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72-hour tour answers 9/11 call

Today’s executives talk of corporate social responsibility. Bill Sandbrook is no exception, but his adherence to the concept dates back at least a decade.

Witnessing World Trade Center site coverage on September 11, 2001, from his Tilcon New York office in West Nyack, N.Y., he sensed the rolling stock, driver and equipment operator availability that federal, state and city officials would welcome in rescue efforts. Confidence in mobilizing iron and muscle had been gained in Cold War-era Germany, where Sandbrook helped build roads as an Army Corps of Engineers combat engineer company commander.

Before dawn on September 12, he began mustering a volunteer team of Tilcon area managers, top performers from the company’s materials operations, and drivers or road-crew members from contract haulers and subcontractors. Thanks to early a.m. communications with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey staff, the Tilcon wheel loader and dump truck convoy was the first major group allowed to cross at Sandbrook’s designated meeting point: the George Washington Bridge.

Stretching 10 blocks, the convoy proceeded from upper Manhattan down a well-cleared Avenue of the Americas toward the World Trade Center site. Appreciation for chain of command, not to mention loader and dump mechanics, enabled Sandbrook to coordinate with site officials the most rapid means of convoy deployment. From September 12–14, the Tilcon contingent was assigned around-the-clock shifts clearing debris from the immediate site, plus perimeter and side streets.

Sandbrook discussed his September 11–14 experience with Aggregates Manager (January 2002), which named him 2001 AggMan Professional of the Year. Additional community service undertakings that followed the convoy garnered him recognition as Rockland County, N.Y., 2002 Business Leader of the Year, Dominican College 2002 Man of the Year, and American Red Cross 2003 Man of the Year for Southern New York.