Association News

There Is a PCA App for That


PCA will be using a mobile application for its 2015 Spring Meeting, April 6-8, at the Marriott Chicago O’Hare. The app will provide up-to-the-minute information such as the latest agenda, speaker information, maps, an attendee list, and more.

PCA's app is password protected. Once you have accessed the app, attendees will be prompted to establish a password, using the e-mail that was used to register for the conference.

To download the PCA Meetings mobile app:

> iPhone and iPad users - search “PCA Meetings” on the Apple App Store.
> Android users - search “PCA Meetings” on the Google Play Store.
> Blackberry, Windows, others - go to this address on your computer or smart phone:

All meeting rooms at the hotel will have WiFi available.

Contact Kathryn DiProva

Regional News

PCA Advocates for Stronger Codes at Greenprints Conference 

Attendees of Southface’s annual Greenprints conference learned how stronger building codes could lead to more sustainable communities. PCA participated with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) and Clemson University to demonstrate the need for more robust construction standards, the link between resilience and sustainability, and the inherent complexity of garnering local policy support for stronger codes.

Donn Thompson, PCA director of market development, began the Sustainability 2.0 presentation with information on the social, environmental, and economic impacts greater resilience can have on the well-being of a city. He used the recent high number of large multi-family wood frame fires to demonstrate how current codes lack adequate property protection. Dr. Leidy Klotz, Clemson engineering professor, described research showing the environmental consequences of disasters. Tim Smail, FLASH senior vice president for engineering and technical programs, led an interactive exercise allowing the audience to debate a fictional legislation aimed at enhancing a city’s building codes. The measure successfully passed 2-1.  

Held March 11-12, in Atlanta, Georgia, the Greenprints conference brought together 200 thought leaders including federal, state, and local government agency representatives, academics, builders, designers, architects, and energy consultants.

Contact Donn Thompson

Regional News

City of Northfield Accepts Award, Plans Next Concrete Project

At the March City Council meeting in Northfield, Minnesota, Mayor Dana Graham and City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller accepted the Minnesota Concrete Council 2014 Award of Excellence in the pavement category for its Riverview Drive project. April Stier, PCA North Central Region pavement engineer, Kyle Becken, Cemstone Products Company south region manager, and representatives of engineering consulting firm Short Elliott Hendricksen Inc. (SEH) attended the presentation.  
MN Award w April Stier

Mayor Dana Graham and City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller accept Award of Excellence for Riverview Drive project.  April Stier, PCA, is at right.

Stier and Becken played an integral role in converting the Riverview Drive project from an original asphalt design. Working with SEH and the city’s engineering and public works department, Stier and Becken provided design recommendations and a life-cycle cost analysis. Durability, low maintenance costs, and lighting reflectivity were also highlighted. Added safety from brighter concrete pavement was of particular interest as Riverview Drive serves the Northfield Hospital and a newly constructed police station. 

Cemstone’s provision of maturity testing was another factor in the project’s success. Maturity curves were developed for the paving mix and companion cylinders cast. Cylinder break strengths were in alignment with maturity calculations.

City staff and SEH consultants were very pleased with the early opening of the newly paved roadway. Northfield is committed to concrete for the upcoming Woodley Street/County Highway 28 project.

Contact Doug Burns


Communicate Your Transportation Concerns to Congress

BANNER-SLIDER-HILL2015Spring signals the return of cement company employees and other industry members back to Washington, DC, for the annual Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) legislative fly-in and Cement and Concrete Day on the Hill. Scheduled for April 14-15, the TCC Fly-In will address the reauthorization of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP21) that is set to expire at the end of May.

MAP21 provided more than $105 billion for surface transportation funds for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. It transformed the framework for investments to guide infrastructure growth and development.

The TCC Fly-In and Cement and Concrete Day on the Hill allows participants to personally meet with congressional delegates to discuss the importance of robust, continued investment in transportation infrastructure to the nation's economy, investment that creates jobs while building the future.

On April 15, after Congressional visits, PCA will be hosting an evening reception with Members of Congress, staff, and industry partners.

Learn more about the TCC Fly-In and Cement and Concrete Day on the Hill

Contact Collin Long

Market Intelligence

Economic Forecast Maintains Growth Expectations

State Ranking 3-30-15The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised 4th quarter 2014 economic growth downward to 2.2 percent from the previously reported rate of 2.6 percent. Despite this revision, overall growth is expected to exceed 3 percent in 2015. Strong job growth, pristine corporate balance sheets, low debt burdens, and easing of lending standards reinforce a healthy rate of growth.

PCA expects net job creation to maintain pace in 2015 following 3.1 million jobs created in 2014. Improved job growth will benefit commercial construction and will eventually assist the public construction sector; however in the short-term, tight fiscal conditions have constrained public growth. In 2015 public construction spending will once again be a growth contributor, after five years of decline.   

Another positive indicator is that large state fiscal deficits of the Great Recession have receded and many states continue steady, albeit slow fiscal healing. The National Association of State Budget Officers reports that 43 state budgets will contain increases in FY2015. Additionally, overall FY2015 state spending remains above pre-recession highs for the third consecutive year. However, public spending levels are now only approaching past peaks in many states on an inflation-adjusted basis. The magnitude of past public spending cuts, combined with apprehensive budget officials has kept a lid on public construction spending despite rising tax revenues. Given the steady healing, PCA believes public construction spending will slowly improve in 2015 and start to reflect the improving state fiscal climate.

Contact Dave Zwicke

CP Tech Center

Study Reveals New Concrete Mixture Proportioning Method

A new report, published this month by the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (NCPTC), may lead to a profound change in the way concrete mixtures are proportioned in the future.

The study, An Innovative Approach to Proportioning Concrete Mixtures – Technical Report March 2015, analyzes the relationships between the selected mix characteristics and their corresponding effects on tested properties. The proposed method provides step-by-step instructions to guide the selection of required aggregate and paste systems based on the performance requirements for concrete pavements or other applications.

As budgets grow tighter and increasing attention is being paid to making mixtures that are more efficient in their usage of materials without compromising performance, a performance-based mixture proportioning method is needed to provide the desired concrete for a given specification, according to the report.

Further, the proposed method is user friendly, easy to apply in practice, and flexible in terms of allowing a wide range of material selection. A spreadsheet aids in conducting the steps.

View the report

Contact Steve Kosmatka


Papadopoulos Publishes Book on Resiliency

Aris Papadopoulos, former Titan America chief executive officer and PCA Board of Directors chairman, recently spoke on “Resilience – The Ultimate Sustainability” at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan. Resilience and sustainability is also the subject of his new book.

The United States, with the world’s largest investment in the built environment, now faces the highest disaster losses among developed nations, he says. Papadopoulos cites three root causes in the failure to create disaster-resilient communities: regulatory issues, governance, and a lack of accountability. In addition, with its frequent tornados, floods, and hurricanes, the U.S. is a hazard-prone country.

He says code developers concentrate on large-scale construction projects to the detriment of residential buildings.

Papadopoulos concludes that disasters are actually man-made.

“Hazards don’t cause disasters,” he said. “Non-resilience causes disasters. We create non-resilience, therefore we cause disasters.”

Papadoupolis’ book is available for $10 through the non-profit Resilience Action Fund with proceeds benefitting the fund.

View the blog post and United Nation’s talk


PCA Presents at EEBA Zero Energy Homes Programs

PCA presented concrete wall and finish systems as a reliable, and builder-friendly alternative to meet increasingly stringent residential energy code requirements at a recent Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) educational program.

Donn Thompson, PCA director of market development, shared the advantages of concrete home building systems and finishes to attendees at the EEBA Net Zero Energy Homes educational program in Phoenix, Arizona on March 24. The all-day event focused on the detailing and complexity necessary to achieve high-performance residential construction.

EEBA offers building science education tools and services for residential and light commercial buildings throughout the United States. PCA will participate in its homebuilder educational programs offered throughout the year.

Four complimentary admissions are available for each of the remaining programs including: Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 31; San Antonio, Texas, April 15; Louisville, Kentucky, April 23; Charlotte, North Carolina, May 1; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 28, and Denver, Colorado, June 10.

Contact Alpa Swinger or Donn Thompson

Education and Training

Registration Now Open for the Professors' Workshop

APP-PROF15Concrete materials properties, engineering and economics of concrete structures, and design, construction, and performance of concrete pavements are the topics scheduled for the PCA Education Foundation Professors’ Workshop, July 20-24, 2015.

Held at the PCA office in Skokie, Illinois, the workshop provides faculty in engineering, architecture, and construction management the tools to teach the latest developments in concrete design, construction, and materials. Networking opportunities to exchange ideas with professors from many universities, demonstrations by software vendors, and more than $2,500 of free resource materials are also part of the week.

The workshop fee of $395 includes all handout materials, resource literature, shipping, lunches, receptions, and a dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Skokie.

See the PCA website for registration and the activities

Contact Michelle Wilson