The incoming chair of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) has adopted a twofold goal: first, to ensure that all ready mixed producers
The incoming chair of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) has adopted a twofold goal: first, to ensure that all ready mixed producers understand the value of belonging and actively participating in NRMCA as well as their state associations; and second, to communicate that the voice of every producer Û regardless of size Û is essential to move the industry forward.
I want to go back to the basics, affirms 2007 NRMCA Chair Elizabeth ÎBooÌ Twohy, who is president of Norfolk, Va.-based Capital Concrete, Inc. and will be officially installed this month at the association’s annual convention in LaJolla, Calif.
I want to connect the dots between the large and small- to medium-sized producers, she says. Our industry strength comes from all members being at the table. Consolidation is a part of life for each of us and, I must say, unnerving to the small producer. However, each company within NRMCA has the identical opportunity to be heard.
Twohy observes that she personally has found the experiences, needs and comments of smaller producers often instigate a jump in the ready mixed industry to the next level. Smaller producers are the pulse of the industry, she maintains. The majority of our membership population is small producers, explains Twohy. They know the day-to-day grind. They know employee needs, customer needs, insurance costs. They are Û or were Û the driver, the batchman, the dispatcher, the salesman. Their money and their reputation are on the line.
NEW MEMBERS, STATE BY STATE
A critical item on the agenda for Twohy’s tenure is outreach to nonmember concrete producers through NRMCA’s state affiliate program. Created in 2004-5 by (then-chairman) Hardy Johnson, the NRMCA State Affiliate Program is designed to bring the national and state associations closer together through shared membership and strategic alignments.
Right now, NRMCA has 47 state affiliates, and to me, it’s paramount that we partner with these states, as well as unaffiliated state and local associations, so that everyone in the industry understands the value of both state and national membership, Twohy tells Concrete Products. Approximately 460 million cubic yards of ready mixed concrete were placed in 2006 by between 2,200 and 2,400 companies. Since NRMCA now represents 1,400 of those producers and about 65 to 75 percent of U.S. production, we have a ways to go. Partnering with the states will enable us to reach prospective members and help them understand the value of joint membership.
More involvement also means greater clout on Capitol Hill, Twohy points out. NRMCA is the only trade association representing the interests of ready mixed producers at the national level, she says, and the more members we have, the more impact we make.
Throughout the years, [NRMCA President] Bob Garbini and the professionals at the association have communicated to the industry that NRMCA is here to help when asked, to aid when necessary, and to lead when appropriate. NRMCA is driven by its members, not ego.
Twohy believes the value of NRMCA membership lies in its educational programs, construction industry alliances, technical advances, research and development, as well as having a single, strong voice in Washington, adding: I see NRMCA as a communication link, giving each of us a venue to brainstorm, think outside the box, and create opportunities to raise the bar for our industry.
EDUCATION A BIG DRAW
Education is communication, Twohy claims, noting that NRMCA takes a practical approach to education in offering a multitude of programs created in direct response to member input and need. NRMCA has given me the opportunity to expose my employees to high-quality programs that address each and every facet of my business, she tells Concrete Products. Accordingly, her employees at Capital Concrete have gained knowledge through Dr. Colin Lobo’s Technical Short Course, hands-on experience through dispatch training programs, environmental awareness through seminars taught by member companies, and safety acumen through OSHA regulatory education.
NRMCA provides answers to my practical problems through its extensive educational programs, Twohy affirms. It offers training I can’t build in house for all the issues impacting my business. Taking advantage of NRMCA’s programs is more cost effective than creating my own. We use all the programs we can.
Emphasizing the importance of cultivating a workforce, Twohy asserts that the strength of the ready mixed industry is its people. Through its educational programs, NRMCA is helping me champion the men and women who make up my business, she says. For the truck driver, mechanic, batcher, dispatcher, every day is a challenge, she observes. Growing up with first-hand knowledge of how difficult these jobs can be, she thoroughly understands their obstacles.
Many of my drivers/plant personnel were afraid to participate in outside educational programs, Twohy recalls. Through NRMCA, I have been able to offer each employee the chance for continued growth in a familiar setting. The outreach programs have given my employees a new sense of personal pride. My drivers are proud to say, ÎYes, I passed the test, I am a Certified Concrete Delivery Professional.Ì They understand they are a member of a national team of professionals.
In 2007, NRMCA is launching STEPS, a new program that encompasses all of the group’s seminars, training and educational programs. Four areas of study will be offered: business administration; concrete technology; operations and production; and, sales, marketing and promotion. Participants who complete the required course work will be awarded a Certified Concrete Professional designation.
Supporting my staff’s continuing education needs increases productivity and reduces turnover, Twohy reports. For my employees, continuing education is the key to advancement and job satisfaction.
PRESCRIPTION TO PERFORMANCE
Also slated for a strong push during Twohy’s term is NRMCA’s P2P [Prescriptive-to-Performance, see P2P is A-OK, March 2006] initiative, promoting revision of specifications to performance criteria. However, Twohy notes, changing the existing business model and culture is a long-term project. P2P is an ongoing, challenging process, she affirms. It’s progressive, it’s a new alternative, but NRMCA is not trying to mandate anything.
We believe that the acceptance of performance-based specifications will enhance the industry’s reputation and provide opportunities to supply a superior finished product. For most small ready mixed concrete companies, accustomed to a design firm telling them what to produce, P2P is going to require broader partnering between producer, contractor, and the design professional. Education is the key, and NRMCA will lead the effort.
For this and other NRMCA initiatives, the national association provides a rallying point behind which all others can line up, Twohy emphasizes. You need a unified front to lead the industry through changes like this, and that’s what NRMCA does!
CIM PROGRAM TARGETS STUDENTS
During her term, Boo Twohy will also champion the rapidly expanding Concrete Industry Management Program, ensuring that its curriculum reaches an ever-widening universe of college-age students to prepare them for professional concrete-industry careers. We have four schools participating in CIM: the model curriculum at Middle Tennessee State University, and now, programs at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, and California State University at Chico, she tells Concrete Products.
Students in these programs benefit from practical internships and go on to promising careers with industry leaders, Twohy affirms. We continue to look for other universities that would allow us to extend the opportunity. Gene Martineau with U.S. Concrete has done a great job expanding the program; he is an excellent example of how our industry takes charge of its future.
At a time when the U.S. Green Building Council-coined LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation is attached to more and more building activity, Twohy will continue NRMCA’s thrust Û initiated in 2005 during the association’s 75th anniversary year Û to highlight concrete’s green properties. That launch included a new green logo, brochures, and multiple websites touting concrete’s environmental benefits. In 2006, NRMCA introduced a sustainable development seminar series to educate the design/build community.
Moreover, Twohy points out, NRMCA works closely with other concrete-related associations, including Portland Cement Association and American Society of Concrete Contractors, to promote concrete as the construction material of choice. In addition, NRMCA has a team of dedicated professionals on call to help members navigate the difficult environmental regulations ready mixed producers face every day.
NRMCA’s National Accounts program, too, will receive Twohy’s enthusiastic support. Dedicated to contacting national companies that might specify concrete for parking areas and other volume uses, the program enhances promotion Û a primary NRMCA function Û and, thus, is perfectly aligned with the association’s agenda.
The national accounts program is serviced regionally by National Resource Directors in Oregon, New York, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Iowa. The directors cite a growing interest among large construction buyers in the LEED program and rating method, especially with respect to concrete’s role in gaining credit for sustainable methods and minimizing life-cycle costs.
The directors target national accounts to create universal awareness that concrete is a superior construction material, Twohy notes. The program is working. National accounts are directing questions to our technical experts, and considering alternates to the age-old asphalt parking lot spec. National promoters are opening doors for all concrete producers.
Founded in 1951 by Norfolk native John Twohy IV, Capital Concrete, Inc. operates two ready mixed plants in Norfolk, Va., at the site of its main office. Three additional facilities Û in the Lynnhaven vicinity of Virginia Beach, in Chesapeake’s Bowers Hill section, and on State Route 610 in downtown Windsor Û are strategically located to ensure the highest levels of quality and customer service. Still locally owned, the company is now managed by the founder’s two daughters, Elizabeth A. Twohy and Helen T. Whittemore.
Under family leadership, Capital Concrete has grown from five to 50 trucks and 10 to more than 90 employees. The Twohys are quick to credit their father’s legacy of integrity, determination and hard work for the company’s success. Their entire workforce takes pride in doing a job right the first time, the sisters emphasize, with the goal of complete customer satisfaction.
Capital Concrete strives to be the ready mixed producer of choice in the South Hampton Roads market, the company leaders affirm. All business endeavors, from training to customer service, are tackled as team projects: each employee aims to contribute his or her best, knowing that the desired outcome is attainable. That personal commitment to company goals, they assert, accounts for Capital Concrete’s success and expansion, as well as employees’ personal growth through career development.
NATIONAL READY MIXED CONCRETE ASSOCIATION
ELIZABETH ÎBOOÌ TWOHY
Capital Concrete, Inc
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN (2006)
Doug’s Ready Mix
INCOMING CHAIRMAN (2008)
Executive V.P., Commercial
After celebrating the 75th anniversary of its founding in 2005, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association continues to initiate new programs and activities that will make the organization even more valuable to its members. NRMCA represents ready mixed producers as well as a variety of allied businesses.
Now in its eighth decade, NRMCA has helped to advance ready mixed interests through multiple avenues: tracking and influencing Washington’s impact on the industry, developing and implementing concepts for product enhancement and marketing, as well as educating employees. To boost the industry’s profitability and professionalism overall, the association provides education, training, promotion, research, engineering, safety, environmental, technical, lobbying and regulatory programs. Additionally, NRMCA’s Engineering Division staff represents producers on specifying and standard-setting committees.
NRMCA is a principal sponsor of the ConExpo-Con/Agg exposition, featuring upwards of 2 million-plus net square feet of exhibits, with live equipment and product demonstrations, plus an information technology pavilion. ConExpo-Con/Agg is North America’s largest exposition for the construction, aggregates and ready mixed industries; its next staging is March 11-15, 2008.
Robert A. Garbini, P.E., is NRMCA president. The association is located at 900 Spring St., Silver Spring, MD 20910, 301/587-1400 or 888/84-NRMCA; 301/585-4219 (fax); www.nrmca.org.
HIGH PERFORMANCE CONCRETE SYMPOSIUM
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association annual Concrete Technology Forum, Focus on High Performance Concrete, will be May 22-24 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel. The event will bring together researchers and practitioners to discuss HPC-related advances, technical knowledge, continuing research, tools and solutions. A total of 17 technical sessions are scheduled with more than 50 presentations by nationally renowned researchers and practitioners.
Covering latest developments, new construction techniques, and product formulations to optimize HPC, sessions will be offered in multiple categories: Self-Consolidating Concrete; Ultra-Fast Track Construction; Extended Service Life; Industrial Floors; Applications and Case Studies; and, Performance Specifications and Testing. The symposium will culminate with an HPC demonstration in the Dallas area.
Additionally, an expo featuring 24 companies that offer products and services for HPC applications will be open during the conference. More information about program offerings, cosponsors and exhibitors can be obtained by visiting www.ConcreteTechnologyForum.org.