There aren’t too many engineers who have dedicated so much of their lives helping contractors both through education and direct consultation. “I’ve tried to interpret between the engineer and the contractor,” he says. “To help each understand what the other can and can’t do and to find some simple changes that can make everyone happy. A lot of this was spent educating engineers about construction. It seems like I helped to define this gap.”
For many years, Suprenant was a fixture at the World of Concrete, often appearing as the master of ceremonies for the Mega-Demos in jeans, work boots, and a tuxedo shirt, jacket, and bow tie. “My first WOC experience was helping with the demos in 1987 in the (Houston) Astrodome,” he says. “Ward (Malisch, then Concrete Construction editor) asked me to help so I could see the show, but it ended up being 16 hours a day in the demo area. He decided we had to recycle the concrete which meant breaking it all into 6x6-inch squares with nothing but small hand-held equipment.”
In the early 2000s the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association had developed some position papers that laid most of the responsibility for any flooring problems onto the concrete contractors. “We went to the CEO Forum and presented the problem to the contractors,” he says “They agreed that ASCC (the American Society of Concrete Contractors) needed their own position papers to balance things out. We used a lot of ACI references to justify our position, so the position papers were never just opinion pieces.” Since then, many ASCC contractors have gotten off the hook for situations covered by the now 40 ASCC position papers.
Recently, Suprenant has taken over the position of technical director of ASCC. “We are trying to make the entire construction team aware of the issues,” he says. “If everyone understands the constraints and can speak to one another with the same language, then we’re halfway there.”
For being an advocate for contractors and helping the entire design and construction team understand one another, Suprenant is one of this year’s Most Influential People.