MY DAUGHTER drove us to a holiday lunch in her “new” car. She's just completed the first year of a three-year lease, so she closely monitors her mileage so she doesn't exceed her lease limit. She also has been working hard to keep her new ride in pristine condition, anticipating a high resale. Is this the same sibling who previously ignored dashboard warning lights for a week?

Perhaps Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is correct. Ownership brings commitment. Buffett believes skin in the game is a sign of good faith or a show of confidence in the future of the investment.

Now that our industry seems poised for a recovery, I believe it's time for those of us who have been watching on the sidelines to put a little skin in the game. One way is to support the RMC Research & Education Foundation's Bridge the Gap campaign. The campaign's goal is to replenish the Foundation's endowment to the $20 million level. When fully funded, the endowment's interest will provide about $1 million annually in program funding in perpetuity. Gabriel Cottrell, Phil Ramsey, and Steve Cox are co-chairs for this important campaign.

When the RMC Research & Education Foundation was established in 1991, it was organized to fund important nonpropriety research on an as-needed basis. During more favorable economic times, its leaders worked with industry to build an endowment that would provide researchers a steady opportunity for support.

As we all know, the last few years have been devastating for our industry, and continued growth in endowment contributions have significantly fallen off. The Bridge the Gap campaign is an opportunity to solicit widespread support and serves as a reminder of the long-term benefits of our industry's commitment to research.

Past benefits

Over the years, all segments of the concrete industry have directly and economically benefited from the RMC Research & Education Foundation. These producer-focused results include: exemption from OSHA's Hexavalent Chromium rule; research into stronger building codes based on the Hurricane Katrina study; research supporting reusing crushed concrete as aggregate; and continued support of the Concrete Industry Management's National Steering Committee.

In 2009, the RMC Research & Education Foundation Board approved an even broader research initiative. It voted to co-fund support for the Concrete Stainability Hub (CSH) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Its three research platforms benefit every producer. The Concrete Materials Science Platform addresses how to transform the way cement-based materials are designed and characterized for green concrete applications. The Concrete Building Technology Platform explores new materials-structural solutions for concrete engineering applications. Finally, the Concrete Econometrics Platform of Sustainable Development Platform researches how to assess the impact of concrete science and building technology advances on energy and climate policies.

In the last three years, CSH has provided useful results to help grow concrete's market share. TCP named the CSH a 2012 Industry Influencer.

While the Bridge the Gap's leaders are looking for sizeable contributions, I propose a grass-roots effort. How about joining me by donating at least $50 for the next two years and becoming a Friend of the Foundation? Supporting the replenishment of the Foundation's endowment is a sure way to have skin the game by demonstrating we work in an industry that is leaving a legacy of stewardship and innovation.

After lunch, my daughter shyly asked about the location of a filling station. Being the soft-hearted father, I put my skin in her game by paying not only for lunch, but for the fuel to get there.

It's Easy to Donate

Your contribution to the RMC Research & Education Foundation helps support research and educational programs that ultimately improves and advances the concrete industry. Contributions to this 501(c)3 organization are tax-deductible. You can make a one-time contribution with your credit card online by visiting www.rmc-foundation.org/contribute.htm.