Ward Pedley Jr. might be the face of polished concrete. The head of Pedley Concrete in Owensboro, Ky., has been a concrete contractor for 28 years and has branched into polished concrete in just the last two years. He says it's a good way to fill the time when bad weather halts his other projects.

Pedley, who was especially interested in looking and learning about new tools and equipment, and about 200 others were at the second International Concrete Polishing and Staining Conference (ICPSC) in Duluth, Ga., just north of Atlanta in early October. He had just completed his first polishing job that had been specified by an architect—an 8000-square-foot concrete floor in a church.

Concrete polishing is on a roll. I'm impressed so many people are willing to spend a beautiful early fall weekend away from their families and jobs to learn more about this growing industry. “I couldn't have been happier with the sense of community here this weekend,” said Michael Sawick, ICPSC board member. Concrete Surfaces is the official publication of the event.

The conference was held just days after a piece of good news: the Construction Specifications Institute has recognized polished concrete in its MasterFormat system. (See news story below.) “We need standardization for expectations,” said David Loe, president of Lythic Solutions, an exhibitor at the event. “Contractors benefit because standardization protects them in the bidding process.” The industry will continue to grow, but it will grow faster if standardization moves it to the forefront.

Decorative concrete has lots going for it, according to Scott Thome, director of product services for LM Scofield Co., and Darryl White, president and CEO of Concrete Flooring Solutions. Polishing gives customers several options and it's durable and low-maintenance. Contractors like its flexibility, as it can be used in new construction or in existing buildings.

The majority of attendees in one session voted to move forward in forming a concrete polishing association, possibly with the assistance of the Technical Institute for Polished Concrete. A blog will be formed in the coming months and another meeting on the subject may be held at World of Concrete in February in Las Vegas. “An association has to provide benefits and services,” said Sawick. “Otherwise, it doesn't have any value to anyone.”

Conferences and events are helpful, but Bill Rains, owner of Blue Diamond Services in Lansdale, Pa., suggests contractors attend training classes to hone their skills. Just learning about the equipment is challenging. “The myriad of tools available today is mind-boggling,” he said.

For more on the event, visit www.icpsc2009.org.

Managing Editor