The Socially Responsible Corporation

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    I was fortunate in my professional life to work for a company, Graniterock, that demonstrated the importance of being an active responsible citizen in the community.  Not only was the company active but individual team members were supported in their community efforts.  Team members are supported by paid time off to participate in the community as well as financial support to various non-profits which they are affiliated with.  Graniterock is a privately held 124-year-old construction and construction materials company located on the Central Coast of California.  The Company was led by the grandson of the founder, Bruce W. Woolpert. 

    Bruce was self-effacing to a fault, not seeking recognition for his company’s community contribution.  Bruce rather than criticize, sought solutions.  An example of this is the Bruce W. Woolpert Algebra Academy.  Bruce recognized that public education was failing to prepare children for high school algebra.  He gathered educators from nearby universities and created an algebra boot camp.  Hundreds of children have voluntarily attended the weeklong camp during their academic breaks, improving their math skills.  The academy teaches the practical applications of math.  Bruce enlisted several other businesses to sponsor the program.  Bruce saw a need and created a solution.

    During my time at Graniterock, the Company sponsored and participated in many community activities and projects.  To name a few, Graniterock has been the number one contributor to the United Way in the Santa Cruz County for numerous years.  The Company matches the team members contribution dollar for dollar.  A couple of team members decided to create a 10K run at the largest industrial granite quarry west of the Mississippi.  The entry and sponsorship fees from the event have generated several hundred thousand dollars which were contributed to a nearby school.  At least 3 parks have been built as a result of the Company’s generosity.  Graniterock’s community impacts are too numerous to list.

    Graniterock’s community contributions are not limited to recreation and education.  The Company built two solar projects at its industrial granite quarry.  The two solar projects generate 6 megawatts of electricity.  Further, Graniterock converted its corporate headquarters to a zero-energy facility.  The Company continues to research effective ways to minimize its environmental impact.

    My role in the Company was chief financial officer.  Over time I began to recognize that a corporate entity’s purpose is not just about profit.  Can a CFO really say that?  The role of the corporation should be to be a good community citizen.  Work makes up the majority of our waking hours and it should support active community involvement by the corporation itself as well as its team members.  Employers should strive not only for profit but to be positive contributors and collaborators with the community.  

    Bruce believed the Company had a responsibility to be a good corporate citizen.  He exemplified this to his team.  Team members have lent their expertise to numerous non-profits as well as local government agencies.  I learned from him that not only should the corporation be a good citizen but we as individuals need to be good citizens as well.  Naturally, community service entails being active outside of the workplace.  It’s easy to find fault in our institutions but finding fault while not participating in solutions is not useful.  Graniterock has instilled in its employees the importance of working with the non-profit community and governmental agencies.  Team members recognize that in order to be a responsible citizen, it is necessary to be involved rather than complacent.


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    Steve Snodgrass
    Steve Snodgrass
    With over 40 years of executive leadership experience, Steve Snodgrass has played a pivotal role in guiding numerous major organizations to success. Alongside his corporate endeavors, Steve has been actively involved in various nonprofit and community boards, making significant contributions to community welfare. His tenure as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Graniterock, where he also held the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) from 2000 to 2018, and his ownership of Montbell, a direct competitor to The North Face and Patagonia, demonstrate his profound impact on business strategies and technological advancements. Steve's commitment to community service is evident through his engagement with numerous boards and advocacy roles, including the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation and the Cabrillo College Foundation. He has chaired social service districts and participated in committees focusing on civil rights, environmental concerns, and emergency services, earning recognition such as the Jefferson Award for his dedication to community service. Steve's skillset encompasses strategic planning, vendor management, ERP systems, team building, and business intelligence, making him a highly respected leader known for his strategic decision-making and effective management. Steve Snodgrass epitomizes a dynamic leader, blending a successful finance career with a deep commitment to social responsibility, leaving a lasting impact on both professional and societal fronts.