World of Concrete

Seminars and Safe Rooms Star at 2015 World of Concrete

DSC_0154Demonstrations of concrete safe rooms, a press conference, and seminars showcased PCA’s technical and promotional resources to those attending last week’s World of Concrete and conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Anchored by the tagline, “Think Harder. Concrete,” the booth promoted concrete’s core benefits of durability, economy, and sustainability, as well as PCA leadership and expertise. PCA publications available in the Hanley-Wood show bookstore were featured.

PCA sponsored the Tornado Safe Room Showcase, a three-day outdoor exhibit. Working with FEMA, PCA took the opportunity to offer contractors information on how to differentiate their business by offering FEMA-compliant concrete safe rooms. The event showed five mockups of full-sized safe rooms including precast, ICF, masonry, and conventional concrete.

At a PCA press conference, Jim Toscas, PCA president/CEO,  highlighted the directions PCA will be taking in the next several years while chief economist Ed Sullivan presented his concrete and construction forecast, highlighting the changes in the construction landscape that will occur due to falling oil prices. In attendance were more than 50 media representatives, including those from Roads and Bridges, Engineering News-Record, and Concrete Products. Sullivan was also interviewed by Las Vegas Fox affiliate, KVVU-TV.

The Concrete Homes Luncheon and Forum, was themed "Expand Your Business with Safe Room Construction” and addressed the potential size of the resilient construction market area and corresponding potential for growth in residential safe rooms. All attendees received a free copy and detailed description of the newly revised FEMA P-320,Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business. Moderated by Donn Thompson, PCA director, market promotion, the event was capped off by a panel presentation/discussion on four building systems for safe room construction—concrete masonry, cast-in-place/removable forms, insulating concrete forms, and precast.

In addition, Michelle Wilson, PCA director of concrete knowledge, presented the seminar “Troubleshooting During and After Concrete Placement,” addressing issues that typically arise during and after concrete placement

Contact Patti Flesher or Alpa Swinger

Market Intelligence

Oil Prices Could Lead to Strong Near-Term Economic Growth

In addition to impacting the consumer, falling prices at the pump will influence U.S. construction in 2015.

During remarks at the 2015 World of Concrete, PCA Chief Economist and Group Vice President Edward J. Sullivan announced that low oil prices are beneficial to United States economic growth and are expected to add 20 to 30 basis points to real GDP growth rates during 2015-2016.

However, this good news for the nation’s economy does not necessarily travel with the same speed to the construction industry. “Unfortunately, the transmission process from oil price declines to construction activity contains timing lags,” said Sullivan. “The time it takes for oil prices to impact consumer/business behavior is short, but impacting the decisions to build is a longer process.”

As a result, Sullivan notes that there is little potential for positive impacts for construction activity resulting from lower oil prices that would materialize in 2015, or even during the first half of 2016. Despite this, job growth and a growing economy will have an overall positive impact on cement consumption this year.  PCA expects only small increases in cement consumption arising from low oil prices in 2015 and beyond.

Contact Ed Sullivan

PCA Education Foundation

Callout:  2015 PCA Foundation Fellowship

The PCA Education Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2015 fellowship research awards. The foundation funds a wide variety of educational activities that will increase public knowledge regarding appropriate uses of cement and concrete.

The fellowships are open to any United States student completing studies toward a masters or doctoral degree from an institution of higher education within the U.S. that is accredited by a regional or national agency. The applicant must pursue graduate study in an engineering, science, material science, or architectural program.

Each fellowship includes a $35,000 stipend paid to the university to cover tuition, residence, research materials, equipment, study materials, related educational expenses, and does not include payment for institutional overhead.

A university professor and the candidate student must jointly submit applications.

The application deadline is February 15. For more information and proposal format instructions visit

Contact Steve Kosmatka


University Professors’ Masonry Workshop Registration Open

Continuing a strong tradition in place since 1988, The Masonry Society is hosting its 2015 University Professors' Workshop (UPMW) March 8-15 at Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania. The workshop provides professors with the resources and background needed to effectively teach masonry design and construction classes at the university level.

Seminars in two separate tracks, focusing on architecture and engineering, are conducted by leading masonry experts and professors. Attendees also can attend several joint general sessions addressing masonry materials, design, and construction will be presented.

A hands-on bricklaying demonstration and a tour of Penn State University's Building Envelope Laboratory are also planned.

For complete information visit


Denver International Airport Project Recognized

Denver International Airport's Peña Boulevard Paving Project received the 2015 Triad Award from Hanley Wood's Commercial Construction Group during 2015 World of Concrete. The award highlights projects employing portland limestone cement (PLC) as a key element of success, particularly in infrastructure construction. 

The Peña Boulevard PLC Paving Project replaced the main roadway to Denver International Airport which had severe alkali-silica reactivity damage with an 11-inch dowelled concrete. The airport's heave use of magnesium chloride deicer required effective drainage features to minimize chemical concentration in specific areas. Roadway improvements included adding a trench drain along the entirety and a 12-foot shoulder with curb and rail for safety.

To read more about the projects at

CP Tech Center News

Spring 2015 NCC Participants Agenda Announced

The Spring 2015 National Concrete Consortium is being held April 21-23 in Reno, Nevada. 

The meeting will feature reports from several state departments of transportation officials on curing, supplementary cement materials (SCMs), and other topics. In addition, a technical tour of the Nevada Cement Company plant in Fernley is planned. The last day of the meeting will include NCC's business meeting that features a report from Jeremy Gregory, executive director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

View the agenda and register at the National Concrete Paving Technology Center website.

Contact Steve Kosmatka


PCA Sponsored FLASH Scholarship Available

A scholarship for students performing research on concrete systems to improve home resilience, and studying the impact of housing stock loss post disaster and the financial/social life cycle cost analysis of concrete home construction, is now available through the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).

PCA is sponsoring the $1,500 scholarship, available for master's and doctoral candidates seeking academic degrees that focus on disaster safety and mitigation, including construction, engineering, financial services, meteorology, risk communication, and social sciences.

The program, now in its fourth year, is open to U.S.- based candidates for the 2015/2016 academic year. 

The application process closes April 15, 2015. Scholarship awardees will be notified in May 2015 regarding their selection as recipients and winners will be recognized at the FLASH Annual Conference, January 27-29, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, where they will be required to present their research findings as posters.


For more details, visit