ACPA Award Recipients

2017 Operators of the Year: Daniel Bremmer and Hector Diaz

Each year, the ACPA recognizes an operator for excellence in concrete pumping and safety. This year marks the first time the ACPA Awards Committee selected two equally qualified operators to receive the Operator of the Year award.

Operators are nominated by their employers and, as a condition of award consideration, must be valid ACPA-certified operators. Winners were selected by an independent safety consultant, according to criteria including safety record, workforce development and a spirit of furthering the concrete pumping industry. Awards for these outstanding concrete pump operators were presented on January 18 in Las Vegas at the ACPA Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation.

Operator of the Year: Daniel Bremmer

“True leadership is embodied by action,” says Christopher Fennema, vice president of the Kent Companies from Grand Rapids, Michigan. “And Daniel Bremmer is one operator who brings our four hallmarks of safety, productivity, quality and customer service to life.”

Daniel’s tenure with the Kent Companies has spanned more than 25 years, with a collective 30 years of experience in the concrete industry. A Michigan native raised in Rockford, Daniel knew he wanted to drive big trucks and operate construction equipment from the young age of eight. After graduating high school, Daniel eventually went to work for a concrete contractor as a laborer.

The first time he saw a boom pump was after a 22-foot wall had been formed. Daniel wondered how they were going to fill it. Then, a 28-meter Schwing pump pulled onto the job site. After they finished placing the concrete for the wall, Daniel told the operator, “I want to run one of those.” Four years later, he got his wish when he began running that same pump for Kent Concrete.

Daniel has completed many remarkable projects over the years, most of them notable due to their size and complexity. One of Daniel’s first projects involved running a ball valve grout pump to fill underwater grout bags used to stabilize a building on the Saint Joseph River. Other projects include pumping a foundation on an island through 1,000 feet of five-inch pipe and 60 feet of four-inch hose across a frozen lake. Another difficult project consisted of topping out a 34-story building with a 38-meter Z-boom on the tower, with the concrete pump on the ground level.

More recently, Daniel, in partnership with another Kent operator, completed an extensive 10-day concrete silo project for Saint Mary’s Cement Blending. The project involved 2,400-plus cubic yards of concrete pumped into a slip form measuring 226 feet tall and 80 feet in diameter. To prepare for the project, Daniel designed safety protocols for the team to ensure they were adequately rested and able to manage the project effectively. Crews safely cleaned out more than 200 feet of vertical pipe without any injuries and maintained both Kent Companies and Saint Mary’s Cement safety protocols throughout the project. To date, Daniel has pumped more than 328,000 cubic yards of concrete for Kent Companies.

A strong advocate of safe operations in all aspects of his work, Daniel holds a remarkable safety record with no pumping-related accidents under his 25-year tenure. He is also a champion of professional development amongst his team, helping each Kent Companies’ operator obtain ACPA training and certification.

Daniel has been married to his best friend, Kris, for 10 years, and they have four adult children and five grandchildren. After their children were grown, the Bremmers obtained a license to become foster parents and took in two teenage boys and one of the boy’s two sisters. After three years, they were all where they needed to be, and Daniel and Kris were once again empty nesters.

Two people come to mind when Daniel thinks of those he’s looked up to in his life. First, his mother instilled in him that a good man keeps his word and does what he says he will do. The other is his pastor who inspires him to live his faith, not just attend church.

Daniel loves his job and feels blessed to have a career in concrete pumping. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family, boating and tubing, hanging out at the beach in the summer, or going to the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey games in the winter.

Operator of the Year: Hector Diaz

Hector Diaz is a true testament to the American Dream. Born in El Salvador, Hector came to this country at the age of 19 and became a permanent U.S. resident in 2003. In 2004, after noticing a “help wanted” sign posted outside Andrews Concrete Pumping, Hector walked in and applied. The owner, Dennis Andrews, gave him the job. Hector began cleaning the yard and clamps, loading trucks and delivering system to the job.

Working around the pumps, Hector decided he wanted to become a pump operator. Unfortunately, several obstacles stood in his way. Not being able to read or write English was a huge challenge for Hector, but within a short time, Hector overcame these obstacles and obtained his CDL license.

Dennis took a special interest in Hector and personally trained him to pump concrete using a trailer pump as well as a 28-meter boom pump. Under Dennis’ watchful eye, Hector became quite a proficient operator. Eventually, Hector had fulfilled all the requirements for becoming an ACPA-certified concrete pump operator. This year is a proud milestone for Hector as he celebrates his 10th year of continuous ACPA certification.

A jack-of-all-trades when it comes to pumping, Hector will run a slab-jacking pump, ChemGrout pump, trailer pump or a boom pump up to 47 meters on any given day. But his favorite pump is the 31 EZ telescoping boom pump. Hector likes the additional challenges associated with operating the pump in tight spaces or inside buildings where maneuverability and accuracy are key. Hector always puts safety first and has maintained an impeccable safety record.

Hector’s congeniality and positive attitude are only a few of the reasons he is Andrews’ most requested operator. Customers, as well as his co-workers, have great respect and confidence in his ability to get the job done. What’s more, Hector is always eager to go the extra mile to ensure the job is completed efficiently and—most of all—safe.

Jose Calderon of TOBAR Construction, Inc. says, “Hector is the finest pump operator we’ve ever used. He’s a real team player, but—above all—he is safe. He always makes safety his top priority, not only the safety of himself and his equipment, but also that of our people.”

George Graeber of Intown Restorations, Inc. says, “We have used Hector on many of our projects, most of which are difficult at best, and he has always gone above and beyond in helping our crews get the concrete placed.”

Over the years, Hector has developed a strong love for America and a true passion for being an American. His career in concrete pumping has afforded Hector and his wife, Veronica, the ability to own a home, as well as an additional home which he rents to his brother. Most importantly, a concrete pumping career provides Hector’s three children with greater opportunities and an even brighter future for a better life.

At World of Concrete 2017, Schwing America displayed a brand-new 31 EZ concrete pump with Hector’s name printed on the side in its booth. For Hector, this is the highlight of a career that has not only provided a good life for his family, but is something he looks forward to and enjoys each day. When he’s not hard at work pumping concrete, Hector enjoys working on his home and spending time with his family and friends.

Other nominees for this year included:

Bob Blankenship—Merli Concrete Pumping, Gardena, California; Alfredo Dominquez—Southwest Concrete Pumping, Englewood, Colorado; Chris Elias—Preferred Concrete Pumping, Tucson, Arizona; Sheldon Gier—Kokosing Construction Company, Columbus, Ohio; Randy Groch— Meyer Concrete Pumping & Conveyor Service, LLC, Libertyville, Illinois; Rick Saunders—Burgess Concrete Construction, Inc., Moline, Michigan; Jason Taylor—Cherokee Pumping, Inc., Hampton, Georgia; and Travis Wright—Liquid-Stone Concrete, Burleson, Texas.