2014 Fall Newsletter








Our Underground Concrete Pump
Our Underground Concrete Pump

Getting Wet with Shotcrete Innovations

R G Johnson has provided quality shotcrete application for many years. Dry-process shotcrete uses compressed air to pump mixed cement, sand, and gravel to the spray point. The compressed air suspends the mix in the pipe from the pump to the spray point. Water is then added at the spray point. We’ve become pretty good at dry-process shotcrete application.

Our innovation timeline:

Mid 1980’s: We upgraded from a smaller pressure pot gun (Allentown N1) to a larger pressure pot gun (N2). Production jumped from 1.0 cubic yard per machine hour to 1.5 cubic yards per hour.

Late 1980’s:  We bought our first bowl gun (Reed Sova). It was easier to run. But, we could still only shoot 2 cubic yards per machine hour-if that.

Early 1990’s: We made a giant leap in the dry-process world with the help of a shotcrete consultant. We learned how to mix our own shotcrete with a volumetric batch plant. We paired the mixing plant with a revolving cylinder pump (Aliva). We jumped to 4.6 cubic yards per machine hour. And, we pumped shotcrete up to 2,000 pipe feet from our surface plant.

2000’s: We added more Aliva guns and we paired each gun with pre-dampening mixers that help reduce dust at the nozzle from pre-packaged material. We also became a Quikrete distributor. And, we worked with Quikrete to package our own mix design in 3,000 pound bulk bags. The use of bulk bags became common on all of our “small” surface plant projects.

      2010’s: We began using a larger volumetric concrete plant to mix our own material on the surface. We paired that plant with a               higher production Aliva gun and a larger diameter pipe line. This bumped daily production rates up more.    

Now we’ve taking another giant leap. Earlier this year we performed our first underground project with the “wet process” shotcrete method. Commonly known as wet shotcrete, the end product is the same as dry-process shotcrete. However, we pump mixed shotcrete that includes water from the pump to the spray point. Compressed air and accelerator are added at the spray point.

Wet shotcrete advantages:

Higher Production: Regular concrete pumps are used to pump wet shotcrete. This results in rates up to 20 cubic yards per machine hour.

Lower Dust: Wet shotcrete is wet. So, dust at the nozzle is eliminated. This is extremely important in the mine where dust control is a high priority.

Less Rebound: Chemical accelerator is added at the nozzle to make the shotcrete stick. This maximizes the amount of material that stays on the target.

Improved Safety: Higher production, lower dust, and less rebound results in less exposure to hazards for our nozzle operators and helpers.

Long Distance Pumping: We use the same ultra-high strength concrete mix that we pump up to 5,000 feet for wet shotcrete. Extended distances will help us compete with low-cost-labor contractors that handle thousands of 50 pound bags underground. We can also save the mine dozens of supply car trips with packaged material by pumping from the surface.

We continue to learn new and better procedures and processes for wet shotcrete.  We already know how to pump concrete which should shorten our wet shotcrete innovation time line.

We look forward to providing this additional product to our customers. And, we hope to leave our competitors all wet.



First Crew in Kentucky: Ian Marsteller, Luke Mason, Rich Lemasters, Travis Vliet
First Crew in Kentucky: Ian Marsteller, Luke Mason, Rich Lemasters, Travis Vliet

River View Shaft Update

This project has been ready to begin since late September 2014.  Unfortunately, until Monday, October 27, we had not been released by the owner or MSHA, District 10, to begin work because of a disagreement in how we comply with a specific regulation that applies to hoisting personnel in our shaft work.  There is a law which states that when shafts exceed 100 vf, guides and guide attachments or “other no less effective means”, must be used to prevent the man-trip bucket, cage, or platform from “swinging”.  When this issue came up four years ago in MSHA, District 2, it was approved that our “Boom-Swing Lock-Out Switch” was an “other no less effective” means of compliance with this regulation.  Since this approval was received back in 2011, we have had 13 different construction plans approved two of which are in operation today, the Marshall Shaft for MEPCO and Thomas Run Shaft for Patriot Coal.  There have been numerous contracts, messages, emails, telephone calls, conference calls, follow up submittals to MSHA all of which had not produced any resolution to this conflict until the last Monday of October.  Soon after the initial disagreement, our issue moved to MSHA’s headquarter in Arlington, VA and has involved their Assistant Secretary, Chief Administrator, Safety Division and Technical Support divisions.  While we did have two site visitations with various MSHA officials in late September, little or no dialogue or discussion had transpired to resolve this matter.  Late on Monday, October 27, I received a direct phone call from the Acting District Manager stating that they will approve our current methods of personnel hoisting as recognized in MSHA District 2 and 3.  After informing the customer, we now begin the process of finalizing government paperwork and more importantly moving forward with performing this work for a new client in the Illinois Basin.  This is great news; now with John Jones and Ron Rose leading the way, let’s begin the process of performing new work safely and efficiently to strengthen our reputation in a new market for a new customer!


Golf Tournament Winners: Luke Mason, Tom Crooks, John Henry
Golf Tournament Winners: Luke Mason, Tom Crooks, John Henry

Annual Golf Outing

Wow, we were blessed with a perfect fall day for our 13th Annual RG Johnson Golf Outing.  The day dawned chilly and clear and quickly warmed up to a beautiful, sunny 77 degrees.  The golf course was in great condition and all the golfers were cheerful and ready to tee off!  There were 64 duffers in all; some were long time old friends and some were new ones. There were lots of great prizes, thanks to many of our generous vendors, and a delicious catered lunch from Hog Father’s.  The winning team was Tom Crooks, Luke Mason and John Henry with a score of 8 under.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.      


Special Medical Response Team
Special Medical Response Team

Special Medical Response Team Visits BMX 7N2 Shaft Project


Incorporated in 1984, and presently comprised of a group of volunteer Nurse Practitioners,  Registered Nurses, Paramedics, EMTs and Physicians, Communication/Logistics professions, amongst other professions and skill sets.  The Special Medical Response Team is a group of highly qualified rescue-oriented individuals.  The large majority of SMRT personnel work on a volunteer basis, donating their time and skills to the betterment of the state of Pennsylvania.

Aside from providing rescue and response services ranging from Urban Search and Rescue to Law Enforcement Life Support, SMRT has a specialized response team  dedicated to Mine Medical Support.  The function of this team is largely funded and fully supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  SMRT mine rescue personnel have completed new miner training, have received detailed training session on common miner safety equipment (i.e., the operation of self-rescuer devices), as well as on the rescue tactics necessary for the unique


conditions of underground mines of various types.  The group has traveled onsite to experience potential rescue conditions first hand, including but not limited to; anthracite mines, salt mines, and low coal mines.  The group was involved with various notable rescue operations such as the Que Creek Mine disaster, Hurricane Katrina and the September 11th attacks.


R.G. Johnson was very grateful to have several members of SMRT travel from their various living locations in the surrounding Pittsburgh area (spanning all the way to Homer City, PA) to the BMX 7N2 shaft site.  The trip was a very valuable learning experience for all parties involved.  R.G. Johnson was able to learn more about the procedures and tactics that could be provided by SMRT in the event of an emergency.  In the event of a situation that would require an extended rescue effort, we were provided with an emergency phone number to use to contact the response team.  For most of the SMRT personnel, It was the first group trip to journey down a mine shaft, which provided a much needed perspective on how their services could be used most effectively.  Additionally, the group was familiarized with the job’s surface layout and the surrounding areas to determine the best way to set up their temporary facilities in the event they were needed. 

We would like to thank the entire group of SMRT personnel for their support and interest in helping RG Johnson.  We would also like to extend a special thanks to Rod Shabbick for helping to coordinate the event.  There is no more honorable task than to dedicate your time and potentially your own safety to help others in an emergency, and this group should be commended on their selflessness and dedication.



Autumn Sweet Potato Hash with Spicy Italian Sausange


2 links Spicy Italian Sausage, casing removed

2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced small

1 Small Onion

1 Red Bell Pepper, diced


Black Pepper

Paprika, pinch

Onion Powder, pinch

Garlic Powder, pinch

Italian Seasoning, pinch

1 tsp fresh flat-leaf Parsley, chopped

1 green onion, chopped

1/4 cp Asiago Cheese, grated

 Serves 2



Place a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat; once hot, crumble the sausage into the pan allowing it to stay relatively chunky and brown it for several minutes.

Next, add into the pan the onion and the red bell pepper and sauté those with the sausage for a few moments until golden-brown (add more olive oil if needed); add in a pinch or two of salt and fresh ground black pepper, the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and stir to combine.  Add in the diced sweet potato, stir, and everything until it starts to caramelize and soften a bit, cover for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Finish the hash by adding the chopped parsley and green onion and fold those in.  Spoon the hash into bowls or plates and top with the grated Asiago cheese; serve with a fried egg, if desired.


Here's What's New

Congratulations to James Foley and his new bride, Candy, who were married on August 16.  Happily Ever After.

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