I believe no good deed goes unpunished. I'm not giving up on trying to do the right thing, but sometimes, it just gets hard to know what's correct.

This must be especially true for folks in the limelight like the Portland Cement Association (PCA). In the last few weeks, I've heard a lot of grumbling for the good ole days, referring to how PCA used to support the industry. From producer to supplier, there's general agreement that PCA should do more.

But when I ask what more PCA should be doing, the answers vary. Some block producers would like more support in the development of residential masonry construction. Ready-mixed concrete folks urge for more support of insulating concrete forms. Paver producers want more help in turning asphalt highways and streets into concrete. The answers are as varied as our readership.

Most of the folks with whom I talk remember a well-funded PCA program that placed engineers in literally every key region. These engineers became local resources from which everyone drew. As the PCA outreach program slowly retracted to what it is now, these field reps found employment in local promotion organizations.

PCA today seems to be putting more of its efforts into developing online resources, such as www.pcaStructurePoint.com. In fact, I find it hard to tear away from PCA's Web site, www.cement.org, It's one of the best resources for our industry. And it may be the best way to communicate with the next generation.

I'm not sure what the right answer is. I sometimes feel that as the ownership of many U.S. cement-manufacturing facilities has moved overseas, there is less national commitment. Yet, I understand that each region's needs vary so much, that PCA can't supply a one-answer-fits-all approach.

So what do you think? How can PCA better interact with you? We've prepared a short survey offering some options, or feel free to leave a comment on my blog.

Rick Yelton
Editor in Chief