When the concept for the PCI Foundation was first envisioned, the Trustees hoped to solve a problem that plagued our industry. Few graduates from schools of architecture, engineering and construction management left school with more than a smattering of knowledge about the design and construction of precast concrete. For 10 years, we have built a program in partnership with 15 schools and even more local partners to help combat this issue. And at those schools, we have made great strides in educating students - not only in the studios where precast is taught, but we also have seen precast being added to the curriculum in other classes.
We are finding that once a student in our program leaves school, most maintain an interest in working with precast concrete. We recently heard from a student who worked with the professors at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Clarke Snell. "I continued the work that we did with PCI on the Solar Decathlon through a masters thesis on the thermal properties of geopolymer cement concrete and how a mix design strategy geared toward thermal performance variables might be applied in a complex pre-cast wall system involving several mixes incorporated in the same wythe,” Clark told us. "A portion of this research dealing with the thermal data and analysis of the components and mixes is just about to be published in the Journal of Architectural Engineering.” Snell is now the Industry Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology - passing on his interest and work with concrete to the students he is working with.
We have done so much … and still there is more we can do.
The PCI Foundation is entering a new phase of programming and development. When the PCI Foundation first started, the Foundation needed large donations from high volume contributors to get programs off the ground. Today, we need to find a way to make our programs sustainable and keep educating students at schools around the country. Without regular income, we run a risk of starting to turn down universities interested in creating new precast-specific programs. So beginning now, we are suggesting that each PCI member (precaster and associate) make a commitment to the PCI Foundation that is in line with the revenue earned from the precast industry. Please take a moment to review the suggested annual support guidelines. A regular donor stream will help us continue and expand the work of the PCI Foundation.