Michael H. Weber, Portland Cement Association Advancing concrete homes
The United States has had a long love affair with wood-frame houses, even though the benefits of living in concrete homes outweigh wood in almost every way. This is especially true now when energy savings is more important and reducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has become a worldwide issue. More than any other person today, Mike Weber is responsible for marketing and promoting cement-based building systems and products.
Growing up, Weber's family owned a sand and gravel business in Edgerton, Ohio and later expanded into ready-mixed concrete. After college, he moved to Kalamazoo, Mich. and expanded his career with the largest ready-mixed concrete and block producer in the state. On his resume he can list being a ready-mix plant manager, customer relations person, regional sales representative, director of training and product promotion, a master trainer for the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, vice president for a construction company specializing in cast-in-place walls, and director of residential construction for the Portland Cement Association (PCA). His work for PCA includes marketing responsibility for the entire United States.
Weber's mission is to increase the amount of portland cement consumed in residential settings, primarily by emphasizing the advantages of concrete homes. A major achievement was to persuade the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to form the Concrete Home Building Council (CHBC) to promote the use of residential concrete. Every year since 2004, The New American Home (TNAH), NAHB's official show home, has had a significant concrete aspect. Final preparations are being made for the TNAH ‘07, a pre-cast concrete home, and planning of TNAH ‘08 with autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) walls.
Nationwide, in 2005 over 17.5% of all single family detached above-grade walls in new home construction is concrete. Florida leads the country with over 80% of new homes constructed with a concrete building system. The wood industry isn't giving up, though, and expects to spend $500 million over the next seven years to market the benefits of wood construction. This is a staggering amount of money compared to what the concrete industry is willing to spend. Weber will be very busy for awhile.Doug Bannister Decorative concrete guru
Like many of those in the concrete construction industry, Doug Bannister started working with concrete for a family member at an early age in the Erie, Pa. area. After college, and a military stint in Vietnam, he started his own concrete construction company and has worked only for himself ever since. Over the years, his work evolved into a focus on decorative concrete.
Aware of the sustained growth of the decorative concrete market, in 1996 he opened The Stamp Store, a national construction supply house that carries decorative concrete materials and supplies. He soon developed several of his own products, including a well-graded aggregate concrete mix for countertops. He also began to offer training workshops, since from the beginning his focus was not on selling products but rather on helping contractors to install stamped concrete, overlay cement, chemical stains, and concrete countertops. His “Deminars” (his trademarked name for combination demonstrations and seminars) include information about concrete basics, increasing durability, and achieving uniform work from one job to the next—difficult with decorative concrete. He encourages contractors to employ the “Front End Work” principles he developed as a contractor, which make it easier for project owners to write the check.
Today Bannister is a leader in the decorative concrete industry, actively helping to grow the industry with his time, money, and energy, whether it ends up benefiting his business or not. He volunteers help for regional training events and presentations that are organized by groups of manufacturers of decorative products, does presentations for regional associations, supports training seminars conducted by the American Society of of Concrete Contractors, and comes to the World of Concrete early each year with his staff to help form and place the concrete pads for the Artistry in Decorative Concrete demonstrations, an event that encourages more interest in decorative concrete work.
He is a believer that growing the decorative industry will contribute to everyone who is a part of it.