The students from the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), a business intensive program that awards students with a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in concrete industry management, have announced five research projects that are designed to benefit both the industry as well as provide valuable experience for the students.

The following projects currently are underway at MTSU:

  • A collaborative project with five other labs across the United States to determine the best way to consolidate and cast cylindrical specimens for pervious cement.
  • Comparison of new fiber with existing market fibers to determine viability of the fiber to prevent plastic shrinkage cracking
  • Investigation of a new liquid admixture that could be used to enhance workability, set time, and cement replacement for pervious concrete mixes.
  • Review of the pull-out strength of rebar in high-strength lightweight concrete with local precast plants and Stalite Inc.
  • Two industry literature searches: (1) compilation of all pervious concrete research that has been done to date, and (2) compilation of all papers that reference the comparison of fiber reinforced concrete versus welded wire fabric and how well it performs.

For these projects, the faculty at MTSU serves as mentors and trains the students to use equipment they might not have used before. MTSU also has a CIM 4200 course that focuses on student research, writing technical reports, and developing research presentations. According to Heather J. Brown, director and associate professor of the CIM Program at MTSU, nearly every project they undertake has an industry contact and purpose.

"We choose to do projects that are needed by the industry in the short-term because we can get fast turnaround and utilize undergraduates that we only have for only four to six months at a time," says Brown. "We feel that the ability to write technical reports, work in a lab environment, be introduced to high tech equipment, work both in teams and solo, and being able to convey results and recommendations to the industry is a powerful tool that will serve the students well in their career."

According to Michael Nelson, CIM graduate and current MBA graduate student, "Doing research with the CIM program provides me an opportunity to get valuable 'hands-on' experience through experimenting with new ideas that will pave the way for future concrete projects."

Elijah Floyd, a senior in the CIM program notes, "I'm happy to have contributed to research which will benefit the development of standards that affect the concrete industry as I hope to work in concrete management in the near future."

The CIM Program

Recognizing the need for people with enhanced technical, communication, and management skills, the CIM program was developed in 1996. The individuals graduating from this program will have the skill set necessary to meet the growing demands of the progressively changing concrete industry of the 21st century. It is a business intensive program, providing solid management skills that can be used in any industry, but has been developed specifically for the concrete industry. The program gives students many advantages including entering the concrete work force with exposure to the industry early in their careers, unlike others coming in with generic business degrees.

The goal of the program is to produce broadly educated, articulate graduates grounded in basic business management, who are knowledgeable of concrete technology and techniques and are able to manage people and systems as well as promote products or services related to the concrete industry. It entails a broad range of courses, from English and history to science and mathematics. A series of required business courses such as finance, marketing, management and business law are also taken throughout the length of the program. The concrete-specific courses teach the fundamentals of concrete, properties and testing, concrete construction and more. All of these courses provide much more than what is simply in the text; they emphasize problem solving, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction. They utilize practical case studies and an internship to make sure the student obtains real-world experience essential to starting a successful career. Additional opportunities for growth include on-campus socials and other organized events providing industry networking and professional development.

CIM Auction

In its fourth year, the CIM Auction will be held during World of Concrete 2009. All proceeds go to helping this program grow and continue to educate the industry's leaders of tomorrow. To learn more about the auction, as well as how you can participate, click here.

To learn more about the program, visit