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Seven 2015–2016 deals mark the latest turning point in North American cement production and a key downstream segment, pipe and precast. Incumbent operators streamlined or broadened their market footprints while a newcomer from Mexico saw opportunity north of the Rio Grande. Two cement players’ deals realigned market leadership in concrete pipe and precast.

Private sector employers, employees and job seekers will soon have a friend in the White House. Before looking at the new administration’s promise, a brief look back to November 2001, when this column noted Donald Trump’s appreciation for quality construction. The then-celebrity developer had assessed post-Twin Towers building practice in a prime time exchange with ABC 20/20 host Barbara Walters, citing “more concrete,” as a means of constructing “a great building a lot tougher than the World Trade Center turned out to be.”

“Determining the Carbon Footprint of Wood” (PCA R&D 3287) is a valuable work based on Portland Cement Association-sponsored research. The timely report tracks trees and forests’ carbon dioxide-sequestering capacity, one of the value propositions wood building product interests channel to green-building practitioners; paints rationale for the wood industry to document carbon accounting methods transparently, especially when product is not sourced from a sustainably managed forest; and, helps cast-in-place concrete, precast and masonry construction practitioners respond to competitors’ claims of environmental mettle.

In the wake of Hours of Service rule exemptions, ready mixed producers are following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) work-in-progress guidance on testing of drivers for risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The condition attends obesity and sees tissues around the upper respiratory tract relax and physically block the airway. The FMCSA Medical Review Board links the condition to daytime sleepiness, making truck drivers more accident prone.

By Don Marsh

Colombia-based Argos S.A. demonstrates in its latest investment the credit facilities and drive to build multiple U.S. cement and concrete platforms, perhaps competing for acquisitions with expansion-minded peers on the order of Oldcastle Materials and Summit Materials.