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PCA Board Approves 2014 Slate of Programs at Annual Meeting

Charlie CookMeeting in Dallas last week, PCA’s Board of Directors approved budgets, programs, and dues rates for 2014. 

Speakers focused on trends affecting PCA and the construction industry:

Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Report and leading political analyst, assessed the political landscape and the prospects of continued gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Larry McManus, Office of Texas Governor Rick Perry, highlighted programs and incentives that have kept the Texas economy healthy and growing while the rest of the country was mired in recession.

Michael Bienvenu, Florida International University, presented ground-breaking research on how pavement type affects fuel consumption.

Ed Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist, shared his outlook for cement, concrete, and construction in general.

Among principle board actions:

> Re-elected Cary Cohrs (American Cement) and John Stull (Lafarge North America) to one-year terms as chair and vice-chair, respectively.
> Approved extending the current dues rate of 16.5 cents per short ton in 2014.
> Ratified funding for the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub for five years.
> Elected one new director to the Board, Maik Strecker (Lafarge North America).

The Board of the CTLGroup also met in Dallas and welcomed Brent Nixon, new president and CEO.

The next PCA Board meeting is scheduled for April 28-30, 2014, in conjunction with the Day on the Hill in Washington, D.C.
Contact Jan Farnsworth

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U.S. Cement Consumption to Reach Nearly 80 Metric Million Tons in 2013

Ed SullivanGrowth in U.S. construction markets could be dampened by Congressional drama that erodes consumer confidence and hinders recovery, according to the latest PCA forecast, presented last week at the PCA Fall Board Meeting.

“American consumers love drama. Moreover, Congress knows how to create it, with more on the way when the debt ceiling talks resume in early in 2014,” said Edward Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist. “Each time the political circus on Capitol Hill addresses extensions of the debt limit, budget approvals or the fiscal cliff, it harms the burgeoning economic momentum.”

PCA expects 2013 cement consumption to reach nearly 80 million metric tons, a 4.5 percent increase over 2012. Consumption levels will reach 86 million metric tons in 2014, an 8.1 percent year-over-year gain.

Consumer and business confidence is a key ingredient for stronger economic gains, says Sullivan. Recessions generate pent-up demand to correct their imbalances. Large imbalances need a long correction process. While the economy is positioned for stronger growth, it needs a trigger to unleash this potential. The trigger lies with consumer and businesses’ willingness to spend and reinvest in capital. Congress can easily derail recovery momentum with political drama created by the federal shutdown and debt ceilings.

By 2018, the end of the forecast horizon, portland cement consumption is expected to reach nearly 119 million metric tons—roughly three percent below the past cyclical peak in 2005. This implies a 14-year recovery.

Contact Ed Sullivan

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CalPortland Rillito Cement Plant Earns ENERGY STAR® Certification

The CalPortland Rillito Cement Plant has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® certification, which signifies that the industrial facility performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.

"CalPortland is pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said David Bittel, plant manager. "Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”

Earning ENERGY STAR certification highlights Rillito Cement Plant’s status within the top 25 percent of cement plants in the nation with regard to energy performance. CalPortland improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire organization and by making cost-effective improvements to its plants.

The ENERGY STAR program is a joint initiative by the EPA and Department of Energy that focuses on strategic energy management and emphasizes the importance of demonstrating environmental leadership for future generations.

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Florida Research Validates MIT Findings on Fuel Savings

Michael BinvenuSpeaking at PCA’s Fall Board Meeting in Dallas last week, Dr. Michael Bienvenu presented the results of tests comparing the fuel consumption of concrete and asphalt pavements.

Dr. Bienvenu, an engineering professor at Florida International University, conducted the research along 28 miles of Interstate 95 in Brevard County. The tests were conducted on equivalent sections of concrete and asphalt pavements.

He found that passenger vehicles on rigid (concrete) pavements used 3.2 percent less fuel compared to flexible (asphalt) pavements. In addition, the study shows that for loaded tractor-trailers along the same corridor, rigid pavement provided 4.5 percent better fuel economy than the flexible pavement.

 These findings are consistent with research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Concrete Sustainability Hub. The Florida research provides real-world confirmation of MIT’s modeling work.

The potential for economic and environmental benefits are enormous.  The study concludes that if all roads within the Florida State Highway System were rigid concrete construction the annual savings in fuel consumption could be 500 million gallons, the annual savings to the public could be more than $2.0 billion, and CO2 emissions would be reduced by over 5 million tons.
View or download a white paper on the study

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December 2013 PCA Paving Advocacy Webinar Planned

The Paving Committee holds monthly paving advocacy conference calls to share best practices and avenues to successful advocacy and promotional efforts. The calls are also be a forum to discuss existing and new integrated paving solution (IPS) tools and materials developed to support key messages. Scheduled for the third Friday of each month, the next call is December 13 at 10 am Central.

December's call will include the new “CEO Perspective,” feature where a concrete industry CEO provides comments on the paths and goals of the industry paving advocacy effort, followed by candid Q&A. This month will feature Titan America CEO Aris Papadopoulos.

Additional presentations will include a discussion on the outcomes of a recent Transportation Infrastructure Sustainability Summit, and a summary of the research on concrete pavement’s contribution to improved fuel savings by the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, and how it can benefit municipalities and their taxpayers.

The calls are ideal for members of PCA committees, regional promotion committees, ACPA chapters, and ready-mixed concrete state affiliates.
Register for the call here
Contact Alpa Swinger

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Buzzi Earns Wildlife Habitat Council Certifications

Buzzi Unicem USA announced last week that the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) has awarded it two certifications under their wildlife improvement programs.  The plant in Cape Girardeau, Mo., earned WHC’s Wildlife at Work certification, recognizing programs that create, conserve, and restore wildlife habitats on corporate lands for the  plant’s efforts in assisting the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in restoring the population of alligator gar fish in eastern Missouri.

Buzzi’s plant in Stockertown, Pa., received WHC’s Corporate Lands for Learning certification, recognizing programs that promote innovative teaching and learning techniques and provide opportunities for community members to get involved in conservation efforts. The certification was given for its creation of an open-air laboratory designed to enhance the education of local high school students.

The Cape Girardeau plant partnered with the MDC to restore a lost piece of Missouri natural history through reestablishment of the alligator gar species and creation of a self-sustaining gar population. The focus of the reestablishment efforts is Marquette North Lake, a reclaimed, 150-acre, former clay pit at the plant that was being used only for recreational fishing by employees. Through the research and management efforts, the otherwise dormant clay pit was transformed into a thriving habitat for the gar and many other species of fish and birds.

The Stockertown plant took a nearly three-mile, virtually dormant stretch of land along the Bushkill Creek that had been impacted by local industry for nearly a century, and transformed it into an area flourishing with new native flora and fauna for use as an open air laboratory by local students.  Plant employees teach students about the relationships and interactions between a heavy manufacturing facility and the surrounding environment, and the open air laboratory allows students to relate classroom learning to external applications through planned experiments.

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CTLGroup Welcomes Timothy Martin as Principal Engineer

Timothy MartinTimothy Martin, P.E., has joined CTLGroup as a principal engineer in the firm’s materials consulting practice. Martin is a recognized pavement expert specializing in the analysis and problem solving of pavement performance and will be based in CTLGroup’s Austin, Texas, office.

With 20 years of experience in pavement design and evaluation, Martin has focused on the analysis and development of pavement design guidelines incorporating the latest techniques using concrete, asphalt, and roadway materials. He has led forensic investigations and served as an expert witness for pavement failures. Martin is experienced in many pavement evaluation specifications and is accredited in the Federal Highway Administration’s Pavement Distress Identification System.

During the past 18 years, he has been responsible for the project management, business development, and resourcing of the pavement design practice of a national geotechnical engineering consulting firm in Austin. He managed a national and international portfolio of pavement projects involving design, evaluation, and implementation of asset and pavement management systems for federal, state and local government agencies. His project experience includes airports, military airfields, ports, intermodal facilities and highways.

He earned a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station, and is a licensed professional engineer in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New York. He has been involved in numerous professional organizations including the American Public Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, and is a former member of the Transportation Research Board’s Pavement Management (AFD10) committee.

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NIST Joplin Report Open for Comment

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its draft final report about the May 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. 

NIST sent four engineers to Joplin from May 25-28, to conduct a preliminary reconnaissance of building performance and emergency communications during the tornado. The Joplin tornado investigation was conducted through NIST’s Disaster and Failure Studies Program. 

The objectives of the technical study were to:

> determine the characteristics of the wind hazard from the tornado
> determine the pattern, location and cause of injuries and fatalities, and how these numbers were affected by emergency communications and the public response to those communications
> determine the performance of residential, commercial and critical (police stations, firehouses, hospitals, etc.) buildings
> determine the performance of lifelines (natural gas, electrical distribution, water, communications, etc.) as they relate to maintaining building operation
> make recommendations, if warranted, for improvements to building codes, standards and practices based on the findings of the study.

The public comment period will be open until January 6, 2014.  NIST will consider all comments received on the draft report before it is issued in final form.
View the report at
Contact Steve Kosmatka

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Meetings and Events

ASTM Committee Week
December 8-13, 2013
Jacksonville, Florida
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PCA Paving Advocacy Webinar
December 13, 2013
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TRB Annual Meeting
January 12-16, 2014
Washington, DC
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World of Concrete
January 20-24, 2014
Las Vegas, Nevada
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PCA Spring Committee Meeting
March 17-19, 2014
Rosemont, Illinois
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IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference
April 13-17, 2014
Washington, DC
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2014 ICMA Conference
April 14-17, 2014
Milan, Italy
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PCA Spring Board Meeting
April 27-29, 2014
Washington, DC
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Chemistry of Cement and Concrete
April 28-May 2, 2014
Toronto, Ontario
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PCA Fall Committee Meeting
August 24-26, 2014
Chicago, Illinois
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PCA Fall Board Meeting
November 16-18, 2014
Scottsdale, Arizona
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