Concrete Products

MAR 2018

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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42 • March 2018 CHAIRMAN'S REPORT BY DON MARSH New brands and digital products serving key building or pavement markets, coupled with allied group collaboration, have the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association set to sus- tain recent successes in membership, market and workforce development, plus advocacy at federal, state and local levels. "Last year was good from the standpoint of growing members, including small pro- ducers," says 2018 NRMCA Chairman Rodney Grogan, president of Ridgeland, Miss.-based MMC Materials Inc. "What's important to me is reaching as many ready mixed producers and associates as possible, having them feel a part of our association, and finding value in membership." Market conditions favor the membership trajectory, he adds: "In talking to a number of NRMCA producers across the industry, we saw overall steady growth in 2017; some areas better than others. The Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas were among the strongest. Importantly, growth has been sustained, not from spikes." NRMCA recorded year-over-year ready mixed concrete volume increases for every month in 2017. "Most of our members are optimistic about continued growth in 2018 at a fairly moderate rate, similar to what we have seen over the past couple of years," Grogan affirms. SAFETY ABOVE ALL A good economy and stable construction activity position NRMCA to advance recent Executive Committee and Board measures tailoring association structure and mission to changes in member company needs. Most notably, participants in the annual con- vention and ConcreteWorks; industry data, plant and fleet surveys; plus certification, education, promotion and advocacy efforts will see a committee streamlining. The Operations, Environmental & Safety Com- mittee has become Safety, Environmental & Operations, while the OES-HR Task Group and Educational Activities Committee have merged into Workforce Development. They will assimilate Business Adminis- tration Committee functions and operate along side continuing Concrete Promotion and Research, Engineering & Standards Committees. "Reorganization opens the possibility of greater committee involvement. Under the old structure, members were unable to attend some meetings at the Annual Convention or ConcreteWorks because of schedule conflicts," Grogan explains. "New committee names correspond to what we feel is important as members. We stepped back last year, examined the entire asso- ciation focus, and asked ourselves if we are still structured in the way needed to address current issues. I commend 2017 NRMCA Chairman Scott Parson for ques- tioning the status quo, looking at things differently, and suggesting major changes." The OES example is most instructive, he adds, noting, "We looked at the industry over the last decade and saw greater emphasis on safety, which ties into workforce develop- ment and worker retention. It's important for employees to know you care about their safety and wellbeing. The Operations side of the OES Committee is key, but the most important component of a ready mixed producer's business is operating in a safe manner. We determined the OES Committee should be oriented to the top priority." Concurrent with the transition, Safety, Environmental & Operations members created a new Safety Award. Backed by the NRMCA Truck Mixer Manufacturers Bureau, it recognizes indi- viduals or companies who institute a culture of safety throughout their operations. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT The Workforce Development Committee com- bines training, education and certification. "What's more important than training is what you look to accomplish with that exercise," says Grogan. "We see a pressing need among members to recruit and retain drivers and other individuals who make ready mixed con- crete businesses run. If we don't have the workforce, our success is in doubt." Workforce Development emerges from a banner year for predecessor committees and task forces. NRMCA hosted 33 sessions in 2017, equaling 21,500 hours of instruction for nearly 1,900 attendees or participants. Additionally, 500-plus mixer drivers earned Concrete Delivery Professional certification, while 300 more viewed online safety lessons. Through State Affiliate partnerships, over 350 contractors were certified in pervious concrete placement. Results from the Mixer Driver Recruit- ment & Retention Survey, a new Workforce Development benchmark of prior year trends, showed a brightening picture for 2017: 36 percent of respondents turned down busi- ness in 2016 due to lack of drivers versus 51 percent the prior year; driver vacancy rate steadily dropped about 2 percent during each of the past three years, to 4.6 percent; and, 92 percent of respondents indicated they would hire mixer drivers in 2017, up from 72 percent in 2016. BUILD WITH STRENGTH Workforce Development is one of four areas that will command the most attention from Rodney Grogan during his NRMCA Chairman's term. "Going into this year, it is important to keep identifying attainable and actionable goals, and measuring progress of meeting them," he says. Along with Workforce Devel- opment, he will track the Build With Strength coalition and companion Pave Ahead pro- gram; federal, state and local advocacy efforts; and, membership growth. Build With Strength launched in 2016 to recapture and extend cast-in-place concrete methods' share of the low- to mid-rise building market. "We are seeing real traction in the co- alition through state association participation and members carrying the Build With Strength message at local levels," notes Grogan. A CERTAIN CHAIRMAN MMC Materials' Rodney Grogan leads NRMCA in 2018 Rodney Grogan

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