Like many of you, when I look at spending money on behalf of our company, one of the first items I evaluate is the return on investment (ROI). In some cases, it is a simple formula looking at how many pieces we need to fabricate to pay the cost of a form or special materials before we start making a profit. And yet, in other cases looking at the ROI there is no clear formula. But make no mistake, an investment in the PCI Foundation has some immeasurable benefits to the industry as a whole, but in greatest measurement to the local partners.
I don’t think I can say it better than Doug Noble, who wrote recently about his experiences with the PCI Foundation. Doug shared, “I have been at the USC School of Architecture for 25 years. In the first 20 years, I doubt if I ever heard the word “precast" in our building. Now we have 120 faculty members and almost 800 students who hear about precast all the time. In just the past three years of partnership with the PCI Foundation, we have, held three upper division architecture design studios focused on the advantages of precast for extreme climate and the special construction requirements of a National Park.” Additionally, USC has
• Hosted several precast “building enclosure” conferences for professionals
• Published a FACADE TECTONICS journal entirely on precast concrete
• Taken students on tours of precast plants and taken hundreds of students on precast building construction site tours.
• Had precast presentations by PCI West director Doug Mooradian
• Attended four PCI Conventions
• Supported Ph.D. research and given 5 scholarship prizes each year for students in a precast design competition
• Introduced precast into the first “materials and methods” course that architecture students take
• Started a book project on inspirational architectural precast projects (aimed to inspire architects), and
• Will host the PCI Professors seminar in Los Angeles this year
As you can see from Doug Noble’s list of achievements at USC - the local precasters have been both a partner and a beneficiary of the work done. This is one of the reasons that when the PCI Foundation Trustees review proposals for new educational projects, we are looking for support from the local PCI members -- both financial and in kind.
The local partner works with the professor to create a program that is both one-of-a-kind and has character and content that will benefit both the school and the local partner. These relationships will be sustained even after the PCI Foundation involvement and investment is finished. The local partner will be the first to learn of innovations, will have access to future architects, engineers and even precast industry workers, and will influence how precast is taught to local customers for years to come.
I challenge you today to look around locally for a school that you would like to partner with for the long-term improvement of your local precast market. Then, follow up with the PCI Foundation with a donation to help fund a studio so that you can create a program that brings home a robust ROI for your company, the school, and the precast industry as a whole.