I'm ready for spring. These past three months have provided me a vivid reminder that Chicago winters are supposed to be dank, dark, and cold.

Fortunately, spring in Kane County often offers a glimpse of more pleasant weather. Recently on the way to a baseball game on the western side of the county, I saw the farmers were also eager to push spring forward. On this clear day, several planters were at work.

I'm certain that when I return in a few weeks, the warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours will cause germination to transform earth's brown tone into tiny green blankets.

As I worked on this issue recounting the events of World of Concrete, I made the connection between the concrete industry and growth. Many of those ideas first planted in a booth visit, seminar, or conference in January are probably taking root and will soon emerge.

One kernel of opportunity planted at WOC was concrete's role in sustainability. No longer just an academic topic, green concrete construction is quickly becoming an important trend. Our customers, investors, and employees are looking to you to embrace ways that make the planet a better place to live and work.

This isn't the first time we've tried to plant seeds of interest at WOC. I remember previous attempts to organize seminars and working groups to discuss the topic, but there just wasn't a strong response. The field conditions weren't properly developed.

That has changed. If you aren't personally committed to embracing a technology that saves energy, reduces waste, or offers a performance material or product, you're behind the curve.

While all this interest and action is good, there's a huge problem developing. Several initiatives promote green concrete. In fact, each national organization has developed a promotional piece on how green their unique process is. It's as if instead of agreeing on the type of seed to plant, we have dotted the land with hundreds of test fields.

Our industry needs to develop a plan to outline a successful approach to green concrete construction on which everyone can agree.

Fortunately, several leaders are working on such a plan. In the last 12 months, members of the Strategic Development Council (SDC) have completed a draft document with which they hope to identify the principal forces for and against change in the concrete construction industry.

While most agree that sustainability can benefit our industry, it also provides one of the greatest strategic threats we have ever faced. It will affect every part of the industry, including those who specify how concrete is placed.

I urge you to get involved. Developing this vision for the concrete industry is still in its formative stages, and will benefit from the widest possible input. For more information, you can send an e-mail to Douglas Sordyl at SDC at Douglas.Sordyl@concretesdc.org.

Speaking of planting seeds in fertile ground, Jerry Curwick from Curwick Construction in Manteno, Ill., is not only a good dad, he's also helped plant the seeds of success for our industry.

Knowing that he promised his kids a special treat from his visit to World of Concrete, Curwick bought World of Concrete hats and T-shirts for the entire second-grade class at Maternity BVM Catholic school in Bourbonnais, Ill. It was Curwick's opportunity to tell this class about his concrete construction business and to help foster the idea that our world is better with concrete.

P.S. Don't forget to enter our GreenSite Project of the Year contest. It's an opportunity to show how you have helped make our World of Concrete green. For more, turn to pg. 26.

Rick Yelton
Editor in Chief / ryelton@hanleywood.com