In addition to TCP's Top Influencers, our sister publication Concrete Construction honors several individuals for their contributions to the concrete industry. Read about CC's Top Influencers.

Creating A Legacy in Concrete

Bruce Ingram helped establish a new CIM program.

Bruce Ingram attended Texas A&M for two years. But he learned about the basics of construction while serving with the Seabees, the U.S. Navy's construction battalion. He credits this practical experience as the catalyst for his successful career in the concrete industry.

In the more than half of a century since then, Ingram has helped our industry grow without seeking credit. He began his career by providing the material used to build I-35, which helped San Antonio to become one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

He has served as a director on the Texas Aggregate and Concrete Association, which has helped Texas to be one of the nation's largest providers of concrete. And recently, Ingram donated millions of dollars to Texas State University-San Marcos to help future generations continue concrete's growth. For this educational effort, we choose Bruce Ingram, who never went to college, as a TCP Influencer for helping grow the industry for the entire southern U.S.

Bruce Ingram, founder of Ingram Readymix, a New Braunfels, Texas-based producer that operates 26 plants in 22 Texas cities, has decided to influence the future. Through endowments, he and his wife Gloria are bringing educational opportunities in engineering and concrete industry management to Central Texas.

Future commitment

When asked about the timing, Ingram admits that it was a tough decision. In today's economic environment, many organizations and business leaders focus on handling the effects of our industry's contraction. But Ingram has experienced hard times before, and they are always followed by growth. “I am committed to looking to the future,” he says. “And our industry, especially here in the South, will need professionals to handle the growth that will come.”

This commitment to education began in 2006 when the Ingrams donated $5 million to Texas State University-San Marcos to establish the Bruce and Gloria Ingram School of Engineering and the Department of Technology. Their gift established the Bruce and Gloria Ingram Chair in Engineering, and endowed two professorships, need- and merit-based scholarships, faculty, and program development. This year, they donated an another $2 million for more scholarships.

While much of this donations was targeted toward the engineering school, a significant portion was dedicated to establishing a Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program. Ingram looked at his contribution not as a gift, but a challenge. “Our area is blessed with a number of key industry suppliers, and I had hoped that my initial support would urge our industry to pitch in,” he says. They did.

Spurred by his efforts, the Texas State CIM Patron Foundation was established and then additional funding requirements were met. As a result of Ingram's efforts, the CIM program was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in October 2008, making Texas State University-San Marcos the fifth school in the U.S. to offer the industry's exclusively developed four-year degree.

His primary goal in funding education at the San Marcos campus is to provide a regional educational alternative. “Many of our college-bound high school graduates who wanted to learn engineering were forced to leave the area,” Ingram says. “As our area continues to grow, we need to provide an opportunity for learning and encourage our brightest to stay.”

Ingram hopes to spend some time on campus with the CIM students over the next few years. “Just being around the young professionals has helped me stay youthful,” he says. And in this way, the man who has quietly aided in the growth of a region while developing a premier production company will forever influence future generations of concrete producers.