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Award-Winning Duo

The Emmy Awards honors the best in television, but did you know that The Heritage Group has its own pair of Emmy-award winning filmmakers?

 

Built on a friendship that developed over two decades ago, filmmakers Bill Baker and Matt Mays have witnessed their working partnership grow into an award-winning collaboration. When not writing, directing, producing and editing dynamic video content for the Heritage family of operating companies, the duo creates works of film that receive significant accolades. Recently their film, a 30-minute featurette highlighting the work and importance of The Indianapolis Prize, won in the category of Outstanding Branded Content – Long Form at the 53rd Central Great Lakes Chapter Emmy Awards.

The pair first met in college and have since built not only a strong bond, but a working relationship that thrives on creativity, collaboration and trust. “What we have in place now was not expected, but it is the culmination of a 25-year friendship and working relationship. It’s not an accident that we ended up here together, but it was by no means a predetermined arc,” noted Matt. “But it’s a pretty funny and interesting culmination of thousands and thousands of hours of working together in all corners of the world.”

Prior to joining The Heritage Group, Matt and Bill worked together on several collaborations, including a series for ESPN called SportsCentury. “That project was a Peabody and Emmy-winning series, which turned into a bunch of work for other entities like History Channel and Discovery Channel,” said Matt. What followed was an opportunity for Matt to branch out on his own, which is when he discovered The Indianapolis Prize. “The vision for it was to be like the Nobel Prize for animal conservation.”

Founded in 2006 by the Indianapolis Zoo, The Indianapolis Prize is a conservation initiative that recognizes six individuals from around the world who have dedicated their lives and work to the sustainability of the Earth’s endangered species. Winners receive a cash prize of $250,000 and the five finalists receive $50,000. Armed with a camera and the goal of capturing the stories of these conservationists, Matt and his production team hop around the globe to film in exciting locations. “Matt does the production work of going out into the field and shooting all of the footage of all of those nominees,” said Bill. “We produce a short film for each of those six finalists, which are then used and screened at the semi-annual black-tie gala where they honor the finalists and winner.”

I hope that THG has a great respect for what we can produce, and that they trust us with our work and our vision. When you see that trust in action, it’s an amazing thing. That trust engenders us to want to put our best effort forward. To be able to continue working with Bill has made all of the difference in slowly building our own little production department, and it’s all exciting.” – Matt Mays

For the team, the accolades are only part of why they choose to work for this cause. “If you get into the subject matter of sustainability and saving species, The Indianapolis Prize is undoubtedly the most important and meaningful project I’ve ever worked on,” remarked Matt.

This 25-year culmination of honing their craft has now landed the pair at The Heritage Group, and their vision for telling dynamic stories is reflected in the work they produce in the many industries of the various operating companies. From training materials to marketing pieces to content displayed throughout the building, Bill works closely with the Marketing and Communications Department as editor for all video production needs of The Heritage Group and its operating companies. Additionally, Bill serves as Multimedia Services Lead, chiefly supporting the audio/visual needs of meetings and events at The Center. Matt produces, writes, and directs video content for THG and its operating companies, while serving in roles related to events throughout the Center. “Thanks to my work with The Indianapolis Prize, I have a perspective of what a lot of natural resources look like in a number of different countries. I know what the issues surrounding environmental struggles are in those places, so I can tell better stories around sustainability,” remarked Matt.

For Bill, the relationship and missions between The Indianapolis Prize and The Heritage Group feels like a natural alignment, especially regarding environmental stewardship and sustainability. For him, the work he and Matt produce is a showcase of how these amazing scientists and conservationists are striving to make the world a better place. He noted, “Written into the purpose of The Heritage Group is the idea of building a safer, more enriching and sustainable world by harnessing the power of family, which aligns perfectly with the work that we have been involved with The Indianapolis Prize.”

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Blazing Her Own Path

Women’s Equality Day is held annually on August 26 to honor the certification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which recognizes women’s right to vote. In celebration, The Heritage Group profiled Liz Larner, General Counsel of Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M), to examine how women’s equality has played a role in her professional life.

HER STORY

Liz Larner knows exactly where she belongs. Whether she’s negotiating a mergers and acquisitions agreement in a boardroom or touring a jobsite in a truck and boots, Liz Larner feels perfectly in place as General Counsel for HC+M.

In her role, Liz is responsible for assessing risk involved within all the operating companies across HC+M, including US Aggregates, Asphalt Materials, Inc., and Milestone. Her responsibilities also include understanding environmental laws and regulations, managing both Human Resources and safety regulations, certifying compliance, maintaining a diverse, inclusive, and non-discriminatory workplace, and above all, ensuring the safety of our Heritage employees. As Liz explained, “A lot of times people think attorneys review contracts or oversee lawsuits–Law & Order type stuff. My lens is different where I am responsible for thinking through all sorts of risks to the company and risk mitigation. I think through future scenarios where if we don’t proactively respond, there is the likelihood of increased risk.”

To put employees and customers first, Liz works diligently to build and anticipate the needs of those she serves. “People hear the word attorney and think I must somehow be intimidating. The challenges come when I try educating people that I am here to help them,” Liz noted. “My view is you always want to talk to me because I promise to support you. I always say, Do what you do, and I am here to help you do it better.

PAVING HER OWN PATH

Prior to joining The Heritage Group in June 2021, Liz’s professional career had been a self-professed winding journey that included a role in the Indianapolis mayor’s office. “I worked for the Department of Public Works, so I know a thing or two about roads, sidewalks, and potholes,” she quipped. After attending law school with the hopes of breaking out as a civil rights attorney, Liz assessed her mounting student loan debt and opted instead to work for a large legal firm. This is where she developed her expertise in mergers and acquisitions, and while serving in an advisory role with a client, was asked to become their senior legal counsel. “I fell in love with being on the inside of business within an oil and gas operating company. I would close the deal, deliver a new company, determine benefits and payroll, and manage operations. Wanting to be on the inside of the business as a teammate while assisting with the legal aspect all resonated with me.”

This career shift sent Liz on a path in which she often found herself as the only woman operating within male-dominated industries. Liz leaned heavily on her upbringing and ability to connect with everyone. She noted, “My dad worked in construction and has always been a source of good advice.” That guidance includes being well-versed in the language of construction, over-preparing, and meeting people on their turf. “I learned early on that in order to gain trust and respect, I had to take as many face-to-face meetings as possible,” remarked Liz.

These traits have proven to be beneficial, particularly during tenses. “Meetings like that can be a painful process as it can get very contentious,” she said. In one proceeding, Liz recognized that the older male attorney representing the other side would not address her directly. “He only spoke to the man to my side, who is not only 10 years younger than me, but also has less legal experience.” Despite making decisions the entire meeting, the opposing side continued to not acknowledge Liz. “He wouldn’t look me in the eye,” she lamented. At the conclusion of the negotiations, the opposing representative finally recognized Liz, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in these two days it’s that you are essential to this process.” Feeling accepted, Liz knew her deep knowledge, experience, and her friendly-yet-commanding approach is what earned her the respect.

While she has still experienced setbacks, Liz is thankful for the women before her that blazed trails to allow her to find her place. “I had some people who paved the path ahead of me and now I am interested in helping young women come up through the ranks,” said Liz.

FINDING OPPORTUNITY

Since joining The Heritage family, Liz has found a place that allows her to lean heavily on her expertise while operating in a welcoming, professional environment that celebrates her individual attributes. “One of the reasons I was attracted to The Heritage Group is because the opportunities are limitless and the culture is such that I can use my skill sets in ways that are truly appreciated,” Liz said. She also feels supported and empowered by witnessing strong women in leadership roles at Heritage. “In my past, there have been very few women in leadership roles. While I have typically reported to men, and while I still do, I’ve never been surrounded by as many women leaders as I am now. It’s refreshing,” Liz observed.


“One of the reasons I was attracted to The Heritage Group is because the opportunities are limitless and the culture is such that I can use my skill sets in ways that are truly appreciated,” Liz Larner, General Counsel, HC+M


While ensuring her fellow female colleagues are afforded mutual respect and are aware of avenues to develop their talent, Liz indicates there is still potential for empowerment opportunities in the professional setting. For her, achieving equality within the workforce means that male colleagues, especially those in positions of leadership, need to be challenged and encouraged to advocate for all voices. “I want men in leadership positions to be champions of equality, to be mentors for women,” said Liz. This advice also extends to female colleagues. “There have been times when I’ve questioned whether I should be at the table. I tell younger women to sit at the table. I remind them that they belong there,” she asserted.

For Liz, gaining equality in the workforce means that women need to consult in more advisory roles, sit on more boards, and serve in leadership positions. While she notes that equitability awareness is increasing, she’s persistent in her belief that the road ahead is long. Looking to the future, Liz’s steadfast expectations are as high as her ambitions. “There’s scientific data behind the fact that women in leadership is better for professional relationships, it’s better for cultures, and it’s better for revenue.”

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Talking Talent: Fellow to Full Time

Pictured: Annie outside the Biosynthetic Technologies lab

Finding Heritage

Annie (left) with Fellows on a hike during 2020 winter retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

When Chicago native and chemical engineering major Annie Hynes began her senior year at University of Notre Dame in 2018, she wasn’t sure what career she’d pursue after graduation. By the time she walked across the stage at commencement, though, her next two years were set: Annie had accepted an Orr Fellowship. That meant she’d have a full-time job and a whole lot more. Orr Fellowship supports young professionals with a community of peers and opportunities for continued learning and community involvement.

As a senior at Notre Dame, Annie had already explored career options within her major. “I had interned in research at a biotech company in college, but I wasn’t convinced that engineering was the right place,” she said. Orr Fellowship gave Annie a chance to learn about all areas of a business, which appealed to her curiosity. “The Fellowship is two years to explore, to get new experiences and figure out what you want to do — and I liked that,” she said. At Finalist Day, the last step of Orr’s application process, Annie and her fellow candidates interviewed with a handful of Orr’s dozens of Partner Companies — including The Heritage Group (THG).

Annie had no idea what to expect going into her interview with THG, but she was “happily surprised that Heritage had both science and engineering opportunities as well as business opportunities,” she said. The interviewers from THG, Matt Kriech and Kierstin Janik, were happy with Annie, too. Orr Fellowship matched her with THG for three eight-month rotations.

Exploring Heritage Companies

Annie’s first rotation began in June 2019 with Biosynthetic Technologies (BT), which had been recently acquired by The Heritage Group. Her degree in chemical engineering translated well to her research work with Biosynthetic, where she circulated samples to generate interest in the company’s capabilities.

Recognizing the benefits of the company was easy. “With The Heritage Group, you’re being backed by the security of a 90+ year old company, but you still get innovative entrepreneurial experiences from a startup as well,” Annie said.

“Annie reacted quite well to the challenges of an early-stage company, which can be chaotic to say the least,” commented COO Matt Kriech, Annie’s supervisor at BT. “She worked with a diverse team to create technical data packages that greatly accelerated our time to market by reducing the amount of technical development our manufacturers had to do.”

Annie on the job in her current role at Asphalt Materials, Inc.

For her second rotation, Annie relocated to Houston, Texas, to work as a production engineer with Monument Chemical. Orr Fellows are typically based in Indianapolis, so Annie’s time in Houston was unique. “I had never worked at a plant before, so that was my introduction to manufacturing, and I loved it,” Annie said.

“Usually, when we get someone that new out of school, they focus on one area until they’re comfortable,” said Operations Manager Jake Moehring, Annie’s supervisor at Monument. “Annie made it a point to branch out and take the opportunity to get involved with as much as she could.”

In March of 2020, Annie and many of her co-workers at Monument went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the new virtual environment, she developed experience in the manufacturing field by monitoring production processes using automatic data collection from the plant. “I was still using my degree, but in a way I didn’t really know was possible,” Annie said. “I liked the creativity of the work and I loved my team there, so it was a really positive experience.”

During each of Annie’s rotations, her Heritage leaders made a difference. “I was given a lot of responsibility off the bat because of how much my managers trusted me and believed in me,” she said. “I liked the ability to make an impact early on in my career.”

Annie’s experience echoes other young professionals who are met with trust and responsibility when they join the Heritage family. For example, “I make it a point to treat our college interns as close as possible to a full-time new hire engineer,” Jake said. “I want them to be engaged and exposed to all areas of the plant to get a real taste of the role so they can make a good decision for their career path.”

Annie’s third and final rotation was completely remote, so she spent her final eight months of the Fellowship working from home in Chicago. Annie worked as a financial analyst for Heritage Environmental Services’ accounting and finance department, an area new to her academically and professionally. “To get that experience in accounting and finance was really beneficial to any job I might have in the future,” she said. “It’s nice to have a well-rounded picture of how our businesses operate from end to end. That has definitely benefited me, even in my current role in engineering.”

Joining the Heritage team

Annie (right) with colleagues at AMI

After her Orr Fellowship ended, Annie became one of the 57% of Fellows who stay with their Partner Companies by accepting an offer from Asphalt Materials, Inc. to work as a manufacturing engineer. Her work is primarily remote, but she travels to locations where J-Band is produced in Illinois and Indiana. “The work I do now is more like production planning and working out the kinks,” she said. “With some of our products, there are unique obstacles that I can help troubleshoot, which can be done remotely.”

Annie was one of The Heritage Group’s first two Fellows, but she is far from the last. THG has hired two Fellows from the class of 2020 and two from the class of 2021, and three more Fellows joined the Heritage family after their graduation in May 2022.

THG’s Early Career Talent Specialist, Lexie Seward, was an Orr Fellow at another Partner Company before joining the Heritage family. “Orr Fellows’ eagerness to participate in a wide range of experiences allows us to be creative with the rotations and make sure we fit company need with a Fellow’s interests,” Lexie said. “Overall, Orr Fellows bring curiosity and adaptability to THG. Because they’re agile and hungry for experience, there’s no limit to what they can do here.”

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Talking Talent: Intern to Employee

Cole Radel had never heard of The Heritage Group when he applied for an internship with THG in fall of 2020, but after a few weeks into his role as the group’s Learning Management System (LMS) intern, he knew he’d found a place to call home. Cole said he’s always felt like a valued part the Heritage team — as an intern, as an employee and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Cole at his May 2021 graduation from IU-Kokomo

During his 9-month internship, Cole served as a main point of contact for anything related to Lessonly, the group’s LMS, uploading lessons and running reports for HR partners and managers. He was also pulled into other human resources projects, making connections across the HR team. Cole reported to Kaitlin Odom, an HR Shared Services project manager who recognized his talent and gave him meaningful projects. “I never felt like an intern,” Cole said. “Kaitlin and the rest of the HR team just treated me like a valued employee from the start.”

By May 2021, Cole had finished his bachelor’s degree at IU-Kokomo. The internship experiences on his resume helped him decide that he wanted a career in HR, so when he told Kaitlin and others from the HR team that he had ideas for improving the employee experience, they were all ears. “I told them that I wanted to be in front of people, interviewing, playing ‘hostess with the mostest’ for the company,” he said, “and I felt like they were on my team, encouraging me.”

So Heritage decided to bet on Cole. Because people were impressed with the work he’d done on the corporate orientation program, they found a position on the Talent Acquisition team that matched his interests. “Lisa Minter [Talent Acquisition Partner for THG] and I are two peas in a pod,” Cole said of his manager upon joining the Corporate HR and Talent Acquisition team. “Our personalities are so alike — so we have a lot of fun working together!”

People at THG have been warm and welcoming, but that’s not been the case in Cole’s previous workplace. Because of some uncomfortable experiences, he knew what he was looking for in an employer: one who would welcome him to be his authentic self at work, where he could talk about his personal life when everyone else was talking about theirs.

Cole (first row, right) with members of the summer 2021 intern cohort

“When I joined The Heritage Group as an intern, I took a risk,” Cole said. “It was a test, really, sharing with Kaitlin that I had a boyfriend during my first week. And Heritage passed that test with flying colors.

“To be authentic in the workplace, compared to previously experiencing discomfort elsewhere, leaves me feeling free: free to be happy, free to be vulnerable, free to bring my best and entire self to work. Ultimately, being authentic at work leads to the best experience for me and those around me. I cannot thank Heritage enough for providing this inclusive culture.”

Being his best and authentic self, Cole recently earned a promotion to Talent Acquisition Specialist, with plans to earn his SHRM certification. And because he wanted the full-circle experience, Cole is now mentoring a group of THG’s summer interns.

THG’s internship program is proving to be an invaluable part of our talent pipeline, introducing talented young people to our business and giving them a chance to experience our culture first-hand.

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The Heritage Family Represents at World of Asphalt and AGG1

Boasting 400 exhibitors and 120 educational sessions for team development, World of Asphalt and AGG1 brought members of the Heritage family together in Nashville, Tennessee, in late March. Part trade show, part industry conference, the events’ 20th anniversary broke records with more than 11,400 asphalt paving and aggregates professionals in attendance. Representatives from across the Heritage family of companies showed up both to learn and to lead. 

Increasing Diversity

Marquisha (right) with Ashly Rieman of Milestone Contractors.

One of the 100+ professional development sessions was a roundtable on Increasing Diversity hosted by Women of Asphalt and featuring Marquisha Williams, safety representative at Milestone Contractors. Marquisha, who is also on the board of Women of Asphalt, participated in the roundtable discussion focusing on diversity and inclusion among workforces in the asphalt industry. “Speaking on the panel was an amazing experience. It’s something I’ll look back on for years to come,” Marquisha said. “Being able to see yourself represented is important in this industry. Companies have to be intentional when hiring to become more diverse and inclusive organizations.” 

Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M) has deep ties to Women of Asphalt. In 2021, The Heritage Group contributed eight of the 84 total participants in Women of Asphalt’s inaugural Mentorship Program. This year, 16 of the 118 Mentorship Program participants – both mentors and mentees – are members of the Heritage family. “I’m sure I can speak for most of The Heritage Group ladies when I say that THG’s participation reassures us that we belong, and that this company is always striving to keep a culture that fosters diversity on many different levels,” Marquisha commented. 

Among the attendees was Patti Gault, strategic communications director for HC+M. “Marquisha really made me proud in the Women of Asphalt roundtable. She had great insight and there was a good group of us cheering her on,” Patti said. 

This year, HC+M was one of the organization’s diamond sponsors. Heritage attendees of Women in Asphalt programming, including Marquisha, recognized the impact of the organization in their industries: “It is amazing that The Heritage Group has seen the need to support women, but to see that we are going all in and becoming Diamond partners with Women of Asphalt makes me speechless.” 

Growing a Great Workforce Culture

From left: Paige Guedri Gill, Melissa Brooks, Patti Gault and Bronwyn Weaver, panelists.

Across the street at AGG1, HC+M’s Strategic Communications Director Patti Gault spoke on a panel of aggregates industry professionals called Growing a Great Workforce Culture. In front of a standing room-only crowd, Patti presented on THG’s culture, “which paved the way for me to talk about some of the special employee and community initiatives at the Heritage Group,” she described.  

Among these initiatives were Lean Six Sigma training, Kids Science Camp, the ONE Heritage Fund and THG’s internship program. “Also, starting up the Social Impact Task Force garnered a lot of interest, and I was grateful to be able to share some of the terrific work we are doing to support our local communities,” Patti added.   


“It was wonderful to spend time with my Heritage family away from our normal daily work in a great city. I was impressed to see the level of representation from across Heritage at the workshops.” — Patti Gault 


The impact of AGG1 didn’t stop in Nashville; Patti returned to Indianapolis ready to share what she learned with her HC+M team. One major takeaway was the opportunity for community contribution that exists in the construction industry. “Building the roads that connect society makes construction workers a part of something bigger,” Patti noted. “They help families get to work and school — and ultimately makes their community a better place to live.” 

An Accelerator Alumnus at World of Asphalt 

BroadLoop representatives demonstrate cone flipping at their booth.

Last year, BroadLoop Founder and CEO Nick McRae spent his fall at The Center as part of The Heritage Group Accelerator powered by Techstars. BroadLoop, a software platform that streamlines construction fleet management, has carried on the energy and attitude of creativity from their time in the Accelerator. BroadLoop’s booth featured cone flipping, a game typically played during downtime with construction cones, for visitors: “contractors don’t have time to flip cones while waiting on trucks any longer,” Nick said, “because BroadLoop gives them control over their virtual fleet.” 

World of Asphalt was BroadLoop’s first trade show, “so we learned a lot,” Nick said. “We were actually placed on a waitlist when we initially applied last year, but a THG connection from the Accelerator was able to send an email on our behalf and we were assigned a booth very quickly.” 

Much like the Accelerator, the trade show floor offers a chance for innovators in related industries to connect. Along with new interest in their product, the BroadLoop team reconnected with acquaintances from THG. “We had met a few of the AMI and J-Band team already as part of the programming run by HG Ventures,” Nick commented. “It was very exciting to see the effectiveness of that program continuing long after it had formally concluded.” 

World of Asphalt and AGG1 will return to Music City in 2024 for another gathering of industry professionals. Whatever the industry – and the world – have in store, the Heritage family will be there to take part. 

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Celebrating the Women of The Heritage Group

Thousands of women are responsible for making The Heritage Group and our world work. We asked women across the Heritage family of companies about their career inspirations, their work in our industries and the future of women in the field. Their answers revealed so many reasons to celebrate the women of the Heritage family, only a few of which are below. 

They power the work that connects our world.

“I started in the construction world at a young age working with my dad and have worked with other companies in the industry for five years. My mother (Deb Schriber) has been working with Milestone for 17 years now, so you could say she set an example for me. Working in the construction industry comes naturally.”

Julie Schriber, Superintendent, Milestone Contractors

Maria Kraemer Gutierrez, pictured with her children Adrian, 7, and Amanda, 4

“I actually came to Tri-State Asphalt quite by accident. My husband was working at the plant as a manager, and they were in need of workers, and I came in to help him. I’ve been here for 19 years.

Lorraine Heffner, Lab Technician, Tri-State Asphalt. Before coming to The Heritage Group, Lorraine previously served in the military as a heavy equipment mechanic.

“In Venezuela, where I was born, oil was a big industry, but not a lot of women pursued that career. I wanted to do something meaningful and that I was really passionate about. The oil field was unstable, and I liked the specialty chemical manufacturing industry, so I wanted to explore career in that area. Ten years later, and now I get to make chemicals that are used for things like hand sanitizer during the pandemic, so you can see the impact more tangibly.

Maria Kraemer Gutierrez, Plant Manager, Monument Chemical. Maria taught Spanish and English in Thailand before becoming a Plant Manager at Monument Chemical.


They’re innovators.

Andrea Moberly

“When I was in high school, no one ever talked about women’s scientific discoveries. Now our culture is becoming more aware of the importance of telling those stories, and as those are told, more girls are thinking, ‘this is a choice I could make for me, too’. If someone needs to do the work, why not me? If there’s work to be done, why not me?”

Andrea Moberly, Senior Analytical Research Chemist, Heritage Research Group. Andrea’s interest in science was sparked during a childhood trip to Yellowstone National Park.

I feel lucky, because working in Portage, it’s an almost completely female lab. We do have a lot of guys out in the plant. When you go to a conference or any kind of schooling, everyone has been very supportive, very welcoming and willing to listen.”

Penny Jacobson, Technical Coordinator, Asphalt Technologies Group. Penny has been working at Asphalt Technologies for nearly 16 years.

When I presented a business opportunity in Turkey to Heritage leadership, they said yes. The Heritage Group believed in the businessbut more so, they believed in me. It doesn’t matter gender, ethnicity, background, culture, all that if you create value and if you do the right thing, you have tons of opportunities.”

Sibel Selcuk, Vice President of Global Research & Development and Strategy, Monument Chemical. Sibel started out at Heritage Research Group before establishing a startup in Turkey and then transitioning to Monument.


They’re pioneers in male-dominated fields.  

Maly White (right) and Rebecca Rivers Duncan (left)

“I hear about the lack of women in the industry, but my experience hasn’t been the same.  At my building, I’m surrounded by women in leadership roles who are skilled, intelligent—just the whole package.  They have seats at the table where decisions are made, and it is just one more reason I am glad to be working here.”

Maly White, Executive Assistant at Heritage Construction + Materials. Maly is an army veteran and serves her community on the board of Indianapolis’s PATH School.

I learn even more by being part of Women of Asphalt, which is a nationwide initiative. It’s great to partner with women who have worked in the asphalt industry for 20 years; they might live in Los Angeles, but I have that resource. It’s good to be involved in things like that, especially when you’re new to the industry. That’s advice that I would give to any woman coming in: Get involved, ask questions, take advantage of the resources.”

Rebecca Rivers Duncan, Business Administrator, Asphalt Materials, Inc. Rebecca is mother to Jada, a future Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; the two have three rescue dogs between them.

“Coming from a farm community and having strong women in my family, I didn’t have preconceived notions of women can’t do this or that.  I think that has helped me the most.  I love our workers, the dirt, and the work itself.  I think the field employees realized I was there for them and cared and I haven’t had any major issues in the whole 25 years.”

Amy Bingham, Senior Safety Representative, Milestone Construction


They support and encourage the next generation of women in the material sciences.  

“When I graduated over a decade ago, women made up only 10% of my civil engineering class. Since then, I have seen nothing but significant growth in the number of females applying for and pursuing careers in this industry.”

Rachel Lockhart, Plant Manager, US Aggregates. Rachel followed in the footsteps of her father, who owned a construction company and masonry business.

Kristin Sweeney

“The future is more than bright for women in the environmental industry, especially within Heritage. We have women in executive and leadership positions across the company. We have women in every type of position, from Drum Handlers to Senior Vice Presidents. If you look at any role within our company, you’ll see women working hard and excelling at what they do.”

Raven Shyrock, Customer Experience Manager, Heritage Environmental Services. Over the past two years, Raven has leveraged her role to help clients meet COVID-related requirements for health and safety.

“When you do what you love and are passionate about it, it’ll show. Jump in! Find a mentor (a man or a woman) who will help you through the challenging times and celebrate your accomplishments with you.  I think girls should also know that the construction industry of today is not the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Technology has come so far that we have a variety of roles to suit everyone!”

Kristin Sweeney, Director of Operations, US Aggregates. Kristin got hooked on the mining industry during a summer internship in 2004.

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Cultivating Confidence

How an innovative female scientist launched a Turkish startup, forged a career in global research and development and created a legacy of leadership

A strong foundation

Sibel at her college graduation

When Sibel Selcuk joined Heritage Research Group (HRG) in 2006, HRG looked very different than it does today. “There were only three female scientists, including me,” said Sibel, who first came to the United States after graduate school in Turkey. “Now when you look at HRG, we have not only female scientists but female engineers. We’ve become more diverse in every angle you can imagine. And that’s really important.”   

Back in the mid-2000s, Sibel was new to Indianapolis and searching for a job. With a Ph.D. in chemistry and the help of the American Chemical Society, Sibel connected with Erin Clark, a senior analytical research chemist at HRG.   

Erin introduced Sibel to The Heritage Group. Soon after, Sibel joined HRG as a research chemist, working on everything from asphalt emulsions to shampoo. The diversity of the job brought surprise and satisfaction.  

“What I ended up doing for the Heritage Research Group — I didn’t even know a job like that existed,” Sibel said. “One day I’d be working on an asphalt-related project, and then it would be an environmental customer’s project, and the next day I’d be doing analytical work.”


“You work with something new every day, and you make new things out of the things that people can’t use. It’s always problem-solving, and that’s the part that I love.” 


Launching innovation

Sibel networking with young professionals

In addition to her dedication to the work happening in the lab, Sibel formed a bond with her HRG co-workers. “When I joined HRG, I had just gotten married, and I had absolutely no family in town,” Sibel said. “Everyone in that group became my family — and they treated me like family. It doesn’t matter where I am. I know they’re there for me and I’ll be there for them.”  

After finding a home in the lab, Sibel began to consider how total waste management could apply to new settings. Observing a coworker’s business venture abroad, she sought out new opportunities for the business to grow internationally. “I came up with a couple of ideas and I presented them, and for some of them they said no,” Sibel noted. She remained determined to keep her eyes open for opportunity. “Then I presented the opportunity in Turkey, and they said yes.”  


“When they said, ‘we’re going to do this,’ what they meant was: ‘We’re going to do this because we believe in you.’ That meant a lot to me.”


International insight

Sibel’s daughter Ada, an aspiring scientist

Starting a business in her native Turkey was a turning point for Sibel’s career. “The Heritage Group believed in the business,” she recalled, “but more so, they believed in me.” Betting on Sibel paid off: İnteraktif Çevre, Heritage’s Turkish waste management venture, was established in 2015.   

Sibel had experience in market intelligence and technology evaluation, and the Turkish startup was her first foray into business management. But she was ready. Her background in science had prepared her for much more than working in the lab.  

“In chemistry, graduate study is more like problem solving, so it teaches you how to approach a problem or an opportunity and figure it out. That’s similar to building a business and doing a startup,” Sibel said.  After seeing her success at İnteraktif Çevre, Heritage leadership recognized Sibel’s talent. “I was so lucky. Amy (Schumacher, CEO of The Heritage Group) was my mentor throughout my career. She always supported me, so when she asked if I would consider a position at Monument, it turned into my best experience at Heritage.”  


“I did lab work, I did development, I did a startup, but until joining Monument I was never part of an operating company. Seeing how Monument works has dramatically changed my perspective on research and how we do things.”


A lasting bond

Sibel during her first year of PhD studies

In her current role as vice president of Global Research & Development and Strategy for Monument Chemical, Sibel unites her passion for chemistry with business savvy to solve problems for customers across the globe. She credits her experience at Monument with a new perspective on the chemical research process.   

“When we develop something in the lab, we’re fairly good about thinking big picture. But when we live it day in day out, it’s really different,” Sibel said.  

“It takes big-picture thinking in a real-world context to take opportunities to the next level. We need more scientists and engineers who lead with practical applications in mind. It’s really important for them to develop themselves, but it also helps the businesses overall.” 


“Within Heritage it doesn’t matter gender, ethnicity, background, culture, all that—if you create value and if you do the right thing, you have tons of opportunities.” 


Facing the future with confidence

Reflecting on her career as a woman in a male-dominated field, Sibel noted that gender shouldn’t hold anyone back from their aspirations.   

The key is to build self-confidence, something Sibel prioritizes when mentoring young scientists. She encourages her mentees to build their confidence in the lab before venturing out: “Giving yourself time there will strengthen your leadership skills and your contribution to the business in the long run.”  

Linda Osborn (left) and Sibel at The Center

Scientific skills have value in the business realm. That’s just one reason, Sibel said, that all scientists should feel confident that they can contribute beyond science and technology.  

In addition to mentoring, Sibel prioritizes giving back to the American Chemical Society, which helped her secure her first job at HRG. In 2013, she and Linda Osborn, Director of Analytical Research at HRG, worked with ACS to plan an event for children to celebrate science. The event was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), which has benefitted from HRG’s research on and development of asphalt and aggregates.   

Sibel hopes that her passion for mentoring and inspiring young people will encourage more kids — especially more young girls — to explore science. Her advice for them? “Whatever you want to do as a woman, you just have to believe in yourself and go after it. Being female or male is not a differentiating factor.”