Guest Blog By Jim Voss
When the PCI Foundation was first conceived in 2001, the trustees had to ask, who will fund our efforts. Unfortunately, very few entities in the precast industry stepped forward to say “I will!” Several major donors made five-year commitments to really get our programs started and ended up launching some of the most innovative instructional education projects not only for precast, but for the design world.
With the recession came a dip in funding our work. Now that the economy is picking up, we have seen several of those initial investors returning to help us continue our work. Although our missions closely align and we work closely together, PCI Foundation is a separate organization from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute. That means our funding comes ONLY from donors - and NOT from any membership dues paid to PCI.
During 2014, the PCI Foundation received a total of 125 donations from 84 sources. These donations, totaled almost $350,000 and came from 33 individuals, 18 producer members, 20 associate members, 6 regions, and 7 other affiliated companies such as engineering firms or erectors. Because our funding comes solely from donations (Again…it is not part of your PCI membership dues) we are not reaching the broader percentage of our membership to maintain the strength of participation that is needed. WE CAN DO MUCH BETTER THAN. THIS! The work we have been able to accomplish so far has been remarkable…and IS making a difference. If you visit with one of the studios and meet students, you begin to recognize what is possible if the industry can pull together and fund more programs at more schools. Quite simply, these studios turn out many more NEW advocates for precast concrete which will come back to us in future business. Learn more about the high quality programs we are funding by visiting the website at pci-foundation.org. There, you will meet some of the students and professors who will make our future remarkable.
Some of the programs you might learn about include:
• At Clemson University, engineering and architecture students in a multi-semester seminar are designing a unique precast installation in conjunction with the master planning office on campus.
• At New Jersey Institute of Technology, students are bringing precast solutions to mayors conferences studying hurricane resistant building.
• At University of Southern California students are working with the National Park Service to create appropriate structures at Joshua Tree National Park
• At University of Texas at Arlington students are working on creating precast sound wall technology that is both absorptive and reflective.
ALL of these young people will be in the workforce in a very short time. They are our “soldiers of precast” in the very near future. When you meet them, you will better understand the enthusiasm they have for precast and, hopefully, want to be part of what makes it happen. We hope for your support.