1 The Godfather

Pervious concrete promoter

Sometimes you hit on something and you just don't know how big it is or how big it's going to get.

Just look at Frank Kozeliski's fateful experiment. The former owner and president of Gallup Sand & Gravel in Gallup, N.M., concocted a simple, rudimentary concrete mix that didn't even require an admixture or fine aggregate to be shipped 150 miles, in his case.

“Open-grated, no-fines concrete,” is what Kozeliski called it.

The small step forward happened almost 20 years ago. That was back when “green” meant the color in the spectrum between blue and yellow and nothing more. “Global” and “warming” were two words that simply weren't used together and never in that order. And the price of a barrel of oil? The mid-teens.

“I knew that water would flow through my mix, but I never thought of the final product as being green until the last five to seven years,” he says. The rediscovery and relabeling of this simple idea is fast becoming one of the industry's greatest tools to demonstrate concrete's contribution to sustainability.

Since his discovery, Kozeliski went on to do what he does best—work hard. He has recently resigned as president of Gallup Sand & Gravel. But he maintains his involvement by working with the New Mexico producer as a consultant and materials engineer.

The registered professional engineer also has spearheaded innovation in other ways. He has been active with the New Mexico Ready Mix Concrete Association, is an ACI fellow, and has been involved with the association's New Mexico chapter since it started. He has served as chairman of ACI 211, Proportioning Concrete, and is a member of ACI 229, Flowable Fill; ACI 305, Hot Weather Concreting; ACI 308, Curing; and ACI 330, Concrete Parking Lots.

Last year, he was appointed chairman of NRMCA's new Pervious Concrete Promotion subcommittee. It's an important role; fifty-seven people attended the subcommitte's first meeting earlier this year.

For his lifelong industry efforts, and especially his promotion of pervious concrete, THE CONCRETE PRODUCER has named Kozeliski one of its 2008 Influencer honorees.

“Tremendous influence”

You don't have to convince Dan Huffman how valuable Kozeliski is. “He is a true godfather of pervious concrete technology, and has had tremendous influence on the industry on a national basis,” says Huffman, managing director, natural resources, for NRMCA. For instance, five national concrete contractors went to the association's meeting in Nashville, Tenn., in October, just to attend Kozeliski's pervious concrete subcommittee meeting, which was standing-room-only.

Huffman first met Kozeliski about 15 years ago when Kozeliski traveled to Portland, Ore., to give a talk on this new material. “He stood before a crowd of non-believers and impressed everybody, not only with his knowledge, but with his sense of humor, professionalism, and gentlemanly nature,” says Huffman.

“No one else was spreading the gospel,” Huffman adds. “Frank did that without financial compensation. He did it while running his business in Gallup. He would leave his business and travel across the country when someone was smart enough to bring him in. So many people think so highly of him.”

Still, much work remains to take pervious concrete to a higher level. Kozeliski points to the material's next challenge: moving pervious concrete beyond the conference room to the public. “This is great how we're currently talking about pervious among ourselves, but we need to have a special on our product on the Discovery Channel or something similar so people can see it and realize what we've got,” he says.

Thanks to Kozeliski's influence, the research and design communities have been improving his simple product. For example, research is now underway on how to make testing cylinders to determine pervious concrete's compressive strength that would lead to engineering acceptance.

He also sees a day when the material is loaded onto dump trucks from a ready-mix producer's plant, and then placed with an asphalt roller to make large parking lots, including areas on which vehicles drive, not just park. This will put more water back into the soil.

Ever the promoter, the engineer sees a great future for the product. “As more people come to accept the concept, we will find more uses for this product as we use it,” Kozeliski says.

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