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Cale Reeder: Mineral Quality & Turtle Ecology at Covia

Cale Reeder: Mineral Quality & Turtle Ecology at Covia

Published 06-12-24

Submitted by Covia

A small turtle in the palm of a hand

Much has changed since I started my career at Covia over 20 years ago. I have been able to grow alongside the organization and have been empowered to turn a local plant initiative into an award-nominated conservation program. I appreciate the flexibility and latitude Covia has allowed me as I work to balance our environmental goals with my responsibility to ensure quality and efficiency in our operations.

Quality & Compliance

I started working at Covia in 2001 as a lab technician at the Blue Mountain plant in Ontario, Canada. My work at the time was primarily focused on diamond drill cores and blasting cores. After a few years in this role, I transferred to the Nephton plant, where I moved into my current role as the quality control environmental supervisor. For the quality control part of my job, my team works to ensure customers get a quality product on a timely basis – making sure there are no anomalies or out-of-spec materials present. As for my environmental duties, I help Covia comply with Canadian regulations. I work alongside the plant manager, and across our different departments, to ensure we are adhering to our permits and requirements – educating Team Members at the plant on how to follow these procedures and why they are so vital to our operation. My daily activities include working to address any lab and quality control issues that might arise. I also handle requests for samples, complaints, and customer surveys. My main goal is for Covia to consistently deliver the high-quality mineral products our customers have come to expect. I feel fortunate that my work and my hobbies are closely connected. Living near Ontario's cottage country, which is known for its outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking, allows me to indulge in my personal interests during my free time. I love spending time outdoors, especially when I get the chance to go mountain biking or kayaking.

Project Highlight: Turtle Conservation

During my time at Covia, I’ve worked at our two largest Canadian operations located in Peterborough, Ontario, in the Kawartha Lakes region. For the past ten years, we’ve partnered with the local Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry office to help protect local turtle populations. Four species of turtle, including species at risk, nest and live on our property in the adjacent wetlands. Initially, the goal of this initiative was to conduct turtle nesting surveys and monitor nesting sites and activity. Over time, we have gradually developed this partnership to the point where we are collecting turtle eggs from vulnerable nests of painted turtles, snapping turtles, Blanding’s turtles, and spotted turtles to ensure the hatchlings are protected. Every June, my team and I go out and travel around the property to assist turtles in danger around high traffic areas. Our goal is to find turtle nests, document the location, and – depending on the nest – go back and collect the eggs. The eggs then incubate at our plant in the Customer Service area and are monitored and maintained weekly. Over the past five years, we have collected more than 900 eggs, with a 70% hatch rate. Once hatched, we release these new turtles into the wild. While our main focus is supporting the hatching process, we also keep an eye on the adult turtle population. We keep track of any injured turtles and help bring them to the team at the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre to get healed before returning to the wild.

Growth in a Changing Industry

There is plenty of excitement and enthusiasm as Covia continues to grow. I am looking forward to the endless possibilities that await new Team Members as they enter a changing industry. I am excited to act as a mentor to assist them in tackling new challenges as they make their own path, just like the hatchlings we help in our conservation efforts. I am happy to take in this new generation of talent and watch them thrive.

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At Covia, we are committed to being more than just a leading provider of high-performance mineral and material solutions – we believe that our company can make a positive difference in the world. This belief is what drives our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, which is influenced by both our journey as an organization and the events in the world around us.

Our commitment to operating as a responsible corporate citizen has been embedded into every aspect of our business for decades and serves as the foundation for Covia’s ESG initiatives. From our operations to our Team Members and the communities in which we live and work, we continue to define WHAT WE’RE MADE OF as more than the materials we produce, but the impact we can make in every interaction.

In 2021, we enhanced our approach toward accelerating ESG performance by developing our formal GOALS THAT INSPIRE: ESG 2030. These 10 goals, broken into our three core areas - Environmental Stewardship, Positive Social Impact and Responsible Governance & Ethics - were developed by Covia Team members across the company and are designed to drive tangible and measurable progress in areas where we can make the most impact.

We have the commitment and strategy in place to drive meaningful progress and we are pledging to make a positive differences for our people, our planet and our communities.

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