To address an industry education void attributable to the cancellation of last month’s Hardscape North America gathering, the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute has developed a 10-hour virtual event, with 42 interactive sessions around Business, Installation and Marketing & Sales learning tracks. The January 26-27 program will expand HNA’s educational opportunities beyond traditional in-person classrooms to a much wider international online audience.

Sessions will provide a wide range of choices where participants can earn up to 30 continuing education credit hours needed for ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Certification. Registration for the two-day event provides individuals with an all-access pass to participate in as many courses as they choose across all three tracks. Sessions are led by recognized industry pros with many years of experience in their area of expertise.

Learning platform features will enable participants to schedule sessions based on choices, set reminders, network with fellow participants, and connect with program sponsors easily—all through a convenient mobile or desktop event app. Sponsors will also be offering participants exclusive event-only promotions. Early bird registration, $99 ICPI members, $149 nonmembers, is available through December 15 and can be obtained at

The National Precast Concrete Association 55th Annual Convention, staged in virtual format last month, saw the election of Ron Sparks, vice president and general manager of Columbia Precast Products in Woodland, Wash., as chairman for a one-year term. He was also presented with the Douglas G. Hoskin Award, named for one of NPCA’s founders and honoring producers for new member recruitment.

“The association has allowed me to push toward ideals I hold in the highest regard, including giving back to the industry and the people who have given so much to me,” Sparks told members during the annual business session. “My two predecessors have implemented key initiatives, including research and pushing our association forward on marketing. Along with sales training, these will form the groundwork of our efforts well into our future.”

Joining him on the 2020-21 officer slate are Chairman-elect Mark Wieser, vice president of Wieser Concrete Products in Portage, Wis.; and, Secretary/Treasurer Joel Sheets, vice president and general manager of Tindall Corp. in Spartanburg, S.C. Directors elected to three-year terms are Asher Kazmann of Locke Solutions, Houston; Charles Piwowarski of Forterra Pipe & Precast, DeLand, Fla.; and, Sam Lines of Concrete Sealants, Tipp City, Ohio. In addition, the NPCA Foundation elected Aaron Ausen of Michigan-based Rosetta Hardscapes as chairman for a two-year term.

The NPCA Convention had 450-plus registrants and 53 sponsors. It opened with a keynote from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, followed by an economic outlook from Associated General Contractors of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson. The program concluded with announcement of industry award recipients and an address from CNBC analyst and financial industry expert Ron Insana. The NPCA 56th Annual Convention will be October 28-30, 2021, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

The Precast/Prestessed Concrete Institute concluded its virtual Committee Days and Technical Conference this fall by naming recipients of annual awards for individuals: Educator of the Year, North Carolina State University Associate Professor Dana Gulling and Research Associate Professor Gregory Lucier; Distinguished Educator of the Year, Clemson University Associate Professor of Architecture Michael Carlos Barrios; Irwin J. Speyer Young Professional Award, Metromont Corp. Chief Engineer Suzanne Aultman, PE, FPCI; Norman L. Scott Professional Engineer Award, Mike Malsom, PCI Fellow and former president of Consulting Engineers Group Illinois. Members of the task group for ANSI/PCI 128-19: Specification for Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Concrete Panels received the Leslie D. Martin Certificate of Merit.

Lehigh University Professors Clay Nato and Spencer Quiel, along with Research Assistants Omar Alawad and Matthew Gombeda, received the Martin P. Korn Award, honoring the best design or research paper appearing in PCI Journal. Also for Journal content, Concrete Technology Corp. Vice President Stephen Seguirant, along with Washington State Department of Transportation Bridge Software Engineer Richard Brice plus Bridge Engineers Anthony Mizumori and Bijan Khaleghi, received the Robert J. Lyman Award for the paper offering the greatest contribution to the advancement of plant production, site erection, or general construction of precast concrete structures in a single year.

The George D. Nasser Award recognizes PCI Journal papers relating to the design, research, production, or construction of precast concrete structures from authors who are 40 years old or younger. This year’s award is given to Vidya Sagar Ronanki, bridge designer, T. Y. Lin International; Sriram Aaleti, professor, University of Alabama; and J.P. Binard, owner, Precast Systems Engineering. The Charles C. Zollman Award is given to meritorious PCI Journal papers that advance the general understanding and knowledge of precast, prestressed concrete by bringing together all available knowledge of a specific topic in a single report. This year’s award is given to Puneet Kumar, student, Michigan State University; and Venkatesh K.R. Kodur, professor, Center on Structural Fire Engineering and Diagnostics, Michigan State University.

The American Society of Concrete Contractors has named Cleveland general contractor Donley’s Inc. and Davidson, N.C. specialty contractor Wayne Brothers Inc. as W. Burr Bennett Award for Safety Excellence recipients, based on 2019 metrics. The ASCC Safety & Risk Management Council presents the honor in partnership with major underwriter CNA, judging candidates on three years of performance indicators; a self-assessment checklist of company practices; and, detailed descriptions of safety plans and culture.

Among top-performing general contractors, Donley’s also earned an Outstanding Safety Achievement Award for lowest incident rate (160,000-650,000 work hours), joining Sundt Construction Inc., Tempe, Ariz. (> 650,000 work hours) and Quesenberry’s Inc., Big Stone Gap, Va. (< 160,000 work hours). Leading Outstanding Safety Achievement Award recipients among specialty contractors are TAS Commercial Concrete Systems, Houston (> 400,000 work hours); Procon Inc., Rocky Mount, Va. (90,000-400,000 work hours); and, Albanelli Cement Constructors, Livonia, Mich. (> 90,000 work hours).

The World Cement Association has entered a knowledge partnership with Decarb Connect, an organization that supports measuring lower industrial process carbon output. Decarb Connect’s goal is to help drive the most energy-intensive sectors, those with complex challenges to solve, such as the cement industry, toward decarbonization. It provides access to hard-to-reach information and facilitate network relationships across the industry. Accordingly, WCA’s members benefit from special ticket pricing and have an advocate representing their views within the wider Decarb Connect program.

“Under these challenging and uncertain circumstances, it’s more important than ever to collaborate with a wide range of organizations and individuals for mutual benefit by sharing expertise, building relationships in other sectors and supporting industry around the world,” says WCA CEO Ian Riley. “This partnership will give us the opportunity to connect with decarbonization leaders in other fields that need to approach the path to net zero and explore a range of ongoing initiatives.”

“Our mission is to help hard to abate sectors accelerate industrial decarbonization decisions and deployments. Through the digital festival and network our goal is to shine a light on the international projects and strategies that are already achieving results in energy intensive sectors like cement and aggregates,” adds Decarb Connect CEO Alex Cameron. “WCA has been supportive of our plans and it’s clear that their commitment to helping their worldwide membership deliver on carbon commitments makes them an ideal partner.”