Choosing the 10 most influential people in the concrete industry is a daunting task—one I approached with some trepidation. How could we single out 10 people from among all those doing great work?
As an engineer, I like to take a systematic approach to everything so I listed the criteria that might lead us to select someone: they must have done something significant recently; they must have national recognition; we needed a cross section of people from the industry segments; we wanted representatives from the various members of the project team; we wanted people who were contributing to the issues that are driving the business today. Then we asked people we knew and respected in the industry whom they would choose.
At the end of all this, we had a long list of those we were considering. It was a mixture of contractors, engineers, architects, teachers, some old friends and some we didn't know all that well, some legends of the industry, and others who are relative newcomers (although nearly everyone is a relative newcomer compared with Jim Shilstone). Then all of the CC editors argued about it for several days and settled on the 10 recognized in this issue.
So now I have a confession: this selection process was completely biased. I have known many of these people for nearly 20 years—both those we did select and those we passed over. Neither I nor any of the editors of this magazine can be completely unbiased because that's not how we run this magazine. We are not; casual outside observers—we are part of the industry. We don't report from afar; we are friends with these people—you people. We talk on the phone, we go out to dinner, we learn about your dreams and your disappointments, we know your spouses and your children—even your grandchildren. It's impossible to be unbiased.
Still I feel completely justified in the selections we made. Certainly there are many people I wish had made the final list that did not. Maybe next year. And frankly, I wish we had more diversity than nine old white guys and an Asian architect, but like it or not, that's who we are, although I do think that's beginning to change. Those we did choose, though, epitomize the streaks of greatness that run throughout this industry. These are 10 people with incredible dedication and respect for concrete and what it can do: people with vision, who can see past their own day-to-day problems to soaring concrete buildings or to concrete slabs that remain perfect forever or to project teams that work together harmoniously.
William D. Palmer Jr.
Editor in Chief