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

Sometimes it seems that nothing ever changes. Same old thing year after year. But as part of our anniversary celebration, as we look back at what we've covered in the magazine for the past 50 years, we find so many interesting developments that we don't have space in the magazine to include them all.

For this month's 50-year review, Diana Granitto dug through 600 issues to write this section on developments in slabs and foundations. Diana worked for The Aberdeen Group and for Hanley Wood for many years, first on Construction Marketing Today magazine that eventually didn't make it, then as executive editor for all of the magazines. She had written two great sidebars for this month that unfortunately ended up on the cutting room floor: one on lift-slab construction (speaking of something that didn't make it) and one on post-tensioning (a technology that definitely has made it big).

And I think the changes are compounding and becoming more obvious even beyond the construction industry. It seems that for years we've been patiently waiting for this to happen. My grandfather, an Iowa farmer, once told me when I was complaining about not getting a job I thought I deserved, not to worry -- the cream always rises to the top. Well, I think the concrete industry is the cream, and it really is beginning to rise to the top. We're not just that ugly gray industrial material anymore. People are beginning to see the innovation and creativity.

One might say it's the technology: new materials that make concrete more beautiful and durable, new equipment that increases productivity, new construction methods that make us more competitive. But look more closely at what's really provoking change, and I think you'll see something quite different. Successful contractors and successful projects owe their success to the business savvy and sophistication of the construction team. The old adversarial approach simply doesn't work any-more. And neither does the swaggering, overbearing approach that used to characterize construction. What does work is contractors who know how to participate in the entire project, who see the value of respecting the environment, and who know that the safety of their workers needs to be more than an afterthought.

I look at the two articles this month about slab construction -- one by Joe Nasvik (about how Fricks places a floor) and the other by Eldon Tipping on getting good elevated slabs. Both preach the wisdom of a holistic and cooperative approach. These are the things that define the concrete industry today and we at Concrete Construction are proud to have been a part of the growth of this industry for these 50 years.

Wiliam D. Palmer Jr., Editor in Chief