What do an ex-fighter pilot, an engineer, a former Marine, a barn repair specialist, and a surfer have in common? Concrete. On a sunny Friday in May, in Colorado Springs, eight concrete contractors met in a conference room. It's not important how the members came into their professions. What connects this MIX group now is that all the members have concrete construction companies to run and problems to solve.

They represent a spectrum of contractors, from a multimillion dollar outfit to a struggling start-up. But whether there are 300 employees or 30, whether the regional accent is from New York or the deep South, they all share the same desires: to solve problems within their companies, have a sounding board for their concerns, and finally, make their operations more successful.