Concrete Pros Gather In Mexico

Andre Pires Dias traveled more than 4600 miles to World of Concrete-Mexico in June. He arrived just in time to attend an afternoon seminar describing the Mexican government's housing program.

Dias is a business development executive for Camargo Correa Desenvolvimento Imobiliario, a Brazilian company that is interested in developing affordable concrete housing near Sao Paulo. “Fast-tracked concrete housing seems to be our best solution,” said Dias.

Dias joined more than 200 business and Latin American government leaders who are interested in solving the housing problem in their countries. The session was part of the Second Annual Conference on Sustainable Housing at the show.

WOC-Mexico, now in its third year, is establishing itself as the ideal place for concrete professionals to meet in Latin America. More than 225 exhibitors invested in the event. This year showcased an even larger contingency of manufacturers who primarily serve Latin America.

It also has drawn the attention of contractors and producers. Show directors José Navarro and Jackie James expected a 10% increase in attendance this year, primarily from contractors. “We've tried hard to establish a strong seminar program based on our efforts at World of Concrete held each January in Las Vegas,” said James.

Their efforts have paid off. This year for the first time, the American Concrete Pumper Association certified more than 30 pump operators. Bonnie King, World of Concrete seminar director, was pleased. “We are definitely finding a strong response to our contractor training and business focus seminars,” she said.

Reginald Delapenha agrees. He traveled from the Cayman Islands to further his precast development work. “It's been a great show,” he said.

Shareholders Approve Cemex Deal

Cemex gained control of Rinker Group in June, finally closing the $14.2 billion deal. More than half of Rinker's shareholders accepted Cemex's offer by June 7, more than two weeks before the scheduled closing date. “We are looking forward to the integration of Rinker, which will create one of the world's largest building materials companies,” said Lorenzo Zambrano, Cemex chairman and CEO.

Rinker's seven board members promptly resigned, replaced by five appointed by Cemex. Cemex is based in Mexico; Rinker in Australia. Both have large concrete and cement operations in the United States. Visit www.cemex.com and www.rinker.com.

New U.S. Concrete President

Michael Harlan has been appointed president and CEO of U.S. Concrete. He had been executive vice president and chief operating officer. He replaces Eugene Martineau, who retired recently. Harlan, 46, became senior vice president and chief financial officer when the company became public in 1999. In 2003, he assumed the additional role of executive vice president and chief operating officer. Visit www.us-concrete.com.

Green Building Awards Open

The second Holcim Awards competition to promote sustainable construction has opened. Prize money for the five regional competitions and the global awards totals $2 million. Entries are due Feb. 29, 2008. The 2005-06 competition attracted more than 3000 entries from 120 countries. For more information, visit the Web site at www.holcimfoundation.org.

Associations in the MixNew ACI President

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) has elected David Darwin as president. Darwin is the Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and director of the Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he has served on the faculty since 1974. ACI also elected Florian Barth as vice president; and Ramon Carrasquillo, Charles Hanskat, Michael Schneider, and Kari Yuers to the board. For more, visit www.concrete.org.

ASTM Award of Merit

Stephen Lane, associate principal research scientist for the Virginia Transportation Research Council in Charlottesville, Va., has been honored with a 2007 ASTM International Award of Merit. Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates cited Lane for his leadership and technical contributions to the committee, particularly related to concrete durability and alkali-aggregate reactivity. The award is the highest ASTM honor for individual contributions to standards activities. Visit www.astm.com.

ASCC Elects President, Board

Donald M. Marks, president of Form Works Inc., was elected president of the American Society of Concrete Contractors. Paul Albanelli, Livonia, Mich.; Clay Fischer, Jupiter, Fla.; Rocky Geans, Mishawaka, Ind.; and Mike Poppoff, Moxie, Wash., were elected vice presidents. Glen Shamblen, Tampa, Fla., was re-elected secretary/treasurer. Visit www.ascconline.org.