Toscas Named US Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 Member

toscas_hiThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced May 27 that Jim Toscas, PCA President and CEO, is one of five new members of its invitation-only Committee of 100.

Other new members are Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association; Chip Davis, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association; Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Toy Industry Association; and Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.

“The opportunity to share ideas, good practices, and perspectives in regard to governance, operations and overall value delivery, as well as partake of the excellent information and educational content of this program, is of tremendous value to me,” Toscas said.

Toscas took the head job at PCA in December 2014.


PCA Hosts Successful DC Fly-In

Foxx at Fly-in

PCA thanks all participants for a very successful Fly-In, May 24-25, in Washington, D.C. The event marked the first time PCA hosted a Fly-In solo and an opportunity to celebrate the association’s 100th Anniversary.

United States Department of Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, addressed the group on FAST Act implementation, the highway trust fund, and the future of FAA, and in so doing marked the first time that a Cabinet level official addressed PCA membership. 

EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Janet McCabe, also spoke at the Fly-In, highlighting the industry’s energy conservation achievements, including the EPA’s Energy Star Awards for the manufacturing sectors, climate regulations, methane standards and fuel economy standards for heavy trucks. 

Fly-In participants met with 50 Congressional offices, received in-person addresses from Congressmen Dent, Denham, and Shimkus, and hosted a reception with Senators Toomey and Johnson. In congressional meetings, participants focused on policy areas including: support for long-term FAA reauthorization; legislation to protect the beneficial use of coal ash; support for water infrastructure and Water Resources Development Act (WRDA); support for legislation to block implementation of the “Waters of the United States” rule; and, support for legislation to extend the implementation deadlines for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ground Level Ozone. They also urged Members of Congress to join the Cement Caucus and welcomed Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) as caucus co-chair.

PCA awarded the first-ever Champions of Cement Awards to Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) for their long history of supporting the cement manufacturing industry.

PCA will host its second annual Washington, D.C. Fly-In, along with an in-person Government Affairs and Board meeting, in May 2017. Details will be provided in the coming months.

Contact Rachel Derby

Market Intelligence

Coastal Regions Expected to Lead Cement Consumption Growth in 2016

State Map (6-3-16) FramedPCA’s recently released Spring 2016 State Forecast expects the strongest rates of cement consumption growth to occur in the West and South with year-over-year growth of 4.2 percent. The Northeast (3.4%) is expected to grow roughly in line with national averages for 2016. The Midwest (2.3%), undermined by weak commodity prices, is projected to expand at a sub-national rate. 

On a Census Division basis, the South Atlantic (7.4%), East South Central (4.7%) and Mountain (4.5%) are expected to lead growth. Favorable demographics, robust labor markets, and strong housing growth in these regions continue to support increased construction activity. States with agrarian and energy exposure are still expected to continue to lag national averages. For this reason, as well as the matured state of recovery in the interior U.S., the West South Central (1.4%) is expected to grow at a tempered pace followed by the West North Central (0.4%). The East North Central (3.8%) is expected to grow at a slightly stronger pace than its Midwest peers, yet non-auto manufacturing weakness may weigh on region. Growth in New England (4.3%), Pacific (3.9%), and Middle Atlantics (3.1%) is expected to be in line to slightly above national averages.  

The state forecast report provides five-year outlooks on state demographics, economics, construction indicators/spending and cement consumption. 

Contact Dave Zwicke

Market Development

MIT CSHub Researchers Use Two-Phase Modeling to Evaluate Concrete Fracture

MIT CSHub researchers are working to understand pavement fracture at all levels, from the nano-scale up, so it is important to have a model that allows for the evaluation of cracks as they are forming in the concrete. This brief explains the development of a new two-phase representation, which incorporates the elastic material properties of the pavement and subgrade and offers a more realistic response and allows researchers to more accurately model eigenstresses (stresses produced without external loading). Read more

Contact Mark Justman


PCA Welcomes New Vice President of Communications 

Holly Arthur image framedPCA is pleased to welcome Holly Arthur as its new Vice President of Communications. Arthur is based out of the Washington, D.C office, and will help promote the industry's reputation and interests, including government affairs and market development. She comes to PCA from Milton Public Relations, where she was a strategic communications consultant for clients, including large and small trade associations and corporate clients. Before starting Milton Public Relations, she managed public and media affairs for a range of interests, including the Association of American Railroads, Ogilvy Public Relations and the City of Chicago. Arthur received her undergraduate degree in English from Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and her Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Limerick in Ireland. Her email is harthur@cement.org.


Researchers Unveil Light-Emitting Cement

Mexico’s University of San Nicolas Hidalgo (UMSNH) recently released reports of a new form of light-emitting cement. The material promises to provide up to 12 hours of illumination after nightfall in areas with strong sunlight during the day. The light-emitting cement, works in much the same way as other commonplace fluorescent materials – it absorbs solar energy during the day before emitting it at night once the sun has set. The glow-in-the-dark surface has the potential of decreasing the need for electrical lighting on roadways, bike paths, sidewalks, and interiors.

A similar glow-in-the-dark product for concrete, using a soy-based gel, was reported upon at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 2015 by researchers at Purdue University. In “Assessing the Performance of Glow in the Dark Concrete,” Professor Jason Weiss and his team found that the luminescent surface emitted light for approximately 24 hours in a dark space after it was excited by light.

Contact Paul Tennis

Market Development

PCA Participates in Hurricane Awareness Tour

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) teamed up with the non-profit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) to educate the public in post-hurricane rescue and response during the 2016 Hurricane Awareness Tour from May 16-21. The tour included stops in Galveston, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, Mobile, Alabama, and Naples, Florida. Among other activities, PCA participated in a press conference sponsored by hte National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) in Galveston. See The Weather Channel's interview with Donn Thompson, senior director, Market Development for PCA.

PCA has long advocated for resilient building to help communities bounce back from the devastating aftermath of a storm and supports FLASH’s #HurricaneStrong initiative.  

Contact Alpa Swinger


San Antonio and Industry Celebrate Concrete Street Centennial

San Antonio and concrete industry representatives celebrated the centennial of Belknap Place, the oldest existing concrete street in Texas, with the unveiling of a Texas State Historical Commission marker on May 21.

The 0.7 mile long by 40 ft. wide concrete section was built in 1914 and has functioned admirably, providing a durable, low-maintenance pavement for a progression of vehicles from horse and buggy to automobiles, trucks and busses. It employed a patented “Granitoid” system that featured a 2-course wet-on-wet concrete placement, with hard, durable coarse aggregate in a rich mortar mix for the surface course. Its stamped brick-like surface provided improved traction for horseshoes.

The festivities included an evening cocktail party at the nearby historic Baumberger Estate—a 1929 concrete home built by Alamo Cement’s longtime president and early PCA board member Charles Baumberger Sr. 

PCA President and CEO Jim Toscas attended the event. Alamo/Buzzi Cement, CEMEX, Texas Lehigh Cement, the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, and the Texas Concrete Pavement Association were represented as were the American Concrete Pavement Association and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. 


New North Carolina Guide Details Concrete Specifications for Local Roads

A new North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Guide released last week contains concrete specifications for local roads. The Specification for Concrete Pavement for Local Roads and Streets and accompanying notes contain improved guidance for both the design and construction of concrete pavement for on roads with traffic up to 500 trucks per day. The Carolina Ready Mix Concrete Association, the Carolinas Concrete Pavement Association (CCPA) and the Southeast Cement Promotion Association (SCPA) this week applauded the new guide.

"This is a big win for municipalities, developers, designers and any other private or public entity," said Eric Johnson, engineer for the CRMCA. “Using NCDOT guidelines, designers can now easily provide appropriate designs for streets and local roads. Appropriate designs result in appropriate initial bids and allow for appropriate life cycle cost analysis when comparing pavement system types."

Andy Johnson, pavement design engineer for SCPA, was instrumental in working along with CRMCA and the NCDOT in developing and adopting this substantial change for local road design development in North Carolina. Contact Roger Faulkner, executive director, SCPA, with any questions.