Writing this, my last presidential memo, is bittersweet. As your outgoing ACI President, I would like to reflect on the major milestones our Institute crossed this year—accomplishments that I believe will have a great impact on its future and on the future of our industry. These achievements would not have taken place without the years of continued advancements by the volunteers and the leadership of ACI, as well as the assiduous and intelligent efforts by staff.
I have worked or interacted first-hand with quite a number of corporations, Middle Eastern as well as international. The workforce in these for-profit establishments is generally dedicated and driven by clear goals, key performance indicators, and well-defined objectives.
Still, my takeaway from more than 33 years of interfacing with thousands of corporate employees is that we are blessed with the quality of ACI staff. I am not just hinting at their dedication and commitment to the success of ACI, or their full alignment with its vision and mission. I am specifically referring to the excellence in execution, in every single detail and each task at hand. This was the most inspiring part of my presidential journey with the Institute. I believe Excellence is a core value of ACI and not just a goal. It runs from the volunteers well into ACI headquarters in Farmington Hills, MI.
From a risk management point of view, this is one of the most valuable insurances ACI has against what the future may hold for associations in general and for the concrete industry as a whole.
There are two strategic decisions made this year by the ACI Board of Direction that were truly historic. The first one was stepping up of ACI’s contribution to the ACI Foundation to an unprecedented yearly level of $500,000. This outstanding commitment to education, research, and innovation will have a substantial impact on our industry in so many ways.
The second decision is the change of mission from "ACI develops and disseminates consensus-based knowledge" to "ACI develops, disseminates, and advances the adoption of its consensus-based knowledge on concrete and its uses." The implication of this change is going to affect how ACI works domestically as well as internationally, because the Institute will now assume a role well beyond "library building," to actually taking knowledge to practice. ACI will not just publish consensus-based codes, standards, and guides but will also drive adoption and acceptance of these documents to ensure that the final user is well aware and aligned to follow them.
I would also like to share with you another transformational initiative that will hopefully see light soon. As part of a comprehensive regional plan, ACI has been actively working to increase its programs and activities in the Middle East, including the potential to open the Institute’s first international office in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. I cannot list all the opportunities that this action could open for ACI and for the concrete industry globally. It is another sign of determination that the American Concrete Institute will fulfill its role of engagement, outreach, and leadership well beyond America.
Passing the gavel is an emotional moment. Still, I feel truly motivated that David Lange will be next at the helm of the Institute. David was instrumental in defining ACI Outlook 2030 when he chaired the Board task group for scripting this vision. I am sure ACI will continue its exceptional success under his leadership.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your support during this year. Many of you, in the United States and abroad, extended exceptional assistance and continuous encouragement. My trips to the ACI Chapters around the world confirmed what I already knew: ACI is one of the most esteemed concrete associations in the world.
In his or her last presidential memo, every president has expressed genuine optimism about the future of ACI. I can echo them full-heartedly, with a high level of confidence. Based on what I have experienced with ACI this year, I can assert with great sureness, and not only hope, that in the lifetime of all of you, even our youngest members, ACI will continue to be the most eminent global holder of the flag of concrete.