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Construction family business head dies in "tragic accident"

Bruce Woolpert, who was chairman, president and chief executive of family-owned Graniterock, which supplies materials to the construction industry, died on 24 June aged 61.

Bruce Woolpert, who was chairman, president and chief executive of family-owned Graniterock, which supplies materials to the construction industry, died on 24 June aged 61.

The American family business did not reveal the cause of death, instead describing it as a “tragic accident”, but media reports suggested Woolpert drowned on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in California. An investigation into the circumstances of his death is reportedly underway.

Woolpert took over the 112-year-old family company, founded by his grandfather Arthur, around 25 years ago. He previously worked at Hewlett-Packard for 10 years.

As head of Graniterock, Woolpert played an important role in improving customer satisfaction and increasing the number of clients the company served. Woolpert was best known for his work ethic in the community, often working seven days a week at the Watsonville-based group, which provides building materials like sand and granite to construction firms.

The statement by the business, which has often been named as one of the best companies in the US to work for, added that non-family Mark Kaminski, a member of the board, has been appointed chairman and acting chief executive of Graniterock.

“The Woolpert family has complete confidence in the current management team and Graniterock team members, and plans to continue operating the company for another 112 successful years,” said the release.

Woolpert also focused on improving his employees’ health by having a fitness centre in all its offices and offering yoga classes during lunch breaks. He was a big supporter of education, helping implement a number of study programmes in public schools.

He is survived by his wife Rose Ann and two children Marianne and Arthur – they all work at the family company.

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