I started with Hanley Wood as an intern in 2003. Interestingly, The Concrete Producer first introduced me to the concrete industry. I remember former editor in chief Rick Yelton asking me, “What’s in concrete?” Without any hesitation I responded, “Cement!” I’ve learned since then that there is much more to concrete than just cement.

Through the years, I’ve worked on various publications, including Concrete Construction, Public Works, and the World of Concrete publications. In each role I’ve gained a little more knowledge, which put me in the ideal position to serve as community manager of the various brands, where I engage with readers on our social media platforms. It’s been the most fun I’ve had. Being able to communicate with the audience has allowed me to not only gain insight on what you are interested in, but I’ve also made connections with industry thought leaders such as Jay Shilstone.

I was recently promoted to editor of TCP. Though I’ve come a long way from thinking concrete is made simply of cement, I still have more to learn. In an attempt to make light of a funny news item, I recently posted a question on the TCP LinkedIn page asking, “Would you ever consider using dog poop in your concrete mixes?” While most people found the tongue-in-cheek humor and answered accordingly, one reader felt I was out of line. He went so far to say, “It is quite obvious you are starving to gain notoriety as topic contributor.”

My goal wasn’t to bring my name to the forefront, but rather step back and let the industry experts discuss the notion of something so outrageous as to put dog poop in a concrete mix. Gaining notoriety isn’t important to me. I know that to be successful, I need to learn from industry experts such as Bill Palmer, Colin Lobo, Rick Yelton, and Jay Shilstone. And while learning, have a little fun, too.

Now while we’re talking about the importance of names, how about focusing on one that matters to you. Shilstone recently conducted a survey on concrete mix names. He’s often asked what is the best way to name concrete mix designs. “The simple answer,” he says “is the way that works best for you.”

The industry doesn’t need to develop a single product code naming convention and force all producers to use it. Shilstone was tired of giving a stock, generic answer and decided to come up with a specific response. “I wanted to get opinions beyond my own. I don’t expect that established producers are going to change their current naming conventions, but with all the acquisitions going on, many producers realize they have an opportunity to improve their current practices and to start fresh with a new naming convention,” he says.

Different mix designs

We must get away from the notion that every mix design is different from every other mix design. “Two different concrete mix codes may, in fact, represent the same mix design,” Shilstone says. A mix code that reflects a six-sack mix may contain the same quantities of materials as a mix code that represents a 4,000-psi mix design or a 0.45 w/c. Engineers shouldn’t be so hung up on requiring that statistical overdesign submittals all come from concrete from the same mix code.

ACI standards require that standard deviations be calculated individually for each mix code, then be combined in a set formula. Producers should be allowed to combine test results from different mix codes into a single population, and then calculate the standard deviation of that population. Of course, the wider the range in cementitious content for the population, the greater the variability, forcing producers to use more cementitious material.

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