This will be our last regular monthly column, although you may occasionally find a new one as the months evolve. The monthly columns were sometimes easy to put together, but sometimes they had to be pulled out over months with a lot of editing and refinement because of the need to encapsulate on one page something that we thought you would not only like to read but would also find informative.
We are sure that there were many columns that rekindled information you had already known. If something we provided was new or had a different twist, then one of our goals was accomplished. Whatever woke your interest, we hope that you felt better after a column reading. It certainly helped us to revisit the past and reframe some things, real or conceptual, into something we hoped was informative as well as entertaining to you. We appreciated and enjoyed the task. This is a sad farewell, but perhaps also a relief.
We touched on a variety of subjects during the past two years. Some included formal aspects of concrete and some were abstract, but we always hoped to give you something interesting to read: from the lost city of Atlantis and Sophia Loren to beer busts on the moon; to Arnold Palmer who, under different circumstances, might have captained an America's Cup winner; to Thomas A. Edison's major role in the early cement and concrete industries and contribution to the concrete “House That Ruth Built.”
But we didn't have the opportunity to tell you about Bernie's ballet adventure where he performed in the Pittsburgh production of “Swan Lake,” or how Bill used up three of his nine cat lives or of his hole-in-one. How these relate to concrete or concrete-making materials will, perhaps, remain a mystery.
Our one disappointment was the lack of reader participation. We would sometimes hear about a column from friends, but never did we hear from someone out of the blue about past or future columns.
Although our columns probably didn't make a major difference in your life, we wrote them because we care about our industry and the people that make it what it is. That industry is your livelihood and ours. We hope you are a little better informed and understand some aspects of concrete that will make your life easier and maybe a little better.
Subjects become less popular and more routine as we begin to accept and incorporate them into our professional lives and into our standards. Once in awhile there is a need to re-emphasize some things and refine standards. And, of course, new things always need attention. Awareness comes from knowledge, and we hope that some of that has been translated to you via our columns.
When we worked together as Erlin Hime Associates, Bill would introduce Bernie as “The Front End.” You may have noticed that our columns have been alternately titled “Erlin and Hime on Concrete” and “Hime and Erlin on Concrete.” And our pictures at the bottom of the page would flip monthly. Now Bernie has also experienced the other end, which leads us to conclude that this is the end of another phase that has made us greater admirers of each other, and, of course, you too for taking the time to read. We hope that our columns provided some leisurely, but informative, reading that made your day more interesting.
We wish the editors of Concrete Construction and our readers the best of reading and the best concrete and all that goes along with it. We hope our columns have provided something new, some things to really think about, and some smiles. Let's all push for long-lasting concrete made to serve its purpose, with good cementitious materials, stable aggregates, appropriate admixtures, and just enough water to make it workable, along with adequate curing.
We both began our careers at the Research and Development Laboratories of the Portland Cement Association, an organization that once touted in print, “Concrete for Permanence.” That slogan was put aside decades ago. Meanwhile, we must tick away and wish you our heartfelt and sincerest wishes for your continued future permanence.
- William Hime is a principal with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates and began working as a chemist at PCA 53 years ago.
- Bernard Erlin is president of The Erlin Company (TEC), Latrobe, Pa., and has been involved with all aspects of concrete for over 47 years.