Bruce W. Woolpert, who left a career at Hewlett-Packard to lead Granite Rock Co., a family-owned Watsonville, Calif., construction materials supplier and paving contractor that grew with the state's once- booming economy, died on June 24 in a Lake Tahoe boating accident, says the firm. He was 61 and had been president and CEO since 1987. Granite Rock named as interim CEO Mark Kaminski, a board member and former chief of a metals producer. Granite Rock has 600 employees but did not disclose revenue.
Granite Rock's roots date to 1900, when Woolpert's grandfather, A.R. Wilson, launched the company and its rock quarry. The firm was the parent of Granite Construction Co., also in Watsonville. Granite spun off in 1936 and now is publicly traded. Woolpert implemented many production and workplace innovations, winning the U.S. government's Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992 for "expanding the terms of competition." Says William G. Dorey, who stepped down in 2010 as Granite Construction's CEO, "I was a customer of Granite Rock as well as a competitor. Bruce embraced innovative management techniques long before they became popular."