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I 've been in cleanup mode for the last few months because our offices moved recently. The new digs feature an open office layout, designed to encourage interoffice communication.

While the new cubicles are nice, I'm not yet convinced the office design consultant really understands how people work. Each person doesn't seem to have enough space.

I found myself remembering the days of my first superintendent assignment. The company had assigned me to reactivate a plant that had been dormant for several years. For the owners, it was a sort of homecoming, as the mothballed plant had been the company's second or third operation. Over the years, the neighborhood had encircled the acreage and the owners had opted to use the land for their new corporate service center.

With the promise of a series of large commercial projects in the immediate future, we had purchased a new portable plant. We set the unit up on the opposite side of the property from the brain-center.

My little dank office trailer was separated by an acre of rock and dust from where the “real” work happened. It was perfect. Only the operations folks and the owners ever visited. The rest of the corporate big shots rarely trekked out to the hinterlands to take in the plant's rustic nature.

My dispatcher was a fun-loving soul. Every day she organized a new betting pool, charity drive, or just passed on great gossip. My major contribution was the coffee maker that we operated in direct violation of the company rules. I knew I was okay when the owner began to stop in for a cup each morning.

I'm not sure who pulled the pin on our fun. It might have been the safety officer who ruled our 15-year-old wood trailer was a death-trap in the making. But I think it was the accounting manager who had the final say.

Our little operation had been extremely successful, and he said he needed to bring our batching system in line with everyone else's. So, they moved the dispatcher and me into the main office building. Perhaps the move was their way to get us in line with their corporate image.

I'm sure that someone out there reading this trip down memory lane is sitting in his own trailer, away from the demands of corporate efficiency. I hope he enjoys his free time. Because anyone reading this magazine is probably destined to become one of those managers who wants standardization. But just as important, I hope the managers who read this in their corporate offices will take time to remember how much fun can be had while working in tough conditions.

It's a thought I hope I never forsake. In the last 10 years, THE CONCRETE PRODUCER has portrayed some of the most interesting people, plants, and products our industry has ever seen. Our success is due to you.

I hope you'll enjoy our review of the last 10 years. But more importantly, I urge you to continue to share your dreams, successes, and concerns with us. You have a choice with what you do in your spare time. I appreciate that you spend it with us.

Rick Yelton
Editor In Chief

ryelton@hanleywood.com