Concrete Products

APR 2014

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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Page 35 of 51

34 • April 2014 Since taking the helm from Tom Kelley, P.E. as the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Insti- tute Chairman, Dean Gwin, president & COO of Gate Construction Materials Group, has been eager to assist and challenge members to "move the needle" of the percentage of times precast is chosen for construction projects in a rebounding market. Moving the needle was his recurring call for action as he addressed last year's PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference in Grapevine, Texas: "I challenge each of you to spend more time talking about the attributes our prod- ucts have over competing products in the early stages of design rather than focusing your efforts just before and after bid day. After such a downturn, we all have become guilty of this. Our industry is in the midst of a turn and we need to increase the percent- age of times architects, engineers and owners choose precast." Gwin has recently noted competitive advantages that will help move the needle, including: PCI Research and Development, which continues to demonstrate that pre- cast concrete can meet a multitude of design challenges; new building codes that create opportunities for precast methods' versatil- ity, effciency and resilience; and, increased implementation of Building Information Modeling and prefabrication that encourages greater use of precast concrete. But the big- gest way to move the needle, he contends, is through more well-planned collaboration. PCI members are more powerful as a unit- ed industry than as individual companies. One of the ways they can work together to move the needle in a positive direction, Gwin notes, is through the PCI Foundation. It has made great strides in providing for the industry's future success by growing the list of universities integrating precast/ prestressed concrete programs into their curriculum. The most recent universities to partner with the foundation are the Rhode Island School of Design and South Dakota State University. "For 2014, the PCI Foundation is work- ing with seven universities," explains Gwin. "An invaluable part of these programs is the interaction between the students and industry. Hands-on plant workshops open the eyes of students, making them more comfortable with using precast concrete as working architects and engineers. "The time is now to share the body of knowledge with these young men and wom- en who rely on us for guidance in designing and building precast concrete structures. An increase in contributions to the PCI Founda- tion would provide the traction we need to launch programs at 50 universities by 2025." Moreover, PCI Board of Directors has en- dorsed a plan for collaborating with the Na- tional Precast Concrete Association to capital- ize and leverage the strengths of both PCI and NPCA (see "Plant certifcation initial focus of PCI, NPCA strategic partnership," page 41). When asked about member response to the certifcation partnership, Gwin re- sponds: "Right now we are offering NPCA and PCI certifcation from one inspector during one inspection period. I don't think anyone who is both NPCA- and PCI-certifed has a problem with less inspections, less inspectors, and smaller inspection fees in the future." MARKETING CAMPAIGN The Discover High Performance Precast mar- keting campaign, which was launched last year, has made more than 6 million im- pressions. The campaign increases aware- ness of performance benefts of precast concrete with decision makers and infu- encers, and is fully integrated into all of PCI's marketing programs. The multi-media plan, which is coordinated with PCI Re- gions and members, is the most compre- hensive marketing effort the Institute has ever undertaken. Some of the tactics in- clude: advertising in major industry pub- lications; digital ads on target websites; having a strong presence at primary in- dustry gatherings such as the American In- stitute of Architects Convention and Green- build; and, holding monthly webinars and other continuing education opportunities. PCI provides more than 15,000 continuing education units per year. "Learn, promote, and incorporate PCI's marketing campaign, Discover High Perfor- mance Precast, into your company's sales and marketing activities," urges Gwin. "This unifed message will increase awareness and interest in precast concrete, causing the needle to jump." PCI producers can visit the members-only section of the newly designed— launched last September at the PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference—for campaign resources and tools. Since the new version went live, more than 40,000 unique users have visited the site, which offers an enhanced experience and improved information architecture than pri- or versions. It also provides new resources such as videos, project profles as well as advanced engineering, envelope, parking and transpor- tation resource sections. OSHA SILICA RULE Few regulatory measures have commanded precast/prestressed interests' like the Occu- pational Safety and Health Administration's proposed rulemaking to reduce the permis- sible exposure limit (PEL) for crystalline silica in General Industry and Construction. Along with the PCI Executive Committee and Board, Gwin tasked Institute staff with informing the agency of the proposed rule's faws and negative effects on members' plant operations and construction sites. PCI President James Toscas is scheduled to address public hearings OSHA is hosting in Washington, D.C., this month on the pro- posed silica rule revision—appearing along with representatives from Interlocking Con- crete Pavement Institute, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and Portland Cement Association. He will arrive with data from an 11-page document submitted on be- half of precast/prestressed interests during the September–February public comment period on the rule. His commentary chal- lenges the legal basis behind the rulemak- ing and details proactive employer measures that have sharply curtailed the incidence of silicosis attributable to workplace respirable crystalline exposure—annual deaths linked to the disease dropping from 1,157 in 1968 to below 100 at present. Continued on page 40 CHAIRMAN'S REPORT BY JOSEPHINE SMITH MOVING PRECAST TO THE TOP Dean Gwin Is 2014 Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Chairman Dean Gwin Concrete Products April 2014.indd 34 4/1/2014 11:39:23 AM

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