The Wells County Chamber of Commerce staff and Ambassadors recognized Irving Materials as the June Member of the Month. Irving Materials is located at 2321 East 150 North in Bluffton.
The stone quarry in Bluffton opened in 1925, owned by Erie Stone Company. Peter Irving purchased the business in 1993 changing the name to Irving Materials. The Irving family have been in the ready mix and concrete business since 1946 growing to supply product to six states through regional operational centers mining stone, sand, and gravel throughout Indiana.
Andrew Fowerbaugh, Area Manager, explained that the land Irving Materials is on was a coral reef under the ocean, thus creating limestone from the sediments. “We are so blessed to have this here in our area and not every facility has limestone that is hard and abrasive. This type of stone holds better on the road for longevity. Everything we produce here can go in a bridge project, highway, building construction, and much more.”
The state of Indiana has a lot of limestone underneath the surface and depending on the amount of dirt on top of the limestone depends on the process of retrieving the stone. “Twenty to twenty-eight feet of dirt is removed from the surface that sets on top of the limestone,” stated Fowerbaugh. “We start drilling and blasting the stone off the face of the wall. The loose stone is then taken to various size crushers to make various size stone for concrete, asphalt, or anything you walk or drive on.”
The uniqueness of the Bluffton facility is that most of the operations are kept in a very tight square and contained. “People typically drive by and really don’t realize that we are here or the magnitude of what we do,” said Fowerbaugh.
Craig Howell, Manager, said that local people can buy driveway stone, landscaping stone, small buckets of natural sand for sandboxes, sand for under swimming pools, and ag lime for fields. “The ag lime is great for the farmers fields and for gardens to increase the nutrients, thus reducing the need for man-made fertilizers. These are just a few services we offer for local people.”
Irving Materials employs ten individuals, totaling nearly 160 years of service in the industry. Craig Howell has been in the industry for 44 years, starting at the age of 18. “Irving Materials is a family-owned business and that is what makes it fun to work here,” Fowerbaugh explained. “It is a good experience and a great company to make a living. Although there are over 5,000 employees throughout the entire division, the Irving family cares about you as an individual employee and your families. I could not imagine working anywhere else. Once you come in, you are here.”
Community involvement is important to Irving Materials and gives back to organizations such as 4H, scholarship funds, and the Chamber of Commerce. Each year the Bluffton location holds a Customer Appreciation Luncheon, scheduled for July 21st, to thank the community and their customers. “Everyone is welcome to attend,” said Howell. “We want to say thank you for everyone’s partnership in our community.”
Pictured in the photo left to right:
Erin Prible, Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce
Casey Robbins, Farmer’s & Merchants State Bank, Chamber Ambassador
Jayde Ketring, First Bank of Berne, Chamber Ambassador
Piercen Harnish, Shelton Financial, Chamber Ambassador
Laura Lenwell, Irving Materials
Sandy Garcia, Wells County Republicans, Chamber Ambassador
Anthony Fowerbaugh, Irving Materials
Kevin Cross, Irving Materials
Craig Howell, Irving Materials
Stacey Duncan, WEG Commercial Motors, Chamber Ambassador
Kevin Pritchard, Ruoff Mortgage, Chamber Ambassador