Representatives from Middle Tennessee State University, Arizona State University, Texas State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and California State University - Chico received funds totaling more than $150,000 at the CIM's National Steering Committee Meeting in San Marcos, Texas.

My daughter thought she fooled me when she ordered the double pork chop entree for her birthday meal. She hasn't eaten that much food at one sitting in her life. So I wasn't surprised when she left with a take-away box for the next night's supper. I'm a soft touch when it comes to helping out.

Perhaps that's why I find it so rewarding to support, through my role at Hanley Wood, the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program in its fundraising efforts. With your help, the annual World of Concrete auction has raised almost $2 million. These funds are used to support the five universities that offer our industry a unique degree.

The NSC's efforts represent only a small portion of our industry's financial commitment to establish and develop these programs. Schools receive operating funds from their states, but the real support comes from local patron groups. These groups raise local funds and provide industry mentors for school activities and classrooms.

NSC funds generally support non-operating program expenses and initiatives that benefit all CIM schools. These efforts are highlighted in the committee and faculty reports presented at each semi-annual board meeting. The fall board meeting offered excellent examples of ways in which the NSC is developing a quality national program.

The board received requests from CIM faculty to support development of new industry-specific courses. Professors typically repurpose associations' educational resources. But efforts are being made to develop courses on decorative concrete and contractor business.

Auction funds support out-of-classroom learning experiences, such as night pours in Arizona, where students conduct side-by-side strength tests. Faculty and students have been involved in repairing structures at the National Park Service's Alcatraz Island. Faculty/student teams have also logged hundreds of hours building sidewalks and making other improvements on Habitat for Humanity homes around the country.

There's no soft touch in helping pick up the tab to educate our future work-force. It's good business. These young men and women represent our future, and the students are appreciative and engaged. As evidence of this excitement, Gyasi Bryan-Smith, a senior at the New Jersey Institute of Technology CIM program, has made a YouTube video. It's posted on the program's web site at

The Newest CIM School

CIM National Steering Committee members recently had the opportunity to visit Texas State University, home of the nation's newest CIM program. The highlight was a tour of the concrete lab facilities in the Ingram School of Engineering. The lab's construction and outfitting was completed and funded by the university as part of its commitment to the CIM program's success. The concrete lab features state-of-the-art testing equipment and a large moist curing room.

[WEB EXTRA SLIDESHOW] CIM at Texas State University

BE A PART OF THE ACTION: For those who will miss the thrill of the World of Concrete auction in person, CIM has arranged online bidding. Simply pre-register using the Ritchie Bros online bidding service at First-time users must register a few days prior to the event.