Ten years, 120 covers. Being on the cover of a magazine is not all glitz and glamour. These people who agreed to our request to be photographed often posed for hours in the early morning. (That is when the lighting is best, our photographers say.) Sometimes it's bitter cold, other times it's hot and humid. More importantly, these people took time from their busy days, and for that, we thank them.
We asked some of the people who have graced our covers since the first issue to talk about the past and the future. In their own words.
Dale Yoder August 2002
Dale Yoder is president of Big Valley Concrete in Belleville, Pa. He started Big Valley as a mobile mixer business in 1994, and has been producing ready-mix since 2002.
In our area, poured walls came in really strong about 10 years ago.
Foundations used to be 95% block, and now they're probably 80% to 90% poured walls. It's been one of the biggest influences that helped us get our foot in the door. The masons in our area still have a lot of brick and stone work, but it's getting harder to find good masons.
People are also asking for different coatings, staining, and stenciling. It's phenomenal what you can do these days. We see a lot more coloring and decorative concrete, and we're getting into some light commercial jobs now that residential work is slower.
Concrete pumping has really changed our area, too. Five or 10 years ago, we'd use a pump once a week, and now we use them on 75% to 80% of foundations. The available lots for houses are getting steeper and more mountainous. Without pumps, they'd be really tough to do.
As an industry, I see us trying to improve our image, even down to the landscaping in front of our plants. We need to do a better job showing that we are professionals, that we can be good neighbors and fulfill a need.
When Big Valley first started out, some of the older producers gave us an incredible amount of help. We tried to learn as we went, and they gave us advice on how to get going, what to work on, where to be. It's amazing how much people are willing to help each other in our business.
Kelly Davis September 2006
Kelly Davis is the general manager at Hutchinson Concrete in Hutchinson, Minn. He has held this position for one year and brings a fresh perspective to the industry.
The concrete industry will move quickly toward better environmental applications and practices. With the future of our planet's ecosystem quickly becoming a concern to a wider audience, society will begin to demand that the builders of the future take responsibility for repairing and maintaining our environment.