Association News

Call for Nominations: 2015 Gleason Awards

John P. 'Jay' Gleason

The John P. Gleason, Jr., Leadership Awards recognize PCA members who have exhibited industry leadership by advancing key Association programs and initiatives. 

The awards honor John P. “Jay” Gleason, Jr., who served as PCA president from 1986 until his retirement in 2007. Gleason was known for his consensus building among both members and allies and for his strong leadership skills. During his tenure, PCA membership rose from 57 percent to 98 percent of the U.S. cement industry.

Awards are presented in three categories:

Business Continuity: The nominee positively impacts issues and factors affecting PCA member companies' ability to continue viable operations. These include regulatory advocacy, federal advocacy, research, standards, safety and health, and other initiatives related to manufacturing and operations. 

Market Development: The nominee is actively involved with factors that influence increasing the size of the market for cement and cement-based products. These include national and regional marketing and promotion, imaging and branding, federal and local advocacy, codes and standards, and MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub.

Young Leaders: Recognizes up-and-coming member company employees who will lead the cement industry into the future – individuals that demonstrate high potential for success in leadership roles and exhibit a strong commitment to PCA and the cement industry. 

More information, including the nomination form and eligibility, is available on PCA’s website.

Nominations are due by Tuesday, July 21. Winners will be announced at PCA’s Fall Meeting, August 31, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois.

Contact Jan Farnsworth

Washington

Emission, Infrastructure Addressed in DC

House Lawmakers Move to Prevent Electricity Price Hikes, Protect Jobs - On June 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 2042). Sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), the bill prevents EPA’s greenhouse gas rules on existing power plants from taking effect until courts have ruled on their legal merit. Cement makers joined industry allies in the Partnership for a Better Energy Future – a coalition led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers –  to conduct meetings and send a joint letter to all House lawmakers urging a “yes” vote on H.R. 2042. Contact Bryan Brendle

EPW Committee Passes DRIVE Act, Includes PCA Priority – The Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee this week passed the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act (S. 1647), a six-year surface transportation authorization. The measure authorizes approximately $275 billion for highways between fiscal years 2016 and 2021. Contact Collin Long

House Panel Reviews EPA’s Proposed Ozone Standards - Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on June 16 reviewed aspects of EPA’s proposed revision to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. PCA submitted a letter commending Committee members for focusing on economic challenges associated with revising the rule. The PCA letter highlights key findings from an economic study showing that the new regulation could ultimately lead to the loss of up to 35 percent of the nation’s cement production capacity. The study also concludes that the rule’s impacts on cement prices alone would result in the loss of $700 million, and 45,000 jobs, in the broader construction industry. Contact Bryan Brendle

Member News

CEMEX Assists Students with Concrete Design Project

Syracuse University School of Architecture students and CEMEX recently collaborated on construction of a decorative concrete column using a lightweight concrete.

The “tower of tiles” project was initiated after two Syracuse assistant professors, Julie Larsen and Roger Hubeli, and a group of students visited the CEMEX Research Group Global Center for Technology and Innovation in Switzerland. They kept in touch with the researchers and proposed to do a modern interpretation of an ancient technique for building columns known as fluting for a decorative tower in the architecture building lobby. The project required a lightweight, high-strength, and ductile material that was able to capture the intricate, digitally-fabricated patterns and requirements for the construction process. CEMEX and the students engineered the material on site.

The students learned the importance of bridging the gap between design and materiality – understanding how to select materials that can fulfill the design. Plus, they gained an appreciation of concrete’s flexibility, beauty, and strength.

Click here for a video

Market Intelligence

Falling Oil Prices May Help Concrete’s Competitive Position

PPI Graph for 6-29-15@72dpi

Energy prices – and by extension energy production – have a significant impact on concrete’s position relative to its primary building material competitors. Since January 2015, the price of asphalt started to decline in response to oil price weakness. Asphalt producer price indexes (PPIs) have declined 4.6 percent year-to-date but show signs of moderation in recent months. In both April and May, the price of oil has risen and May’s asphalt PPI ticked up, at least momentarily pausing the trend seen through the first four months of the year.

Looking ahead, the Energy Information Agency projects oil prices to be relatively flat for the remainder of the year before climbing again next year. If asphalt’s price declines have been halted near 4 percent off of peak at current oil prices, the outlook for concrete’s relative price position could be favorable.

The impact on the steel industry is mixed, but thus far appears to have had a dampening effect on price. The energy sector consumes roughly 10 percent of total steel in the United States. The steel PPI has a strong correlation with the number of average active rotary rigs in the U.S. Since December, the rig count has halved while steel prices fell about 20 percent during the same period. Steel intensive sectors such as automotive and construction may provide some upward price pressure going forward, helping to ease the recent slide.

Contact Joe Chiappe

Manufacturing

PCA Hosts Inaugural Particulate Matter Compliance Workshop

Fifty-six cement industry professionals discovered strategies necessary to achieve compliance with the new National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) particulate matter emission limits at PCA workshops last week in Skokie, Illinois.

PCA created the workshop after an overwhelming number of IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference attendees indicated an interest to learn more following a particulate matter presentation.

“PCA workshop participants from maintenance, automation, environmental, and other functional areas found the program an important step in preparing their plants and personnel for the new compliance challenges that come online this September,” said Rick Bohan, PCA director, manufacturing technology.

Workshop topics included regulatory requirements, basic operation and troubleshooting of dust collection systems, dust collector controls and monitoring parameters, effective performance testing and compliance monitoring. Both particulate matter continuous parametric monitoring systems (PM CPMS) and continuous emissions monitoring systems (PM CEMS) were addressed.

Three PCA Associate Member company representatives were among workshop instructors: Arron Heinerikson, Trinity Consultants regional director, Andy Winston, BWF Envirotec mineral markets industry manager, and Corinne Fields, CLARCOR Industrial Air manager of technical services. Robert Baxter, B3 Systems president, also participated.

Contact Rick Bohan

Regional News

Concrete Paving Boosts Critical Colorado Highway Corridor

Colorado’s critical U.S. 36 corridor between Denver and Boulder recently opened its first phase of reconstruction with a new concrete road, bridges, and express lanes.

U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter, U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper attended a ceremony in Bromfield, Colorado, to open an 11-mile stretch of new highway. “This project represents the future of transportation in Colorado,” Hickenlooper said. “U.S. 36 is a model of how a multimodal highway in a public-private partnership will help this state’s critical corridor meet its growth demands.”

The roadway was constructed by Ames Joint Venture and required nearly 60,000 tons of cement. ACPA member Castle Rock Construction Company was the paving contractor.

The project began in 2012 and includes an express lane in each direction on U.S. 36, in addition to the two general purpose lanes. The express lanes accommodate high occupancy vehicles, bus rapid transit, and tolled vehicles. The project also replaced several bridges, built a commuter bikeway, added bus rapid transit improvements, and installed Intelligent Transportation Systems for tolling, transit and traveler information, and incident management.

Phase Two of the project will connect the first phase to Boulder, and also uses concrete pavement.

Hear the governor’s remarks

Contact Don Clem

Codes & Standards

PCA Influences Resiliency Efforts in Georgia

PCA endeavors in Georgia are showing results as many local jurisdictions are adopting more stringent model codes in an effort to be more resilient.

In 2011, PCA staff made presentations on enhanced resiliency to the Georgia Engineering Alliance, key building code officials, and the Georgia Society of Fire Protection Engineers. The State of Georgia, in response to needs expressed by local jurisdictions and a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, initiated an effort to develop more stringent code provisions that could be adopted by local jurisdictions to achieve a heightened level of resiliency. PCA’s High Performance Building Requirements for Sustainability (HBPRS) was reviewed and served as a platform for the initial stages of this effort.

The new optional appendix in Georgia’s 2013 building code includes more stringent wind and flood criteria and criteria for storm shelters. Even with huge resistance from builders, developers, and other material interests, the appendix not only prevailed, but has subsequently been adopted by Kennesaw and St. Marys, Georgia.

Contact Steve Szoke

Education & Training

Register Today for the Professors’ Workshop

SLIDER-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

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