On page 56 is a never-before-published story by Dennis McKay a writer and retired concrete contractor. As near as I can tell this is the first fiction ever published by Concrete Construction—at least intentionally (some may feel a lot of what we publish is fiction). I think you will enjoy getting to know the guys in this story, although you probably work with people just like them, who take care of their coworkers and have passion for their work. McKay will be doing a reading from the story at CC Live during the World of Concrete (Booth C4587, near registration) on Tuesday, February 5 at 11 a.m. Stop by to meet him and get your copy of CC signed.

Economic Uncertainty

As of this writing it appears almost certain that the country is about to jump off the so-called fiscal cliff. That could create problems for construction during 2013. The Portland Cement Association predicts a slower first quarter for cement sales regardless, but only down 6 percent if the cliff is averted; down 11 percent if we take the plunge. The Associated Builders & Contractors predicts “moderate” construction growth in 2013 of 5.2 percent while FMI predicts an 8 percent increase. It’s hard to know who to believe, but Anirban Basu at ABC always seems pretty close. They don’t call economics the dismal science for nothing.

Talk to Me

Another highlight of this issue is an article by Bill Phelan of Euclid Chemical. Bill was a concrete industry leader long before I even knew there was an industry. Long an advocate of getting people together early in the process to work out problems on construction projects, Bill has attended hundreds of such meetings as a representative for the admixture supplier—an increasingly important player. Check out his take on pre-pour meetings.