This year we will honor the Top Influencers with custom awards symbolizing the industry they so effectively promote: photo-engraved precast concrete plaques, from PhotoCrete USA.

The specialty precast company, based in Burleson, Texas, creates photographic precast artwork, ranging from 9 x 13 in. plaques to panels of almost any size.

The design team first makes a screen from a digitally enhanced image, then transfers it to plastic film through a proprietary chemical process. The film is placed inside the concrete formwork, concrete is poured, and a chemical process delays formation where the image is located.

Aggregates are an important part of the picture (literally). The chemical process exposes colored crushed stone on the concrete's surface, which forms the image. Finally, the panel is power washed, and the photo pixels emerge. The advantage of this process is that the pictures will not fade or deteriorate over time. "These images will last as long as the concrete," says president Larry Vines. A high performance mix with synthetic fiber gives the panels strength and durability.

Vines stated PhotoCrete USA began eight years ago. He had been selling the technology to precasters for a French company when he realized there was strong demand for the niche product. Since then, Vines and his five full-time employees have been busy. Clients range from proud grandparents who want their grandchildren's faces set in stone, to cities with Main Street programs to preserve their history with memorials and special walkways.



The producer can cast mass precast pieces for larger audiences, such as schools or corporations with specific logos. PhotoCrete recently produced an artistic panel of Edwaerd Muybridge's "Bricklayer in Motion" for the Liquid Stone exhibit, at the request of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

To see examples of PhotoCrete's work, visit www.photocreteusa.com, or contact the company at (817) 561-2001.

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