Leadership

BIOGRAPHIES

JIM THOMAS
DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL OPERATIONS


HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY TO BLACKLIDGE?
I was managing a plant in Mobile, Alabama that was a subcontractor manufacturing for Blacklidge.  There, I met the owner, Brittany Blacklidge, and we developed a rapport.  When the Mobile company was sold and restructured, Brittany offered me a position as Plant Manager for the Gulfport, Mississippi facility.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE EMULSIONS INDUSTRY?
My career first began in Utah as an entry level employee manufacturing pharmaceuticals, cleaners, pesticides, and specialty chemicals.  I then moved on to hazardous waste incineration, but was drawn back to manufacturing when I was introduced to asphalt emulsions.  I also served an eight year term in the Army Reserve while working shifts, 40+ hours per week.

Over 22 years, I moved my way up from the very bottom of this business as truck loader, then mill operator, shift supervisor, plant manager and ultimately director. I’ve held positions in five states at almost all levels in the industry and faced many of the challenges and rewards it has to offer.  With a hands-on approach to managing, I am out in the trenches with my employees almost daily.  There’s always more to learn.  I share my experience by making mentorship of others a high priority.

IN 22 YEARS, YOU MUST HAVE SEEN A LOT CHANGE! WHAT’S ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN?
I’ve seen some amazing changes in the industry, but the most important one is safety.  Employee safety is now a top priority.  I’ve also seen the evolution of emulsions manufacturing technology having worked in, repaired and retrofitted some 50+ year old plants with some real history – and having built a shiny new state-of-the-art plant from the ground up.

WHAT’S YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT AT BLACKLIDGE?
Overhauling the Gulfport facility has been my greatest achievement so far.  It’s very exciting to take a tired old plant and clean it up, modernize it, and make it energy-efficient and safe. I now travel to and consult with other Blacklidge operations to help improve their processes and designs as well.

WHERE DO YOU SEE BLACKLIDGE GOING IN THE FUTURE?
I see a lot of growth for Blacklidge in the future.  I look forward to playing a role in the development of new and improved road maintenance and construction technology, as well as expanding our operations into neighboring territories.

WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE?
I place a high value on family time.  I enjoy most outdoor activities with my wife and twin daughters – especially those involving the water or getting out in nature.

With a hands-on approach to managing, I am out in the trenches with my employees almost daily. There’s always more to learn.

Jim Thomas