Adobe Stock / Scanrail

Every year we select a few people or companies that are making a difference in the concrete industry and highlight them in our Most Influential article. Those chosen usually include people I have known for many years and some that I don’t know well. And that’s true for this year’s class of Most Influential.

I first met Bob Garbini when I was at the American Concrete Institute and he had just started at NRMCA in 1991. We were assigned to work with S.K. Ghosh at PCA on the National Concrete & Masonry Engineering Conference, a great idea that was not a resounding success. We tried twice and let that one go. Bob, however, has gone on to lead NRMCA for 25 years and is still going strong, making a real difference with some new promotional programs, Build with Strength and the Design Assistance Programs.

John Ries, I first met when I was running The Masonry Society in 1995. John represented lightweight aggregate for which concrete masonry is big market. We often commiserated over the difficulties of running a small association. John is now close to retiring from the Expanded Shale, Clay, and Slate Institute and finally his efforts on internal curing are paying off.

When in Chicago, I had often seen the red and white candy-cane striped Ozinga ready mix trucks on the road. Then about 3 years ago, I had the chance to visit one of their plants on the south side of Chicago and talk with TIm Ozinga. One might think a family-owned company run by the fourth generation would be set in their ways, but that’s definitely not the case for Ozinga. Their commitment to their customers, their community, and their faith keeps them on the cutting edge.

I hope you enjoy learning more about these folks who have moved our industry forward in 2017.