Rico Fung, P.Eng., has a clear path mapped out for the ACPA-affiliated Chapter/States during his tenure as the 2015 Chairman of the ACPA Chapter/State Committee.
Fung has already charted a course that is unique for two reasons: He is the first person outside the United States and is the first person working for a national organization, the Cement Association of Canada (CAC), to serve as Chapter/State Chairman. The latter is the result of a unique affiliation agreement that affords the CAC the full access, rights, and privileges of the ACPA-affiliated Chapter/State paving organization. (Fung serves the CAC as its Director of Markets & Technical Affairs, working out of the association’s Toronto office.)
“I’m honored to be the Chair, and very enthusiastic,” Fung says, adding, that he sees one of his roles as “looking out for the interest of all the Chapter/States. This is their committee, and I am there to serve them.”
Moving the Needle
He outlined a full slate of major initiatives and issues that are top priorities for the Chapter/States in the short term.
“As Chapter/State Committee Chair, my foremost goal is to grow the market, to move the needle in the marketplace.
He also explained a second major priority is passage of a well-funded, multi-year Federal-aid highway bill, noting that he would like the Chapter/States to have the resources necessary to raise awareness with elected officials about “how important this bill is to the highway infrastructure, the economy, and the survival of the industry.”
Another goal is to reinforce technical leadership, both at the national and local levels, he said. “Without ACPA National’s technical support, we will not be able to do that,” he said, adding the goal is to leverage national expertise and resources to assist local technical experts in their service to contractors and other members, as well as with state and local agency/owners.
Fung also said a fourth goal is to foster closer working relationships with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and Portland Cement Association, while also “involving the MIT Sustainability Hub to leverage the knowledge they have developed to help us move the needle in the marketplace.”
The Chapter/State group is also engaged in a number of initiatives, including:
- Chapter/State Website Redevelopment Effort—ACPA is developing a standardized series of aesthetically pleasing and functional templates and other resources, which ACPA-affiliated Chapter/States may use to establish or improve their web presence. Fung credited the work of ACPA’s Andy Gieraltowski and a working group comprised of Jim Powell (Northwest Chapter), Mitzi McIntyre-Group Leader (Utah Chapter), Randy Riley (Illinois Chapter) and David Sethre (North Dakota Chapter), who are working to create sites that are “more inviting, interesting, and dynamic, and which entice users to download information and also pick up the phone and call their local resources.”
- Marketing Messaging—The affiliated Chapter/States are supporting an effort led by Second Vice Chair Lori Tiefenthaler (and Chair of the ACPA Strategic Advisory Committee) to develop a Vision Paper on Sustainability that will benefit the local associations.
- Unified Software—The Chapter/States also support an effort by ACPA National to evaluate the concept of a unified approach to design software.
Fung said he is striving to increase participation among Chapter/States and association members.
“My goal is to increase participation among the Chapter/States through conference calls and face-to-face meetings, and getting people to engage.” He acknowledges this can be challenging, given the differences in staffing, coverage area, history, market share, and other factors that make each Chapter and State paving association unique.
His goal is building consensus, but when that is not possible, he adds that one of the best ways to bridge differences is to reach out to people to understand their concerns and get their input. Deploying small groups—such as the one working on the website redevelopment effort—also helps focus attention on topics that have most relevance and impact on individual Chapter/States, rather than trying to develop resources and solutions for the entire group.
Fung encouraged all Chapter/State executives and others to attend the mid-year Chapter/State meeting, scheduled for May 12 through 14. The first day will kick off with a half-day meeting, followed by a reception. The meeting continues with a full day on May 13, and a half-day (ending at 11 a.m.) on May 14. The meeting will be held at the Pillar & Post Inn, Niagara-on-the-Lake, in southern Ontario.
There are four things I try to keep in mind in professional life, he said, adding that the list includes being credible; being knowledgeable; being persistent and never giving up; and being a good listener.
“I don’t always practice it, but I try to be a good listener, and I’m still working on this one,” he said with a laugh. On a serious note, Fung recalled a recent conversation with a municipal official who asked what Fung wanted to present.
“My presentation is for the audience,” he told the official. “I want the audience to be engaged and to feel they have listened to the information they want to hear.” The response was positive, and the official then asked his colleagues for input that would help pinpoint Fung’s presentation to their needs.
Outside of his role with CAC and his volunteer leadership position with the ACPA Chapter/States, Fung enjoys traveling and fishing, two activities that he finds appealing for two different reasons.
He enjoys meeting people, networking, and learns from the experiences of others, which is one of the appeals of traveling. “Travel means different things, but for me, it means learning different cultures, seeing different places, and meeting different people.” Among his favorite places to visit have been South America, Europe, and China.
In contrast, he said, “fishing is more solitary. It is an opportunity to spend time with good friends and enjoying nature.”