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I'm now looking at the world through rose-colored sunglasses. I also bought pairs of gray, blue and even those silver reflecting glasses. After more than 40 years of being stuck in a four-eyed world, I've successfully introduced contact lenses into my life. And now I can shade my view of the world in any way I wish.

Freedom for this new point of view has had its costs. Learning how to insert and remove contacts has been a painful and humbling experience. More than once I've had to ask a perfect stranger to look into my eye to help me dig out a misplaced lens. And there was the financial commitment, as I've had to buy all the necessary supplies, such as reading glasses, solution, eyedrops, etc. But perhaps most important, I've upset the household's morning routine. I need a little more time in front of the mirror to get those tiny things intothe proper eye, with the correct sie facing my eyeball. This is taking vital mrror time from my daughter.

Despite these problems of retraining, capital expenditures, and time scheduling, my experience has renewed a basic view of life: Accepting new technology can make your life better. It's a great feeling to wipe sweat from one's face without the constraint of spectacles.

Concrete producers know all about the costs associated with accepting good technology. In fact, because our industry is so willing to move forward with new ideas, we've been able to stay somewhat profitable, whether the business cycles are good or not.

Our cover story this month demonstrates one producer's effort to not only meet the challenge of productivity, but to perform on a high-profile job under conditions vastly different from normal day-to-day business.

The Casting Trends feature profiles a producer in Pennsylvania that produced 15,000 feet of reinforced concrete pipe as part of a road project that helped ease congestion for travelers who venture to one of the Keystone State's most picturesque areas.

Also in this issue, you will find a special section called TruckWorks. Sure, as a producer, you manufacture concrete. But you also run a trucking business. Some aspect of every delivery relies on a truck of some sort. This special section will provide a detailed look at the subject of work trucks and offer an preview of the National Truck Equipment Association's Work Truck Show, March 7-9, in Indianapolis.

Speaking of innovation, I hope you will consider attending our bauma Reader Tour. I've been working with several manufacturers to create a unique look at the world's largest construction show and to visit how these tools and systems on display are used.

If you go you'll not only see the best German construction, you also will see me in my new European shades.

ryelton@hanleywood.com