ACI President Anne Ellis is making the organization more relevant to its members.
ACI ACI President Anne Ellis is making the organization more relevant to its members.

Changes happen at the American Concrete Institute (ACI) slowly. In many ways, that’s a good thing, since it means that new materials or design ideas are carefully vetted prior to implementation. But to change the way ACI relates to its members and customers all over the world is a big task. Anne Ellis, current ACI president, is up to the challenge.

One of Ellis’ goals has been to, “Do today what needs to be done to be relevant tomorrow.” To accomplish that, she has taken ACI through an “environmental scan,” looking at its place in the concrete world and then developing a new strategic plan that promises to “focus on our preferred future.” To make the strategic plan an “antidote to inertia,” and therefore more open to change.

“This will make the institute more inclusive and make the board focus less on operations and more on strategic issues,” Ellis says. The new plan sets key performance indicators (separate operating KPIs and strategic KPIs) and challenges the board and the key committees to “stay current and relevant.”

Two outwardly obvious changes are a new ACI web site and a new ACI logo. The logo, which hadn’t been changed since 1964, will be introduced at the World of Concrete in January. “We expected some resistance,” she says, “but from the first, it was obvious that the board was saying not if we change but what changes we make and the initial dialogue pointed to the most dramatic changes we proposed.”

With the website, “we wanted to convey a more modern reflection of the institute,” says Ellis. “And I think we’ve accomplished that.”

Another of her priorities has been to make ACI more reflective of its international audience. “We have members from 129 countries,” she notes. “We need to contribute to the world so we can stay current. If we aren’t plugged in, our knowledge will rapidly become dated.”

For pushing ACI and the entire concrete community into a new global approach to building and sharing information, Ellis is one of this year’s Most Influential People.