Many of us are planning summer vacations about now. Some of you may be making the trek to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. I've been considering the idea as well. But my plan is to try convincing my publisher that it would be a business trip.
After all, what better editorial topic could there be than to research why the Disney parks have so many concrete sidewalks? Wouldn't you enjoy a great story on how Disney Imagineers prefer concrete as a medium for implanting surface textures and colors into their carefully designed park scenes?
I've been laying the groundwork for my proposal carefully. A few weeks ago I watched a documentary on television describing the beginnings of Disneyland more than 50 years ago. The filmmaker interviewed many of the early engineers. He asked Walt Disney's inner circle about the lessons each learned from that first season.
When it was built, Disneyland was a fast-tracked project. To speed things up, designers specified asphalt for most of the park's walkways.
While the park opened on time on May 20, 1955, management soon discovered a problem. The medical staff reported a series of similar accidents. Women were routinely severely twisting their ankles. The heels from their fashionable shoes would punch through the soft asphalt surface and cause them to trip. As a result, concrete became the preferred material for walkways.
It's nice to know that engineers in almost every part of the world, whether fantasy or not, recognize concrete's attributes. That's why I'm also studying the worthiness of a new Internal Revenue Service education deduction that would encourage concrete production managers to provide vacation rebates to their employees who make the effort to visit concrete-related sites. It would be an incentive to learn more about our great building material.
That's why on page 23 of our 2007 Sourcebook we've included a vacation directory of the best concrete monuments as selected by the ACI Historical Concrete Committee.
But I also realize that for more than 90,000 concrete professionals, World of Concrete is a sort of business vacation. That's why we have combined coverage of the event with sources of products, manufacturers, and other important resources. For our industry, WOC is more than a five-day annual event. It's a way of life.
Since I can't count on my boss approving my Disney research project, I have another plan. I'm looking forward to being a judge at the 20th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition that will be held June 14–16 in Seattle. The event involves thousands of students and faculty members from colleges and universities around the country. I'm convinced that the student involvement has provided an understanding of concrete's potential uses and will help the industry move from design specifications to a performance-based effort.
For more information, visit http://content.asce.org/inside/nccc2007.
If your supervisor won't recognize your dedication to our industry by visits to concrete monuments on your vacation, perhaps we can. We are still seeking nominations of North America's best concrete monuments. Eventually, I hope to create a web page listing your suggestions.
So please e-mail me your suggestions. We have a very limited supply of WOC merchandise left for those of you who submit early nominations.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor In Chief