With all of the changes in the ready-mix business, it has always been easy for me to tell customers and friends, “If you don't like the concrete business today, just stick around. Something will be new and different tomorrow.”

Little did I know that something new would hit me right between the eyes when I least expected it. The economic realities of the times we live in caught up to the producer I worked for. The owner sold the business and when the dust settled, I found myself on the outside looking in.

So now, I start a new chapter in my life. I'm focusing on my acquired talent as a writer. So as the new year begins, I'm getting excited about the thought of all the different subjects I can write about.

I'd like to thank all my loyal friends who have sent e-mails, telephoned, and commented on the articles I have crafted. I have always enjoyed hearing how I've hit a funny bone somewhere, or reminded you of a situation that could assist you in your “concrete” life.

Now with my free time, I'm planning on giving “As the Drum Turns” a new twist. This year, I will write some of your stories. But I'll need your help.

I will be at the Speakers' Corner at the World of Concrete on the second floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This is in the main hall between the North and Central Halls.

Learning your stories

I am excited about meeting all of you who have contacted me and read my stories. I am anxious to get to work. This time, I want to learn about the experiences you have enjoyed (or perhaps endured) in your career in the concrete industry. I will write about these in my future columns.

I will be there for the full week, so be sure to visit, and say hello. Also, along with getting to meet all of you who come to the show, Hanley Wood has decided to publish a book of all of the articles I have written since the drum started turning.

It has been several years since I have had the opportunity to visit World of Concrete, and I'm looking forward to seeing all of the new “toys” that are coming available.

For many years, I had two Tonka trucks on my bookshelf at the office. Often, a vendor or customer would come in and comment about the display. For several years, I received more of these construction toys as gifts and just kept adding the replicas to my expanding collection.

After a while, I had received just about every replica you could imagine. I could have started a miniature construction project right there in the office. But if I did, I'd have to hire an inspector to come out and stake out a place for washout water and for dumping the spoils.

The last and my favorite of the toys was a remote controlled ready-mix truck painted with our company colors. The drum even turned. Imagine that. I can't wait to visit Las Vegas to see the life-size versions.

Thanks again for your support, and I look forward to meeting you in Las Vegas, Jan. 22–25.

jimambrose@aol.com