CTE Teacher Field Trip to RCP Block & Brick

Written by Alyssa Burley.

RCP Block & Brick, a manufacturer of hardscape products and masonry supplies in Southern California, hosted Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers from the Grossmont Union High School District on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.  The field trip was organized by Project Cornerstone who is working with the district's CTE specialist to ensure the construction aggregates and related industries are included in the local CTE programs. 

CTE programs are designed to train high school students to enter the workforce or continue onto college after graduation, with the skills they need to be successful in today's job market.  Through educational paths in manufacturing, transportation, building and construction, engineering and architecture, and others, students graduate with skills that make them ready to enter the workforce.  Project Cornerstone is bridging the gap between high school CTE teachers and the industry in order to ensure there is a skilled workforce interested in the aggregates and related industries in the future.  Currently, most CTE programs do not educate students about the industry.

The field trip began at the RCP Block & Brick corporate offices at the Lemon Grove location.  Kathy Olsen and Craig Finch from RCP Block & Brick introduced the teachers to RCP's history and provided a tour of the offices, retail store, products and displays. 


After the tour at the Lemon Grove location, the group headed down to the Otay manufacturing plant.

The teachers toured the mechanic's shop to learn about the types of transportation jobs available in the construction aggregates and related industries.  The teachers asked questions and learned the skills employers want to see in new hires.

They also met the dispatcher who tracks and coordinates deliveries.


The group toured the building where concrete blocks are manufactured.


At lunch, the group of teachers listened to Matt Pound from Escondido Materials talk about engineering and the industry. 

After lunch, the teachers tested their masonry skills by building a concrete block wall.

Overall, the CTE teachers enjoyed the RCP Block & Brick field trip and each one took something positive away from the tour.

Photos by Alyssa Burley.

To be involved in future CTE teacher field trips, as a guest speaker, or offer internships, contact Crystal Howard at (619) 284-8515 or crystal@project-cornerstone.org.

Field Trip to RCP Block & Brick and Walker Preserve in Santee

Written by Alyssa Burley.

Students from the Lakeside Community Center visited RCP Block & Brick and the award-winning Walker Preserve in Santee, CA on Friday, August 28, 2015.

RCP Block & Brick is a concrete masonry and hardscape supplier.  The company mined sand from the San Diego River in order to manufacture concrete blocks used in local construction projects (e.g., hospitals, parking structures, schools, homes and community centers).

Students toured the facility and saw first-hand how concrete blocks are made.  Tom Phelps from RCP Block & Brick noted the blocks used to build the elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo came from the Santee plant and were made with sand mined from the San Diego River.

While at the plant, the students performed a sieve analysis to determine which sample of sand is best for making concrete (i.e., river or beach sand).  Then, they mixed their own concrete using sand, gravel, cement and water.  Instead of making concrete blocks, each student choose a fun silicon mold to use.  Some chose footballs, butterflies and trucks.  At the end of field trip each student were able to take their concrete projects home. 


Walker Preserve was created by removing sand from the San Diego River bottom.  The sand was used to make building materials.  The voids that were left from the sand removal were turned in to several ponds.  The ponds provide a water source for local wildlife and pleasant views for residents. The site’s reclamation plan transformed the formerly dry river bed into a rich nature preserve.

The students toured the trail and learned about the area's former use as a sand mine and the reclamation project designed to establish native vegetation along the slopes.

The City of Santee built the trail that runs along the northern edge of the preserve.  It is open to the public for walking, equestrian riding and biking. 


Photos by Alyssa Burley.

RCP Block & Brick's Walker Preserve Reclamation Project Receives Positive Response From Local Residents

Written by Alyssa Burley.

RCP Block and Brick's Walker Preserve reclamation project is getting a positive response from both Santee's residents and the local news media.

Reporter Jeff Zevely from CBS News 8 recently visited the award-winning Walker Preserve to promote the project's positive impacts on the community.

"If you want to let your kids run wild, walk your dog, ride your bike, ride your horse, or catch a fish, the answer is 'yes'," Zevely says about the Walker Preserve Trail.

This Santee treasure was made possible through RCP Block & Brick's sand mining operation and reclamation project that took place along the San Diego River.

RCP Block & Brick Wins National Reclamation Award

Written by Alyssa Burley.

RCP Block & Brick's Walker Preserve project was recently featured on the July 2015 cover of Aggregates Manager as the winner of the magazine's Reclamation Photo Contest.  Noted artist Brad Burns will create a custom painting of the award-winning project and it will be presented to the company.

"RCP Block & Brick is a family-owned company that extracts sand to provide material for the manufacture of its core products – concrete masonry units and retaining wall block," wrote Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief for Aggregates Manager in the July article.  "Its reclamation plan was approved in 1991 and began in 1994.  By working with the local community, the operator was able to restore the native vegetation and streambed along the new Walker Preserve Trail, which is a segment of the larger San Diego River Trail."

Walker Preserve Pond, Santee, CA, RCP Block & Brick's Reclamation Project. Photo by Alyssa Burley.

In her article, Dunphy further explains the positive relationship between RCP Block & Brick and the city, "along the reclaimed slopes of the site, the city of Santee installed a public trail with placards that explain how the river once provided the sand necessary for the concrete blocks many area residents have in their homes and schools.  The placards also highlight how the site has been reclaimed using native vegetation. Interestingly, this community education is all taking place on the community’s dime, not the operator’s. Considering that this project took place in California, it underscores that a good partnership can build ties in even the most unlikely of places."

Walker Preserve Trail, Santee, CA.  Photo by Alyssa Burley.

View the Photo Gallery of all contest entries.

Dunphy, T. (2015, June). PHOTOS: Reclamation photo contest entries showcase post-mining opportunities. Aggregates Managerhttp://www.aggman.com/photos-reclamation-photo-contest-entries-showcase-post-mining-opportunities/

Dunphy, T. (2015, July). Reclamation Stories Worth Sharing. Aggregates Managerhttp://www.aggman.com/reclamation-stories-worth-sharing/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=07-10-2015&utm_campaign=AM&ust_id=&

Project Cornerstone Exhibits at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce Mixer

Written by Alyssa Burley.

On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, RCP Block & Brick hosted the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce mixer at its Lemon Grove location. 

As a supporter of Project Cornerstone, RCP Block and Brick invited the organization to provide an interactive educational activity for the mixer attendees. 

At the beginning of the event, each attendee received a card with questions about the construction aggregates industry.  They were instructed to complete the card for a drawing at the end of the event. 

Upon visiting the Project Cornerstone booth, attendees asked questions about construction aggregates and the industry.  Many visitors made mini concrete stars while they asked questions to complete their cards.

Towards the end of the evening, the answers to the questions were revealed and several cards were drawn for various prizes.  Project Cornerstone also gave away three mini vehicles made out of concrete.


Photos by Alyssa Burley