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Because of You - Guest Blog by Bill Simmons

We have the power to change our future.

Will that future continue on our path of keeping precast plants operating for only 2-3% of the entire construction market, or will precast/pre- stressed concrete become a product that makes designers sit up and take notice, unleashes architects’ creativity, is the system architects choose first, and expands building possibilities beyond what we are today?

That future rests in the hands of all of us in the industry today.

Together, we can change the perspective and ultimately the use of precast/prestressed prod- ucts in the construction environment. We can help shape the way our products are viewed and specified. Together with the PCI Foundation, we have the ability to educate today’s students and tomorrow’s design community to the benefits of precast/prestressed construction.

In 2007, the PCI Foundation began a major capital campaign to raise five million dollars to support its efforts to increase the acceptance levels of precast/prestressed concrete. The PCI Foundation Trustees had only a vision of what the future could be. To achieve that vision, our first goal was to begin to educate architectural students as to all of our industry’s benefits.

Nine universities, 14 professors (both architec- ture and engineering), 26 semesters and more than 400 students later we can say that this effort has changed the thinking, not only at the education level, but in the work place. However we have only touched a small number with our efforts to date. We need to increase this effort tenfold. The demand is there. We only need the funds to support this effort.

This is our opportunity!

With the support of many companies and individu- als, the initial campaign was able to secure over three million dollars in contributions and pledges. But with the economic recession, not all of that has been realized. With an improved construction outlook and demand for our programs increasing, it is now time for those who have pledged to fulfill that obligation, and for those who were hesitant, to make a commitment to step up and support the PCI Foundation’s efforts.

Many of us will still say why? What are the statistics that would verify increased levels of business opportunities? What is the return on investment PCI Marketing Metrics Committee Chairman Ken Kruse of BASF points out that at this stage of the PCI Foundation an ROI is difficult to calculate. The Foundation is a long term investment that hopes to create a pipeline of young, talented students who will enter the construction industry with a much stronger sense of the benefits of designing with precast/prestress. As of now, that number is 400 . . . and counting!

Your investment demonstrates precast industry support, enhances our professional image, creates a forum to engage young talented students who will be entering the workplace with a better understanding of precast. Students who one day will be in a position to make deci- sions on products, technologies and building systems.

So I ask that when someone from the Foundation calls about your present pledge or future commitment, give them time to answer your questions and learn how we can improve our industry.

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