While attending the University of Florida, Simonelli began pouring concrete as a summer job. He joined Baker Concrete Construction and for the next 14 years evolved from laborer to labor foremen, finisher to finisher foremen, and then concrete superintendent. It was during this period he was introduced to the motto: “To move up, you have to train someone to take your place.” This idea sparked his interest in teaching.

Next, he transferred to Precision Concrete while raising his three sons. But it was when he worked for Allen Engineering that he began teaching finisher skills to people around the globe. The seminars typically ran one to two days long, and included both classroom theory and hands-on concrete placement. He is most known for teaching high tolerance floor construction techniques.

Simonelli currently works for Structural Services Inc. (SSI) as director of engineering services, doing their field training work. Big box retail companies that consult with SSI often specify Simonelli provide training for installation crews. Sometimes these companies require him onsite whenever concrete is placed, especially with projects involving floors with high FF and FL specs. He teaches ACI Finisher Certification classes and more recently, ACI Commercial/Industrial Flatwork Finisher Certification classes including placing concrete and demonstrating proficiency with finishing machines and tools of the trade. He also teaches seminars related to floor construction at WOC.

It's said that one must invest at least 10,000 hours of learning to become expert at what they do. By that measure, Simonelli's expert status is beyond question. As an instructor, he teaches by showing and doing. He never asks anyone to do something he wouldn't do himself. When asked how many finishers have completed his classes and seminars, he says the total exceeds several thousand.

View other 2009 Most Influential honorees.