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Off the mat: To the pinnacle Upbringing of former wrestler helps him rise to the top and rescue major U.S. concrete co.

From the past, the Sandbrook family (from left): Steve, Tom, Barbara, Bill and Dean.

With parts of the country in the midst of a construction boom and signs for a federal push on rebuilding infrastructure, things are looking up for Bill Sandbrook, president and CEO of U.S. Concrete, based near Fort Worth, Texas.

With parts of the country in the midst of a construction boom and signs for a federal push on rebuilding infrastructure, things are looking up for Bill Sandbrook, president and CEO of U.S. Concrete, based near Fort Worth, Texas.

The Nazareth native has been on a media blitz the last six months, touting the company’s success since he joined the ready-mixed concrete maker five years ago when it had just exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

By 2015, U.S. Concrete had sales of $1 billion and its stock now trades at about $56 a share, a meteoric rise from the $2 a share it was trading at in 2011 when Sandbrook took the helm. The company, which also makes construction aggregate products, has 185 ready-mixed plants and other facilities across the country and 2,700 employees.

Sandbrook’s rise to the highest ranks of the concrete business may have seemed like destiny for a boyhood spent in Nazareth surrounded by cement plants and a father who worked at Atlas Cement, Essroc Cement Co. and other cement companies.

“He was born for this,” said Steve Sandbrook, his youngest brother and owner and president of Eagle Mine Safety, a mining industry consulting firm in Nazareth.

Bill Sandbrook, 59, now lives in Texas, but his roots run deep through the Lehigh Valley’s bedrock.

He comes from a family that made – and continues to make – its living pulling rock from the earth, whether anthracite coal and slate that his Welsh ancestors mined in Pennsylvania, limestone used to make Portland cement or the crushed gravel and quarried rock and other aggregate used to make concrete.

Sandbrook’s path from Nazareth to head U.S. Concrete was not a straight shot, but not out of character for the oldest of three brothers who seemed a natural-born leader, his family said.

“From the time he was a little kid, he was the great organizer, the great equalizer,” Steve Sandbrook said.

Because of their father, Dean, who worked as a manager for cement companies, the family moved about every 18 months since the time Bill was a toddler, settling in places as disparate as Waco, Texas, and Cleveland, Ohio.

Wendy Solomon

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