Quality is a common goal among concrete producers, so what makes a quality-control-oriented promotional effort by the Kentucky Ready Mixed Concrete Association different? Kentucky producers are working hard to eliminate traditional acceptance of poor-quality concrete construction practices.
Part of the reason for the wildfire growth in Kentucky is KRMCA's decentralized promotion approach. KRMCA's board has created separate marketing and promotion councils for separate state regions. Each year local producers select and then focus the promotion message they want for their area.
But even with the decentralized approach, there's a strong feeling of cooperation in how Kentucky producers attack promotion. The strategy actually hedges the group's promotional effort through local effort. One region has tackled the flatwork quality issue, another region is working to promote ACI certification through the state university system, while another area has promoted concrete homebuilding. In each area, producers are leading the pack toward the finish line.
KRMCA has organized several contractor training programs explaining important topics as water-cement ratio, curing, and other placement issues. Several producers have elected to participate in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association's Blue Ribbon Driveway Program. Here producers and contractors team up to guarantee concrete durability.
KRMCA members aren't only looking to train the contractor, they're working to educate the engineer and construction managers about quality concrete standards. In 1998 KRMCA members helped more than 500 state, county, and municipal inspectors achieve ACI Level I certification.
Dr. Walter Bowles teaches a sophomore-level class titled "Materials and Methods of Construction" at Eastern Kentucky University. In the course, students learn about wood, steel, and concrete in regard to building selection. The class's purpose is to teach students how to review material selection for projects and how to know whether the materials are within the specification listed by the architect or design civil engineer. Last fall, 19 students completed the class and were certified as ACI Level I inspectors.
Several other Kentucky colleges and universities have contacted KRMCA staff to learn how they can participate in similar learning experiences.
When conservative home buyers begin to design and build their dream house, a passionate and well-trained group of contractors can transform show-home interest into action. Purchasing decisions are much easier with home-built examples and competent contractors.
Undaunted by formidable marketing odds, for the past two years another KRMCA promotion committee has selected ICFs as the area's main topic. The committee's initial efforts focused on consumer awareness. Presentations at homebuilding shows, radio spots, and literature gradually created an interested audience.
Many ICF manufacturers have found coastal areas to be the best potential market areas due to increasingly stringent wind-strength requirements. But when concrete homes are marketed as energy-efficient, ecologically friendly, and long-lasting, the public in every region will not only listen but actively consider them.
One example of KRMCA member's commitment to quality is its new association headquarters and training center in Lexington. The structure contains a training room that has been scheduled for over 200 days each year for all aspects of training.
Keywords: Kentucky, education, train, promotion, Kentucky Ready Mixed Concrete Association, KRMCA, Federal Materials, flatwork, All-Rite Ready Mix, ACI certification, Concrete Materials Corp., Eastern Kentucky University, concrete home, insulating concrete form, ICF, AAB