Steve Parker has demonstrated leadership as chairman of ASTM C09.40.
Steve Parker has demonstrated leadership as chairman of ASTM C09.40.

It didn't seem a big thing at the time to Steve Parker. So in 1998, when Doug Deno, the retiring chairman of ASTM C09.40, asked Parker if he would be interested in becoming chairman of the subcommittee, Parker said, yes.

On the surface, a chairman's duties sound dry, innocuous, and quite frankly, rather boring. But for producers around the world, the position has great influence. The body governs the most widely used and downloaded document in all of ASTM: ASTM C 94 Standard Specification for Ready-Mixed Concrete.

When Parker accepted the offer, no one could have envisioned the dramatic changes and influence he would bring to the subcommittee, and as a consequence, to the concrete and construction industry.

During his tenure, Parker led the committee through several technical challenges driven by the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace. Among the host of other important revisions the committee approved, Parker led the way on three issues that continue to affect the ready-mix industry.

The committee adopted specification language that enables producers to increase the use of recycled water in batching. The specification now helps outline an approach to properly use returned fresh concrete. Also, it now contains provisions that will help producers encourage design engineers to adopt project specifications that are performance-based, and still be assured that quality will not be compromised.

To accomplish these landmark revisions in an environment in which one negative vote can stop any progress displays Parker's commitment. His leadership abilities and influence extended beyond the three-hour meetings held twice a year. To secure industry support, he partnered with NRMCA, ACI, and other associations and educational sources. Just as importantly, Parker worked hard within the ASTM community, alerting other subcommittees of C09.40's efforts, helping to avert any roadblocks in the document preparation process.

Credit Parker for not allowing the influence of major changes to affect the workings of the specification process. He coordinated adopting many technical updates to the specifications that are necessary to keep pace with the industry. He also governed over ASTM C 685, Standard Specification for Concrete Made by Volumetric Batching and Continuous Mixing.

Encouraging youth

Parker also has a legacy. He strove to encourage younger people to become involved in our industry and in ASTM. His mentoring and transferring knowledge has influenced other committees to share their wealth of experience and information.

As a testament to his leadership as chairman of ASTM C09.40, he has most recently been appointed vice-chairman of ASTM C09 and serves on the executive committee of C09. After 10 years as chairman on C09.40, Parker's influence at ASTM and within the industry will be hard to surpass. He has not only set the bar high, but has also forced a historically resistant industry to see the benefits of change.

Parker was well prepared for the challenge. After graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1986 with a Master's degree in geology and geophysics, he entered the construction materials industry as a geologist and technical services representative with Centex-Mountain Cement Co. in Laramie, Wyo.

After six years, Centex moved Parker to its Nevada cement facility, where he worked in sales and technical services, with two terms as interim chief chemist. In 2000, Parker became sales and technical services manager for RMC's northern Nevada ready-mix and aggregate operations. In 2002, he was transferred to South Carolina as vice president for technical services and aggregate development.

Eventually, his experience and increasing leadership roles led him to become vice president and general manager for Trinity Materials in Texas. With experience in cement, concrete, and aggregates, it's no surprise that Parker is now regional manager for Chryso Inc. in Rockwall, Texas.

—Richard Szecsy, vice president, new product development/risk management, Lattimore Materials Co., McKinney, Texas.