new and current customers throughout the entire Tri-State region. 

We anticipate ramping up operations this spring, and have already committed to supplying jetty rock to South Jersey shore points. Even as we grow, our team remains focused on safely producing quality materials and fostering the commitment to customers and their jobs that has helped build our reputation as one of the most trusted partners in the industry. Fun Fact: Whitehall, NY, is a picturesque town that is known for its annual Sasquatch Festival & Calling Contest, which features “Bigfoot” researchers, food, and family activities. 

Braen Stone of Sparta Now Open 24/7 

Business has been booming at our Sparta location, which is now open 24 hours a day to meet customer demand. This quarry is a source of jetty rock and limestone for our customers, and we also operate an Asphalt Plant on the site. 

Braen Supply Expands to Randolph, NJ 

Braen Supply is now officially open on the former site of Curly Stone on Route 10 in Randolph! We hosted a Grand Opening & Expo on April 1st, where we welcomed members of the town council and invited vendors to showcase their products. Our third location in New Jersey (in addition to Haledon and Wanaque), Braen Supply Randolph features an outdoor display area and is open to contractors and homeowners. We look forward to helping you with all of your landscape and masonry projects! 

Braen Stone Wins 2 Awards At NJAPA 2021 Pavement Awards

On October 6, 2021, the New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association (NJAPA) held its annual awards program honoring professionals in the pavement industry. The Annual Paving Awards were held at The Wave Resort in Long Branch, NJ and recognized the outstanding work of NJAPA members within the past year. 

Braen Stone was the recipient of two prestigious awards this night.  

The first was awarded for playing a critical role in resurfacing of a state highway or toll road with a thin overlay and a minimum of 5,000 tons of asphalt pavement. Braen Stone received the award for supplying the asphalt for Route 287 Northbound, Route 202/206 to South Street job, Della Pello Paving, Inc. was the contractor on the job.  

The second award involved the new construction or rehabilitation of a state highway or toll road with a minimum of 10,000 tons of asphalt pavement. Braen Stone received the award for supplying the asphalt for Interchange 14 – T200.497 – Concrete Roadway Repairs & Resurfacing project, Crisdel Group, Inc. was the contractor on the job.  

Each of these achievements acknowledges Braen Stone’s commitment to the New Jersey community and pavement industry. 

About the NJAPA 

The New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association is a statewide organization that was founded in 1933. As the oldest construction-oriented organization, NJAPA is committed to enhancing the general business environment and adding value to the development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure. 

NJAPA works closely with regulators, legislators, specifiers, and other trade associations to increase effectiveness and facilitate the use of innovative technology in design and construction. NJAPA’s mission is to promote the broadest application of Hot Mix Asphalt (HPA) and ensure that asphalt pavement remains the pavement of choice. 

We would like to extend our congratulations to everyone who won an award at the 2021 NJAPA awards. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Mills

Braen Stone Leadership Team Introduces Values Award Program and Names the First Recipients

During the 2021 Virtual Team Gathering the Braen Leadership Team introduced the Values Award Program.  At our 116th event, which was held in 2020, the Leadership Team had noted that they were going to be rolling out the new program, however, due to COVID-19 and the circumstance of this past year, it was not rolled out as originally planned, but the goal was to remain as true to the original plan as possible.  

Supervising managers were asked to nominate employees that they felt live by Braen’s core values, and there were over 30 nominations for this year’s Values Award!  The nomination process consisted of interviews and an extensive discussion amongst the Braen Leadership Team to determine who was deserving of the award.  The Braen Leadership Team narrowed down the nominations down to two employees for each core value, Service, Integrity and Respect and one overall winner. 

The winners of the Service Award were Tom Lynch and Rich DeBonte, who practice servant leadership as they meet the needs of others. Tom and Rich resemble service not only internally, to everyone they work with on the Braen Team, but externally as well, as they encounter Braen’s customers and/or vendors. Rich says, “I am humbled to be one of the recipients of the first Value Awards given by Braen Stone.   It’s an honor to work for a company that recognizes the contributions of its employees.”

The Integrity Award was granted to Kevin Harmyk and Wilbur Corter, who consistently practice and reflect Braen’s businesses beliefs.  Kevin and Wilbur continue to always stay true to their promises, always operate with consistency, and make sure everyone is treated with respect. When asked what winning this honor as meant to them, Wilbur noted, “I am proud to work for a company who acknowledges its employees,” and Kevin continued saying, “I am partial to C. S. Lewis’ quote, ‘Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.’”

Carl Ross and Jennifer McMaster, who both ensure that everyone counts and is treated equally, won the Respect Award. Carl and Jennifer lead by example, care about everyone they meet, and always have the best interest of the company in mind. Carl noted, I would like to thank Braen Stone and the Braen family for choosing me for this award. I Am very humble for this recognition,” and Jennifer continued saying, “Thank you! An abundance of gratitude for the presentation of receiving the ‘respect’ value award.  I am enamored with honor and blessed to be a part of an extraordinary company! ‘Let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.’”

The Overall Award was granted to Mark Deighan.  Mark continuedly resembles all three core values, service, integrity, and respect.  Mark is always happy to help others and live out the Braen Core Values. Mark says, “Other than his family, being named the Vision and Values winner is my greatest honor.  I have a great team!”

Congratulations to all the Values Award winners!

Samuel Braen, Jr. Inducted into the NJAPA Hall of Fame

The New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Hall of Fame was established to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to the asphalt pavement industry leading to innovations in the production and placement of asphalt pavement, in the usage of asphalt as a paving material, and in the general advancement and recognition of the industry.

This year we are honored to announce that Samuel Braen, Jr. has been inducted into the New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association Hall of Fame. Being a pioneer for New Jersey’s Hot Mix Asphalt industry, Samuel Braen coined one of the mottos used by Samuel Braen’s Sons, “Pioneer of Progress”. After taking over day to day control from his father in 1962, Sam strived to make his vision of modernizing Samuel Braen Sons’ operations a reality.

His vision for the future came at a time when other Hot Mix Asphalt producers in the New Jersey market were focused on the now. In order to achieve his goals, Sam spent his weekend touring other operations, sometimes as far as Georgia and the Midwest, and drawing up plans often on yellow legal pads and napkins.

Throughout his career, Sam made an impact on the quarries and asphalt plants that he managed. Creating more opportunities and introducing new components that had not traditionally been used on asphalt plant in this region before. With the innovation of all the asphalt plants to include modern technology, it only made sense to improve the operation in other areas. Samuel Braen, Jr. also sought to make improvements in his asphalt quality control departments as well as equipment.

Samuel Braen, Jr.’s vision for innovation and modernization poised Braen Stone to not only be a leader in the industry, but continue into the fifth generation and beyond.