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Pretty in Pink

Praire Material Debuts Two Rosy Cement Trucks — Howard Ludwig, Staff Writer

Rob Marcowka, of Oak Lawn, drives a real head- turner. Marcowka has driven a cement truck for Praire Material Sales Inc. for 10 years. This summer, he received a new truck with a bright, shiny paint job. A pink paint job. Bridgeview - based Praire Material purchased two pink cement trucks in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness. The disease is expected to kill 43,000 women this year. “I was honored,” Marcowka said of being asked to drive the pink truck” Marcowka’s mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. And nearly everyone in the company knows someone who has been impacted by the disease, said Michael Oremus, owner of Praire Materials.

Nevertheless, Marcowka still catches abuse when he arrives on a job site. Then as the truck’s mixer turns to reveal the pink ribbon symbolic of breast cancer, most of the smirks turn solemn. “He definitely gets ribbed. I have some rough-and-tumble guys here,” Oremus said. The pink truck was the suggestion of John Christopher Oremus – Michael Oremus’ 13 year-old halfbrother. John Christopher’s aunt was hit hard by breast cancer. Praire Materials is solicited about three times per year by advertisers interested in marking its rotating mixers into rolling billboards by adding company logos, Oremus said.

Oremus declined such offers in the past but decided to make an exception this Christmas. The pink trucks are branded with a “Breast Cancer Awareness” sign and a pink ribbon on the rotating mixer. Praire Materials ordered 40 new trucks this year. With all but two trucks painted in Praire Material’s signature green, the pink trucks became a difficult special order, Oremus said.

The pink trucks finally arrived in April, joining Praire Material’s fleet of 600 cement trucks in Chicago area. One of the pink trucks opereates out of the main office in Bridgeview. The other truck works exclusively on projects in downtown Chicago. “It goes out everyday. It is a regular truck,” said Oremus, denying rumors that the pink truck was made exclusively for parades and fundraisers. Praire Materials gets about 12 years of use out of each cement truck. New trucks are added annually at a cost of about $150,000 each, Oremus said.

Marcowka has become a bit of a celebrity as the driver of a pink cement truck. He frequently poses for pictures with the vehicle and waves to drivers honking their horns. Though happily married, Marcowka jokes that his pink truck is a “chick magnet.” “If you are sitting in an intersection with a Lamborghini and I am sitting in this pink truck, I will get more phone numbers than you,” Marcowka said.

Howard Ludwig may be reached at
or (708)633-5954.



    Oremus Materials is a proud participant

in the fight against Breast Cancer.

We are committed to supporting

the Breast Cancer Awareness effort.

Our Pink Trucks signify our

respect and admiration for those

who are currently battling this illness

and those who have survived

this affliction.

Our hearts go out to those who

donate their time to organize, walk,

run and contribute to the

drive for a cure.



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