Yves Willems, CEO, Carmeuse Lime & Stone
When I assumed the role of CEO, North America for Carmeuse Lime & Stone in 2014, I began traveling to and spending much more time in the city of Pittsburgh. Carmeuse is a private, family-owned Belgian company with its North American headquarters based here in this city. Over the past four years, I have grown to love the people, neighborhoods and the diverse culture of Pittsburgh. Pittsburghers are proud of their diverse heritages; they are very hardworking and passionate! I have found people to be welcoming, engaging and very friendly. It is clear when you talk to me that I am from a different country and I have found people even more engaged with me to make me feel welcome. This doesn’t happen in other cities when I travel, not like it does in Pittsburgh. I deeply believe the success of Carmeuse and many other Pittsburgh-based companies is in part due to the strength, unity and cohesiveness of its people.
The events that took place on Saturday October 27, 2018 at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill are deeply disturbing to me and to all the members of the Carmeuse team. This act of hatred and intolerance is not reflective of the Pittsburgh community we love and serve. Carmeuse unites with the City of Pittsburgh and all its residents as we take a stand against violence. As a native Belgian, the unjust acts of violence and terrorist attacks in my homeland in recent years have been very disconcerting and troublesome as well. These acts of hatred and aggression towards others try to divide and frighten us. Acceptance of one another starts with each of us as we are all connected as humans and Pittsburghers, regardless of race, creed, religion, or any other difference between us.
Our sincerest sympathies go out to the victims, families and those impacted by the actions of one individual, and we wish for speedy recoveries for the police officers harmed while protecting and serving the community. We are thankful and grateful for the many men and women who act as emergency responders and selflessly put themselves in harm’s way.
Carmeuse would like to offer the services of our Employee Assistance Program to anyone in need; regardless of affiliation with Carmeuse or not. Anyone affected by the Tree of Life Synagogue violence can reach the free crisis support line at 1.866.885.6540. This 24/7 crisis support hotline offers professional emotional support to anyone in need. When calling the crisis line, individuals will receive crisis counseling support and/or referral to community resources. We are willing to help our neighbors in any way possible. Carmeuse looks forward to our partnership and continued unity with organizations like the Allegheny Conference and the fellow companies involved. May we all work together to bridge our differences and create a kinder, more accepting and loving future for Pittsburgh and all our children.
Yves Willems CEO,
Carmeuse Lime & Stone Inc.