In the August issue, Craig Cottongim wrote in his Uncommon Sense column, “What do we do about a DUI?” an occurrence that is only too common among construction workers. This prompted Gregg Rhoades with the OPCMIA in Omaha to write us. “The work we do can either bring out the best or worst in a man depending upon his vices. The abuse of alcohol has hurt our industry. I can’t count the number of men I have had to write letters for in an effort to keep them employed and out of jail as a result of their poor decisions. I believe in helping these men and have done so numerous times. However, we need to collectively change the culture of the construction industry where we are not viewed as a bunch of hard cases who work hard and drink hard. We need an image overhaul to be viewed as craftsmen who bring the project in on time and on budget. As I tell my men, it is all about ‘good decisions.’ It’s time we make them.”

Rocky Mountain Concrete

Forty years ago, I moved to Colorado to be a ski bum — a goal I achieved. I soon found I wasn’t really cut out for the bum life, but I never got Colorado out of my blood and eventually returned for good. Come to the fall American Concrete Institute convention in Denver in November and you’ll understand why I’ll never leave and why Colorado’s population has more than doubled over the past 40 years. Yes, I am on the committee organizing the convention, so I’m totally biased, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true! If you want any advice on navigating an ACI convention or on things to do or see in Colorado, let me know.

Tilt-Up Photographer

Following Ed Sauter’s retirement last year, Mitch Bloomquist was named executive director of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association. Mitch is doing a great job running the organization but who knew he was also a professional photographer? Mitch took the photo on our cover as well as two of the photos in “Cultivating a Tilt-Up Work Force.” To see more of his impressive photography, go to

John Ries at age 2.
John Ries at age 2.


John Ries has been advocating for the lightweight concrete industry for a long time, as you can see in this photo, and as the executive director of the Expanded Shale, Clay & Slate Institute. I first got to know him in the early 1990s when I worked at ACI and we were organizing the National Concrete & Masonry Engineering Conference. John is retiring from ESCSI this fall and our industry will miss him. His article, “Curing from the Inside Out,” is based on a webinar he presented to ASCC members.