William D. Palmer, Editor in Chief
William D. Palmer, Editor in Chief

Some people seem to just exude a positive outlook on their lives and work. That certainly applies to this year's selections for The Ten Most Influential People in the Concrete Industry. Although they come from widely different backgrounds, even different countries, they share one defining characteristic: a great passion for life, for their jobs, and for the concrete industry. How many people can say, as Mike Shydlowski does, that they can't remember five days when they weren't excited to go to work?

Our choices are not intended to be lifetime achievement awards, but rather to pinpoint the issues that are currently of significance to the industry and recognize those who are making a difference today. For instance, concrete in residential construction is growing, and Mike Weber is a big part of that. Self-consolidating concrete has the potential to revolutionize the industry and Suru Shah is instrumental in driving that forward. Decorative concrete is booming and Doug Bannister is helping to educate many of the concrete neophytes coming into the business. The demand for tilt-up construction and high-quality concrete floors is greater than ever, and Clay Fischer's and Terry Fricks' companies excel in those areas while these two are leaders and role models for concrete contractors everywhere.

Some of the choices turned out to be propitious. For example, we had selected Luke Snell because of his important contribution to education, only to learn that he had moved to Arizona State University to take on the new Concrete Industry Management program there—perhaps the most important educational program the industry has ever undertaken. We had selected Bill Tolley before ACI had its most successful convention ever this fall. And Santiago Calatrava was on our short list long before his design for the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub was unveiled.

Last year, I bemoaned the lack of diversity among our ten. Although this year's choices are still not as diverse as I would like to see, we did choose a woman. But Bev Garnant certainly did not get in because of some affirmative action policy, but rather because she is successfully and aggressively leading the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) to the forefront of the concrete construction industry.

We hope you enjoy reading about these ten. People of this caliber make us proud to be part of this dynamic industry.