Over all these years sitting in meeting rooms and technical sessions, one would think I would have learned to overcome after-lunch sleepiness. But listening to a lecture by a heavily accented young Asian PhD student at the American Concrete Institute convention, I found myself again drifting helplessly away. Wake up! I demanded my brain, which doesn’t listen most of the time, let alone in this situation. But then, a word about joint placement or concrete curing penetrates the fog and I’m focused because you never know where you might learn something new about concrete. Keep your eyes and ears open, my friends, and keep learning.

A Contractor for President

Every few years, the American Concrete Institute chooses a construction person as president. The newest member of that club is Mike Schneider from Baker Concrete. His official title at Baker is Chief People Officer, which reflects the “gray-collar” philosophy of the company Dan Baker still leads. Having a contractor at the helm of ACI is always a great opportunity for the construction side of the business to make some inroads within the committees and leadership. Please join me in congratulating Mike!

Specifying Finishable Concrete

Oklahoma State University’s Tyler Ley always comes up with new ideas for working with concrete. A few years ago it was his recycled newspaper slurry for curing, or FiberCure. At the ACI Committee 302 (Slab Construction) meeting in April, he presented his work tackling problems that manufactured sands introduce to a mix, especially in terms of finishability, with his so-called Tarantula Curve of aggregate gradation. His motto: “We are uncovering the black magic of concrete mixture design one mixture at a time.” On his website you can take what amounts to an entire course in concrete materials and mix design—for free! One interesting development is his test for workability. This has been a point of contention when discussing performance-based specifications, since there’s never been a simple way to measure (and specify) finishability. If you have problems with workability, pick up Tyler’s Recommended Specification for Optimized Graded Concrete for Flowable Applications (www.optimizedgraded.com).

Intern to Producer

Last December a young man began working on this magazine as an intern—hired partly to get us over the hump at the World of Concrete. Recently, though, our very talented website producer, Jack White, moved on to new challenges and we were left with an opening. That allowed us to move Zachary Zerndt into the new position of digital projects producer. Zack is learning fast as we transition our websites to a new platform over the next few months and we are confident that he will become a valuable member of our team—he already has!