While it often seems that the concrete production industry is dominated by large firms, sophisticated research organizations, and complex regulations, it's nice to know that someone still represents the voice of the small producer and contractor.
For half a century, D. Gene Daniel served as an advocate for the practices and concerns commonly found on most projects. His activity on important technical committees serves as an example of how a single individual can still wield great influence in how ready-mix concrete is produced, delivered, and used in construction.
Daniel is in private practice as an engineer and consultant in Claremore, Okla. He entered the ready-mix concrete business in 1988 when he joined Beaver Lake Concrete, a regional producer serving northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri. The firm operated eight batch plants and two sand and gravel operations. “I was the operations manager, technical services director, and the only concrete technician, so I changed hats on the run,” says Daniel. He was the company's president when he retired in 1997.
While serving customers in this rural market, Daniel, 77, learned first-hand the challenges of maintaining good producer-customer relationships. One job Daniel remembers best was a large slab-on-grade pour that lasted a week. At the time, Beaver Lake Concrete's plants were all manual batchers and each recipe was on a sheet of paper. Each day, Daniel would visit the contractor on the job to discuss potential mix design changes that would help that day's placement.
To meet this challenge, Daniel developed a special computer program which calculated proportional adjustments to meet the contractor's workability needs and to satisfy the contract specifications. “By the end of the project, I was back to the proportions with which I had begun, giving me a great deal of confidence in my program,” says Daniel.
Using his field experience as a catalyst, Daniel continues his work on ACI and ASTM International technical committees. His advocacy for the interests of the small producer brings balance to his technical committees that are often dominated by large companies. For his lifelong contribution to the ready-mix industry and for his continued advocacy of small producers, TCP recognizes D. Gene Daniel as a 2011 Industry Influencer.
Testing fresh concrete
Born in Oklahoma City, Daniel holds a bachelor's degree in Architectural Engineering from Oklahoma State University and a master's of science in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas. He was a civil engineer in Fort Smith, Ark., and owned and acted as principle engineer for a geotechnical and construction materials laboratory.
Daniel became involved with ASTM while working in the testing industry before Beaver Lake. For more than 48 years, he has represented producers by serving on many ASTM committees and task groups. Daniel's greatest interest has been in testing fresh concrete, especially the important procedure of testing for air content by pressure method. In 2009, Daniel was selected as an ASTM Honorary Member.
Daniel continues to bring his voice to our industry's design community as well. Elected a fellow of ACI in 1998, Daniel has more than 50 years of service on a host of technical committees where he has similarly represented the small producer. His committee work includes ACI 211 Concrete Proportioning, ACI 305 Hot Weather Concrete, ACI 306 Cold Weather Concrete, and others.
Daniel isn't finished influencing yet. While his involvement in ASTM and ACI committee work may be lessening, he remains active in the concrete industry. Daniel conducts concrete plant inspections and/or certifications. And if that's not enough, he is developing mix design software and is penning a new booklet containing advice to architects and engineers on understanding and using cement mill certificates.
After 50 years, Daniel finds his work fun. “It's rewarding to help producers with engineering service they could not afford, or when they do not need full-time help,” he says