The toughest leadership setting is in a volunteer organization, where the leader has little direct control over those he is leading. In such cases, servant leadership – a term for an ancient philosophy coined in 1970 by consultant Robert Greenleaf to oppose top-down corporate hierarchies – works very well. That’s how Scott Anderson led the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) for two productive years as president and why we are recognizing him as one of the Most Influential People in the Concrete Industry in 2018.
“A president of ASCC, it wasn’t about me, but about the organization,” he says. “The accomplishments belong to the organization; I just had the privilege of helping to motivate and guide them. I was there to eliminate road blocks to fulfilling the strategic plan.”
Anderson feels his greatest accomplishment was strengthening ties with the American Concrete Institute (ACI). Better communication between designers and contractors has long been a goal of both organizations, but it’s seldom moved past talk. In 2017, ACI Committee 117 on Tolerances became a joint committee with ASCC, an effort that led in to the inaugural meeting in October 2017 of the ACI Concrete Constructability committee with ASCC support.
“ACI committees don’t do things to spite us; they just don’t always understand the significance of what they put into codes and guides. Contractors have an obligation to make sure designs and specifications are sustainable, constructible, and appropriate.”
Anderson got a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and is now vice president of Keystone Structural Concrete in Houston, where he oversees the division that builds elevated, formed structures. He feels the company has been successful by building relationships.
“We work with subcontractors and suppliers that I worked with when I came here 20 years ago. We treat people fairly and do what we say we’re going to do in terms of quality and schedule. Ninety percent of our customers are repeat customers, so we must be doing something right. Concrete work is not that complex, so we must do an ordinary thing in an extraordinary way to set ourselves apart.”
He brought the managerial skills he developed at Keystone to ASCC, where his first leadership role was education committee chair. He took on the task of filming a video on finishing slabs. “There was nothing out there as a base guide,” he explains. “I’m not a finisher, so I had to learn the right ways. We got all the right people together and I wasn’t leading so much as motivating them to talk and articulate how to finish concrete. The video is useful for new employees but just scratches the surface; the rest comes with experience.
“Looking back on my two years as president, I see that we did get a lot done. As I’ve gotten older in my job at Keystone and at ASCC, I don’t get to do as much. Rather, I get to motivate others to do the job. I get a secondary reward from that.”
Recent ASCC milestones:
- Joint committee ACI/ASCC 117, Tolerances
- Partner on the new ACI Concrete Constructability committee
- Completion of the Basics of Concrete Finishing video
- Conducted the safety legacy course developed by Cemex
- Started the Owner Safety Award; Keith Wayne, Wayne Bros., was first recipient
- Brought the Concrete Polishing Association of America into ASCC as the Concrete Polishing Council.