One of the last things Ward Malisch told me to do as he left The Aberdeen Group and I took over as editor of Concrete Construction in 2001 was to call Tommy Ruttura. We were planning a new feature for later in the year called “Contractors to Watch” and Ruttura seemed a likely person to include. When I got in touch with him and asked about recent projects, he told me “I don’t really have a favorite. It’s all part of building the American infrastructure. It’s the best job in the world.” Nearly 20 years have passed but Tommy hasn’t slowed down, although he may have mellowed a bit. In September, at the ASCC Annual Conference, Tommy’s contributions to the association were recognized with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. In her introduction, ASCC executive director Bev Garnant said, “Some people join an organization and give their time. Some join and contribute dollars. A special few give their heart and soul. Tonight we honor a heart and soul member, Tommy Ruttura. Since joining ASCC in 1982 Tommy has been a preacher, cheerleader, mentor, advocate, ambassador, fan, critic, watchdog, fundraiser, rabble-rouser. All with the intent of making the organization sounder and stronger. His impact within this congregation is everlasting and has made us ever better.”

Becoming a Servant Leader
Another highlight of the ASCC Annual Conference was the keynote talk by Wally Adamchik, a leadership consultant to the construction industry. His talk focused on how to become a servant leader in these days of fake news when the world often seems like a version of a mixed martial arts bout. Employees of all ages want the same things: some relief from the chaos with a job where they can trust their leaders and fellow workers. He emphasized that as a supervisor you should be complimenting workers five times more often than you criticize them. Employees want to feel they are significant, that the boss is listening, that their opinion matters. If you take care of your people, he said, they will take care of each other. In the November/December issue we will run a longer piece based on Adamchik’s research.

World of Concrete
It may seem early, but most of the plans for the 2020 World of Concrete are already cast. The Quality in Concrete Slabs Luncheon on Feb. 5 will focusing on alternative curing methods and feature panelists Clark Branum, Dave Hoyt, Scott Tarr, and Bob Harris. The Polished Concrete Luncheon on Feb. 4 will look at the use of power trowels for polishing, with panelists Jessica Ledger-Kalen, Ryan Klacking, Shawn Halverson, Ben Wiese, and Neil Roach. More details will follow, but I hope to see you there.