Johnston Named PCA Government Affairs Vice President

PCA named A. Todd Johnston as vice president for government affairs, effective January 19, 2015. Based in the association's Washington office, he will represent PCA and its members with the federal government. 

Johnston comes to PCA with a strong record of experience and accomplishments in state government, industry, and in Congress. Most recently, he served as staff director for the Subcommittees on Environment and Energy under the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In that capacity, Johnston lead a talented team whose primary focus was on the technical, scientific and legal underpinnings of the Environmental Protection Agency’s major regulatory initiatives, including: proposed greenhouse gas standards for power plants; proposed revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone; and proposed changes to the scope of regulation falling under the Clean Water Act.  

From 2007 to 2013, Johnston worked on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), first as a senior advisor and staff director of its Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee under Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). After Senator Voinovich retired in 2010, Johnston became the full committee’s senior policy advisor under Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). Prior to joining EPW’s staff, Johnston was director of air quality for the National Mining Association and the environment manager for Kyanite Mining Corporation in Dillwyn, Virginia.
Contact Todd Johnston.

International Builders' Show

Concrete Safe Room Display Attracts Crowds at Builder Show

WOC-LOGO-2014PCA showcased tornado safe rooms at last week’s International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas. Centered around the theme “Home Safe Home,” PCA along with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), showed six mockups of full-size safe rooms, including four concrete systems. The concrete examples were built using precast, concrete masonry, insulating concrete forms, and removable forms. IBS attendees were shown how these rooms can be incorporated as part of any home’s design, such as a closet, bathroom, or mudroom, or could be freestanding, like a storage shed. PCA also used this as an opportunity to discuss the benefits of the safety and resilience of whole house concrete construction in high wind regions.

All systems are compliant with the newly revised FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business, intended to provide “near absolute protection” in winds up to 250 miles per hour. Builders were excited to receive a copy of the guidelines to fulfill growing customer requests for safe rooms.

PCA, FEMA, and FLASH hosted a press conference on the show’s first day, delivering PCA’s residential economic forecast for the United States and the growing need for residential and community tornado safe rooms. Coverage included a feature article about safe rooms in the Wall Street Journal, "Safe Rooms Get a New Look."

Official attendance for the 2015 IBS was more than 55,000 (attendees plus exhibitors), up 8 percent from last year's show.

PCA will display the four concrete safe rooms again next week at the World of Concrete Show, also in Las Vegas, from February 3-6.
Contact Donn Thompson.

Member News

Argos’ Good Practices in the Field of Sustainability Recognized 

For the second consecutive year, Argos received the Silver Class award in RobecoSAM’s Sustainability Yearbook. Inclusion is based on the company’s performance in terms of sustainability, as reported in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) survey. More than 3,000 companies from around the world were invited to participate in the sustainability assessment. In 2014, about 800 companies accepted the invitation to be classified, according to their results, into the Gold, Silver or Bronze categories. Argos is one of only three cement companies worldwide that is included in the DJSI. It improved its score from a year ago and was included in the World and Emerging Markets indices.

In the social dimension, the company obtained a top score in the industry, with topics such as transparency, risk and supply chain management standing out. In the environment dimension, its score was almost double that of the industry, with aspects such a biodiversity, international product standards and water-related risks being noteworthy. Finally, in the social dimension, the company progressed significantly in areas including labor aspects of human rights and relations with stakeholders, matters that are considered priorities in the company’s sustainability strategy.

Market Intelligence

Producer Prices for Steel, Lumber, Asphalt and Concrete Rise

PPI 012615December’s Producer Price Indices (PPIs) for steel, lumber, asphalt, and concrete all rose from year-ago levels, 0.4 percent, 1.7 percent, 2.6 percent, and 5.0 percent, respectively. Asphalt reached its highest mark yet, even as the price of oil dropped. Typically, there is a three to six month lag between oil price movement and asphalt price. Oil prices declined most dramatically in the fourth quarter of 2014, which may indicate asphalt price drops in early 2015.

Steel and lumber saw month-over-month declines, with 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent drops, while concrete and asphalt rose 0.9 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Slower than anticipated housing starts is likely the cause for the softening lumber PPI, as producers are increasingly able to meet demand. As a new year begins, the lumber PPI may be in store for a few spikes due to a sharp increase in projected housing starts.
Contact Joe Chiappe

Regional News

Full-Depth Reclamation with Cement Gives New Life to Old Natchez Trace in Tennessee

Natchez TractorA tight schedule, minimal impact on local traffic, and the scrutiny of an on-site archaeologist, were just a few of the challenges faced by contractors working on the Old Natchez Trace in Tennessee. With the use of full-depth reclamation cement, the roadway was successfully restored.

In 2013, Williamson County Highway Superintendent Eddie Hood designated Old Natchez Trace on his construction schedule for a rehabilitation project. In the fall of 2013, Hood and Collier Engineering contacted their local PCA‐SE representative to discuss the possibilities of utilizing full-depth reclamation (FDR) with cement.

The project was scheduled for late summer 2014; local PCA‐SE representatives assisted Collier Engineering in obtaining specifications and design guidelines for FDR with cement. The project design was for 49,820 square yards of 8 inches FDR utilizing 950 tons of portland cement, 2 inches of intermediate asphalt, and 1.5 inches of surface asphalt.

Construction began on Old Natchez Trace on October 20, 2014, and concluded on October 28, completing this project in only seven working days, minimally impacted local traffic, and met the unique challenge of performing construction in a historical site, which called for the process to be continually monitored by an archeologist.
See PCA-SE Spotlight for more.


PCA-NE Hires Marketing Assistant

Lizette Strait is the new PCA-NE Region Marketing Assistant, filling a spot vacated by Heather Steffek who was promoted to Road Recycling Specialist. Strait has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry working in business development, quality control, project management, and marketing manufacturing. She has also worked as a technical writer and trainer.

A few of the projects she has been a part of include the NYSTA Bridge over the Schoharie Creek, near Amsterdam, New York, ‘Big Dig’, Boston, Massachusetts, Sheridan Hollow Parking Garage, Albany, New York, and the Mohawk Tire Recycling Facility Remediation, Waterford, New York.

Strait is also a past president of ACI-NY Eastern Chapter and a member of many industry organizations.
Contact Lizette Strait.


CTLGroup Uncovers Secrets of Ancient Architecture

Antiquities employee at caveStone sealing of a cave near the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls was determined to be man-made by CTLGroup and may prove the existence of ancient hidden artifacts.

CTLGroup recently examined a sample of stone from a sealed cave in Israel where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956.  CTLGroup was retained to determine if the seal material from a cave near the ancient settlement of Quamran was a naturally occurring rock formation or man-made.

Sang-yun Lee, a cement microscopist with CTLGroup, found the sample to be consistent with man-made material rather than natural forming rock. This conclusion was based on the results of microscope examination using scanning electron microscope, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, and thin section study of the material used to decipher the elements.

The area was pointed to by one of the most intriguing of the Dead Sea scrolls, the Copper Scroll. The ancient map made of one-millimeter-thick, high-quality copper sheeting, believed to show 64 potential treasure-filled locations, most notably the Arc of the Covenant.

In 2009, an archeological team set out to excavate the possible fortunes named in the Copper Scroll. The team believes that the man-made seal could prove the existence of hidden ancient artifacts in the sealed caves. Local authorities prevented the team from digging but with the collection of evidence from several technical experts the team has convinced the authorities to allow the digging to continue.

CTLGroup’s report can be seen on the Copper Scroll Project’s website.
Contact Nate Welsh.


Education & Training

ACI 318-14: Reorganized for Design Building Code Seminar

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) will host one day seminars at 24 cities throughout the country to update Code users with the latest requirements published in ACI 318. Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete AI 318-14 represents the first major change in Code organization in more than 40 years and is completely reorganized from a designer’s perspective.

The seminar will acquaint attendees with the new organization and technical changes to the code and demonstrate how to insure that designs fully comply with the new code. Each seminar will be led by an ACI 318 committee member and an ACI staff engineer who will review the Codes outline and provisions in the major chapters. Structural engineers, specifiers, building officials, contractors, architects, and inspectors are encouraged to attend.

Included with this seminar is a complimentary copy of ACI 318-14 and a copy of the presentation. For seminar topics, locations and dates, faculty, fees and registration, see the ACI website.
Contact Lawrence Novak.

World of Concrete

PCA Offers World of Concrete Discount

WOC_DiscountAs a World of Concrete 2015 cosponsor, PCA offers discount admission to exhibits. By registering through PCA and using promo code A32, exhibit admission is only $20, a $40 savings.

Additionally, PCA receives a rebate from Hanley-Wood based on the number of pre-registered attendees who come to the show.

World of Concrete 2015 will be held in Las Vegas on February 2-6, 2015. The largest, most comprehensive commercial concrete and masonry event for the concrete industry features more than 1,500 exhibitors and more than 100 seminars and conference sessions.

For discounted registration, click here.