In the Mix: A Message from President & CEO Laura O’Neill Kaumo
I travelled across the country over the past 10 days, talking about concrete paving with contractors, engineers, academics and elected officials in Boston, Tucson, Detroit, and Chicago. While packing for a trip that hits many cities with varying climates is challenging, it’s exhilarating to be a part of so many conversations that consider concrete to be a sustainable option best positioned to weather our nation’s climate concerns.
First, after attending the American Concrete Institute’s (ACI’s) awards gala in Boston, where the Quay Quarter Tower, located in Sydney, Australia received the top honor. I was able to connect with Massachusetts Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association Executive Director Craig Dauphinais and his Vice Chairman Joe Gallagher of Boston Sand and Gravel to discuss emerging opportunities for concrete paving. MACAPA hosted a concrete advocacy day on Beacon Hill, where ACPA New York Executive Director Heather Steffek engaged in meetings on behalf of the industry to promote concrete paving a safe and resilient option.
My next stop was Tucson to attend the ACEC AZ Roads and Streets Conference. This is an impressive conference hosted by ACEC AZ Executive Director Justan Rice. While the event has many asphalt-focused voices and concrete paving promotion is limited, ACPA members Cemex, Pulice and Salt River Materials Group are working to change that and bring forward different materials discussions. Cemex’s Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions Corey Zollinger and I spent some time in the Cemex booth discussing RCC as a viable option for roads and streets. If you haven’t seen Corey speak on RCC, I highly recommend it – he is very persuasive and informative. RCC will be discussed at ACPA’s Annual Meeting in Marco Island, FL December 12 – 14, register today!
In Detroit, I visited Toebe Construction Headquarters, while also saying hello to ACPA members Ajax, and Michigan Concrete Association outgoing Executive Director Dan DeGraff and incoming Executive Director Steve Waalkes. Despite the cold, windy weather in Detroit and Lansing, highway construction is still going strong with many of the major highway projects creating increased capacity with concrete. I also swung through Ann Arbor as well to discuss upcoming city work and its sustainability goals.
My next step was Chicago, where I spent some time with ACPA member Joe Weishaar of Plote and later, Mike Kusbal of Paschen – two of our industry’s most seasoned and knowledgeable professionals. While concrete paving work is picking up in Illinois, it has some catch up to play addressing some of its surface challenges. One thing is certain, sustainability concerns are being discussed everywhere and ACPA’s White Paper on Sustainability continues to make the case that concrete must be considered in that discussion. Further, ACPA’s materials oncompetition continue to demonstrate that programs with healthy and competitive options benefit the taxpayer and the longevity of the program.
It’s been a great two weeks connecting with the wonderful and hardworking voices of this industry. It’s my favorite part of this job! I thank everyone who took the time to host me and make the time to talk. Full speed toward Annual Meeting. I will see you there!