February 2008 Table of Contents

Driving Success

Ten years ago, three small concrete producers merged to form United Materials, which has since more than doubled in size. Terri Ketelsen answered an ad for an administrative assistant about this time. After starting her new job, she soon realized she had much more to offer the producer in Wheatfield, N.Y. Read more

Pervious Concrete Method Test Procedures

Members of ASTM Subcommittee C9.49 are attempting to standardize the testing methods for pervious concrete. There is much interest in this topic, as committee secretary Jenny Hitch reports more than 120 people are members of this committee, making this one of the largest groups in C-9. Read more

Problem Clinic Testing for Quality Block

We recently supplied several split-face blocks for a large commercial project. The work continued for several months, and with about two weeks left, we started receiving complaints about the quality of the units from the mason contractor. Read more

Why Fasteners Can Fail Why Fasteners Can Fail

Fasteners generally fail for three major reasons. First, counterfeit or substandard fasteners may be used. Second, genuine parts may be used improperly. And third, improper storage, handling, or re-use of fasteners can affect job quality and safety. Read more

Getting What You Pay For Fleet Factors Getting What You Pay For

Problems with counterfeit parts are growing. Read more

Mold Maintenance Mold Maintenance

In the last few years, block makers have had to adjust their operations to the demands of an increasingly sophisticated market. Shorter production runs, quicker mold changes, and an inventory of numerous shape and color offerings are challenging producers to keep adequate inventory levels. Read more

Head for the Mountains

Attendees of the Manufactured Concrete Products Exposition (MCPX) will be among the snowcapped Rocky Mountains, Feb. 7–9 in Denver. Show sponsors expect to welcome more than 6000 concrete producers, distributors, engineers, architects, and others to the Colorado Convention Center. Read more

Creating Strategies that Work

Successful companies have road maps that will really work to transform their businesses, even with the challenges of a difficult market. For example, who would have predicted the effects of the lending market on the residential concrete market just two years ago? Read more

Speeding Up Acceptance Speeding Up Acceptance

Innovative producers know a good concrete mix tests well in the lab and performs well in the field. Unfortunately, these dream mixtures are difficult to come by. Many producers have file cabinets full of mix designs containing unsuccessful labcretes, that on paper and in the lab tested well, only to fail to the rigors and variables of the field. Read more

Buying Your Next Truck Buying Your Next Truck

The choices and options for vocational work trucks continue to grow in complexity and sophistication. Concrete producers, who are under increasing pressure to document the return for their investments, are discovering that it's no longer prudent just to buy what they've always purchased in the past. Read more

A Winning Approach

Whether it's during the Super Bowl or the World Series, precast concrete is regularly on display to thousands of fans in the stands and tens of millions more watching at home on TV. The explosion of stadium projects throughout the country is an ideal stage for the industry to put its best foot forward. Precast concrete risers have long been a standard for stadiums and indoor arenas, offering benefits for seating units that most designers have come to recognize. Read more

A Real Sports Authority

Several years ago, a precast concrete producer unveiled plans to cast elements for a new sports facility near our ready-mixed concrete plant in La Vergne, Tenn. . . Read more

Concrete Returns Calm Down: No Recession

The concrete industry faces tough questions whenever the economic horizon is cloudy. Managers must decide on the timing for capital expenditures, how to plan staffing levels, and many smaller decisions in between. Read more

Building Gardens, Not Walls Building Gardens, Not Walls

People who work with concrete, especially those who have worked with it for many years, know the product's upstanding environmental properties. When Mark Woolbright visited Europe, he noticed that many locations had concrete retaining wall block that was plantable. Read more

Eliminating Clipboard Inventory Eliminating Clipboard Inventory

In the last few years, innovative technologies such as self-consolidating concrete, quick form changes, and effective lifting devices have sped up most precast operations. When producers combine these innovations with more sophisticated computer-assisted drawing, they find themselves with a just-in-time (JIT) production model. Read more

Our Sense of Loss

Many reports suggest that the inventory of new homes remains at a steady, elevated rate. Much of our best work still remains ready to be used. Read more