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Influencing Today for a Better Tomorrow

Influencing Today for a Better Tomorrow

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    Gene Martineau at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, one of the four CIM colleges.

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    Thor Becken's family founded Cemstone in 1927.

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    Bill Holden has helped masonry make inroads in Gulf Coast reconstruction.

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    Sidney Freedman is a leading authority on architectural precast concrete.

Thor Becken, Cemstone

Thor Becken is perhaps our industry's best example of a Renaissance man. His industry involvement spans across the traditional boundaries followed by most producers. His openness to new methods has empowered Becken to adopt a novel approach to branding and marketing. And even more importantly, he has been sharing this with fellow producers.

Becken is a fourth-generation influencer. He credits his interest in renewing the concrete industry to his involvement in RMC 2000. He served on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA). He is president of the Aggregates & Ready Mix Association (ARM) of Minnesota.

“I strongly support the educational, advocacy, environmental, and promotional initiatives of ARM,” says Becken. “And I'm honored to be the fifth member of the Becken family to serve ARM in this capacity.”

It's the legacy of a family business that best portrays the significance of Becken's influence. He leads Cemstone, a multi-product business that was founded by his family in 1927. Today their enterprise owns and operates a network of ready-mix concrete plants and aggregate facilities in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and northern Iowa.

Becken has positioned his firm as more than a material supplier. He refers to Cemstone as a “provider of integrated concrete solutions.” The producer markets engineered and architectural concrete for everything from residential driveways, to abovegrade walls in homes built with Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) technology, to high-rise commercial projects.

He has influenced the industry by supporting RMC 2000's desire to reinvent producers' approach to customer service. He has gathered a team of licensed engineers, geologists, certified field technicians, and support staff who assist customers and the design community from project development to completion.

This spirit of customer service extends beyond just concrete and aggregate. Cemstone reaches out to contractors by selling professional-grade supplies and materials through 20 Contractor Supply/Masonry stores. And pushing customer service even further into the residential and light commercial markets, Cemstone has become the nation's largest distributor of ICFs for a leading national manufacturer.

Becken continues to reposition concrete from a mere commodity to specialty product. His company is a leader in sustainable concrete technology and the application of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) practices. He strongly supports the Prescription to Performance (P2P) initiative to gain acceptance of performance specifications.

Becken is not only one of the industry's strongest advocates for marketing, he is an example of how and why it works. He has positioned his company and the entire industry to demonstrate the benefits of how concrete is user-friendly.

Becken supports causes such as Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and the Hope Lodge/American Cancer Society. Cemstone awards scholarships to assist employees and their sons and daughters to further their educations. He encourages employees to be involved in their communities as well as the industry.

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