William D. Palmer, Editor in Chief
William D. Palmer, Editor in Chief
A strategic plan always sounds like a good idea. Where do we see ourselves in five years or twenty-five years? But how many companies actually have a plan? And do those who do have one use it as a real guide, or does it just sit on a shelf? I'm never confident that I have enough foresight to predict what's going to happen tomorrow, let alone in 10 years.

The concrete industry as a whole, however, has boldly developed a plan we are calling Vision 2030. The guiding body for development of these visions is the Strategic Development Council, administered by the American Concrete Institute's Concrete Research and Education Foundation. At the SDC's most recent meeting, its former chairman Mike Shydlowski (president of Degussa Admixtures) reviewed the organization's history and its progress towards achieving Vision 2030's goals. He pointed out that the Vision needs regular updates to adjust it to current reality. He also lamented the SDC's relative obscurity within the industry and asked me to help with that problem, hence this editorial.

My concern with Vision 2030, and the accompanying Roadmap 2030, is that they are complex and wordy. The concrete industry is indeed complex, but we still need goals that are easily articulated. Here is my attempt to do that, based on Vision 2030 and Shydlowski's talk. By the year 2030:

  • Concrete will become the most efficient and cost-effective construction material.
  • Concrete will become the material of choice based on life-cycle cost and performance.
  • Concrete will be the most environmentally sustainable construction material—both in its manufacture and use.
  • The industry will reduce to two years the time it takes for new technology to gain acceptance.
  • The concrete industry will speak with one voice.
  • The concrete industry will be seen as safe, well-paying, and challenging so as to attract a committed, diverse, and skilled workforce.
  • Concrete will be recognized as environmentally friendly, durable, and aesthetically pleasing.

These seven points present a grand vision of what all of us in the concrete industry would like to achieve. Getting from here to there is, of course, the hard part. The roadmap begins to address the reality of this journey by “defining where enabling research is needed and proposing areas where governmental-industrial-academic partnerships are required.” Some progress has been made on this in the three years since publication of the roadmap, but there is still a long way to go and to have any hope of success we need the entire industry to be involved, including the construction sector. For copies of the vision statements and roadmap, go to www.concretesdc.org. If you have ideas on how to move forward, let me know, and I will forward your thoughts to the SDC.