Lafarge Ravena cement plant marking 60th anniversary year

The Lafarge plant — then owned by Atlantic Cement Co. — when it was being built in the early 1960s. Contributed photo

RAVENA– The Lafarge Ravena cement plant is marking its 60th anniversary this year.

The plant’s groundbreaking was in 1961 by the original company, Atlantic Cement Co., and the facility, now owned by Holcim, has become one of the area’s largest employers since that time, according to company officials.

At a May 19, 1961, ceremony attended by 1,000 dignitaries, elected officials and local residents, then-Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller broke ground on a $64 million facility.

“Now you’ll see a real boom in the area!” Rockefeller reportedly said at the time, according to the company.

According to a 1961 report in The Troy Record, Rockefeller “turned the first shovel-full of earth on a limestone-abundant site near the Hudson River and stated: ‘The enormous production capacity of this plant will undoubtedly draw many large and small companies to the environs, and as a result, employment will rise considerably.’”

The plant began operating in 1962. Sixty years later, the Ravena plant employs approximately 160 full-time workers.

It is the largest employer and largest property taxpayer in southern Albany County, according to the company.

“We have come a long way since that historic day when Gov. Rockefeller first broke ground in Ravena, and I am proud of the work we have done to fulfill his prediction of this facility’s significant economic impact,” said plant manager Dave MacLauchlin. “We have much more to do, and we look forward to playing a key role in building the state’s green energy and sustainable economies over the next 60 years.” 

Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, said the company has made major contributions to the industry and to the local economy over the years. 

“The Business Council applauds the leadership of the Ravena cement plant and their employees for the hard work that has brought them to this milestone moment and for their ongoing commitment to the local community,” Briccetti said. “We are proud to call them a member of The Business Council and proud of the innovations and technology they have brought to the plant over the past several years. We will continue our support for plant manager Dave MacLauchlin and his team as they strive to support the state’s sustainability goals.” 

An aerial view of the plant during construction. Contributed photo

Since its opening in 1962, the Ravena plant has produced materials for numerous infrastructure projects and some of the most iconic landmarks across the Northeast, including the One World Trade Center Memorial; Giants Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey; and the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

“Lafarge has been an important economic driver in Albany County over the past 60 years,” said Capital Region Chamber President and CEO Mark Eagan. “The Lafarge plant supports scores of good-paying manufacturing jobs as it produces cement for key infrastructure projects statewide. Lafarge is a strong community partner; we look forward to witnessing the continued evolution and engagement of the company over the next 60 [years].”

In September 2017, the Ravena plant completed a three-year, multimillion-dollar modernization project aimed at improving efficiency. The project produced up to 800 construction jobs and generated $170 million to the local economy, according to the company.

The modernization project focused on a new kiln line that exceeds strict state and federal emissions limits.

“As a member of the Bethlehem Chamber for 14 years, Lafarge (Holcim) continues to be a strong factor not only for local development, but in North America and overseas,” said Ellen Nesbitt, interim president of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud the company for the measures they are taking toward net zero carbon emissions; the investment in modernizing the Ravena plant; and the leadership and employees’ willingness to give back to their community.”

Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, said the company has contributed to the local economy and has driven growth and employment in the area. 

“For the past 60 years, the Ravena cement plant has benefitted the lives of countless people who live in and travel through the state, playing an instrumental role in our state’s many infrastructural undertakings,” Tague said. “The facility provides over 100 good-paying, family-supporting jobs on-site, and its operations have spurred the creation of dozens of additional businesses. I congratulate Plant Manager Dave MacLauchlin and the Ravena team as they celebrate their 60-year milestone and look forward to their future contributions to our communities and company successes.”

Lafarge is a member of Holcim US, which offers a range of cement, aggregates, asphalt, concrete products and construction services that have been the foundation for infrastructure projects across the globe.

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