CFA Awards

The Concrete Foundation Association recently presented its 2006 Contractor of the Year Award to Arie Van Wyk. Van Wyk, president of Van Wyks, Inc. in Waldo, Wis., is known throughout the industry as a dedicated contractor who enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. A member of CFA for 27 years, Van Wyk served on the CFA board of directors for 14 years. He was selected for this award for his commitment to innovation and willingness to assist those getting started in the business.

CFA also salutes some of this year's most challenging home projects and their cast-in-place concrete foundations. The foundation design of the 2006 “Basement of the Year” is so complex that the crews named it “The Dragon House” and “The Spaceship.”

This year's competition is the largest in CFA history. Contractors voted for Basement of the Year in the CFA booth at the 2006 World of Concrete in Las Vegas. The formal award presentation will be made at the Awards Banquet Luncheon during the CFA's Annual Summer Meeting July 19–22 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

The winning structure is a 5,694-square-foot basement with many garden walls and other features in Eastown Township, Pa. Balmer Brothers Concrete Work of Akron, Pa., is the foundation contractor on the project. While it is not the largest, Jerry Balmer, president, stated that this project was probably the most complex that they have ever completed. With very few right-angled corners, the project kept crews on their toes. Many corners went from straight to curved walls with corners, T-walls, and Y-sections coming in at various angles.

Adding to the complexity are stone ledges surrounding the house—many in multiple pieces to accommodate the curved walls. Balmer credits the success of this project to his experienced crew on the job. “They all know how important a quality wall is to us, and it was evident that it was important to them,” Balmer Brothers is a third-time winner of CFA's Basement of the Year award.

This year's second-place winner is the Briarcliff West project located in Kansas City, Mo., and submitted by Louisburg Foundation of Bucyrus, Kan. The Briar-cliff West basement has 998 total lineal feet and includes 316 total yards of concrete, 118 yards of footings that contain seven tons of steel, and another 14 tons of steel in the walls.

The competition's third place goes to the Cahn Residence project in Cherry Hill, N.J., submitted by Marone Contractors, Inc., of Thorofare, N.J. The Cahn Residence features 1065 total lineal feet of walls in an 8226-square-foot plan that includes both the basement and garage floor. This project required 341 yards of concrete and 6550 lineal feet of steel in the walls, and 85 yards of concrete and 2930 lineal feet of steel in the footings. There are 121 corners with many intersecting angles at circular foundations.

For more information on the CFA, on attending the summer meeting, and on entries for the 2006 competition, visit the association's Web site at, contact the headquarters at 319-895-6940, or email

Don't work for free

Coach Gary (far left) joined Bobby Sweeney and Tony Lampasona at the World of Concrete session, “Don't Work For Free” moderated by CC editor Bill Palmer.
Coach Gary (far left) joined Bobby Sweeney and Tony Lampasona at the World of Concrete session, “Don't Work For Free” moderated by CC editor Bill Palmer.

In his new book, Get Paid—for a Change! The Contractor's Blueprint for Turning Extra Work into Extra Money through Change Orders, “Coach” Gary Micheloni presents simple rules for every contractor to follow. Using quotes from famous coaches and a consistent sports metaphor, Micheloni takes the reader through what constitutes a change in scope that should be paid for, how to document those changes, and how to ask for fair payment. He's so sure his system will work, that he guarantees that a contractor will collect an extra $1000 in revenue if he implements at least three of the strategies presented.

This easy-to-read book will:

  • “Coach” you through the entire process—step by step by step
  • Teach you a logical way to manage changes to your contract work
  • Show you how to stay on top of your projects so completely that your clients will usually agree to your requests for change orders
  • Give you the strategy you need to be a successful project manager.

The book concludes with sample letters, requests for information, and even a format for arranging your files to create a job book so that nothing gets overlooked or left to chance. For a free audio sample of the book, go to

NRMCA inaugurates tracking program

As companies track and improve performance, sharing information is imperative. Now, with NRMCA's launch of the nation's first ever Concrete Production Reporting Program, the ready-mixed concrete industry will also be able to take advantage of timely product share data. NRMCA has invited concrete producers in Atlanta, Chicago, and Denver to participate in its pilot program. Participation in the program helps provide solid data and vital feedback on the participating companies' performance. Participants will receive a customized quarterly report that provides vital information about their companies, including details on total concrete production and product share for all concrete, as well as integrally colored concrete, self-consolidating concrete, fiber-reinforced concrete, pervious concrete, and flowable fill.

Those in the program will complete an electronic survey of concrete production on a quarterly basis and e-mail it to an independent auditing firm. Data will be held with strict confidentiality and destroyed when the results are tabulated.

If you live in these areas and want to participate or find out more about the 2006 Production Reporting Program, contact NRMCA's Lionel Lemay at or 847-918-7101. If you're not in these areas, stay tuned and encourage expansion of the program.

Tilt-Up's second convention

The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) will hold its second annual convention Oct. 4–7 in Denver.

According to Ed Sauter, TCA executive director, “M.A.S.S. Appeal—Achieving New Heights” was selected as the theme to demonstrate just a few of the benefits that site-cast tilt-up offers. The acronym M.A.S.S. stands for “Modern, Artistic, Structural, Sustainable.”

To be held at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, the convention is an outgrowth of the Association's biennial Symposium and Design Charette events. Sauter said the success of these meetings validated the need for an annual event that serves the industry.

Jim Baty, technical director of the TCA, said the three-day Tilt-Up Convention will feature intensive training and educational seminars for contractors and engineers, architects and marketing personnel in concurrent sessions. A building tour of award winning projects and a trade show also will take place. New to the convention this year is a golf outing and product demonstrations.

The convention also serves as another venue for the tilt-up supervisor's certification exam—a joint program of the TCA and the American Concrete Institute. Concrete Construction magazine is the national media sponsor of this event. For more information about the exam, please contact TCA at 319-895-6911.

Additional information and registration details are available on TCA's Web site at