Ontario Infrastructure Plan Applauded for Resilience Focus

Masonry industry applauds provincial government on infrastructure plan
Masonry Worx
Masonry Worker
The Ontario government is currently in year three of a 13-year, $190-billion infrastructure spending plan. This new plan will inject guiding principles into how this money will be spent as it relates to infrastructure projects, mainly concerning environmental sustainability and infrastructure resilience. As advocates for infrastructure buildings built to a high standard, the masonry industry is optimistic with the substance of this recent announcement. Masonry products embody many attributes which contribute to a strong life-cycle assessment. The term durability is practically synonymous with masonry, as it has been a trusted material for thousands of years. Read more.

Columbia Height Control

Concerns over safety of tall timber buildings 
CBS News 
Timber Buildings
A recent story on CBS This Morning highlighted concerns over the safety of tall wood construction while also showing the growing push to build more of these types of buildings. Builders in Oregon are breaking ground this week on a 12-story, 60-unit apartment complex in Portland. This construction trend is part of a national boom in wood construction. Experts are concerned over the safety of using wood in highrise construction. There have been a number of safety incidents using wood in apartment construction. Architect Peter Weismantle, who helped design the world's tallest building, also worries that more wood could mean more fire if codes aren't strictly enforced. Read more. 

Nondestructive evaluation and testing of masonry

TMS Webinar
Don’t miss out on this webinar offered by The Masonry Society! Nondestructive evaluation methods are valuable approaches for evaluating conditions of existing masonry construction without causing damage. Masonry strength can also be measured in place using in situ test methods, without resorting to destructive sample removal for laboratory testing. Methods discussed during this webinar include mortar hardness testing, pulse velocity measurements, surface penetrating radar, infrared thermography, flatjack testing, and in situ shear tests, with special emphasis on applying these methods for diagnosing both historic and modern masonry construction. The webinar will be held Thursday December 14 from 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST. Register today! Read more.

Concrete blocks are more beautiful and better than ever
Ottawa Citizen 
Ottawa Blocks
What started out as the plainest, cheapest and simplest way to build with masonry, concrete blocks have evolved into an option that combines beauty along with construction speed, durability and economy. This means the appearance of new structures and renovations look more interesting, and concrete blocks are part of this long wave improvement. Read more.

Alabama Pallets

Versatility is the point in highway construction
Concrete Masonry Designs
Highway construction
Segmental retaining walls (SRWs) played a crucial role in the rebuilding of seven miles of I-15 in Northern Utah. This stretch of highway is a principal link between Salt Lake City and surrounding counties, with 160,000 vehicles including an estimated 37,000 trucks traveling on it everyday. The heavy traffic load, combined with age, had made this project a high priority need for expansion. The project widened Interstate 15 to six lanes in each direction. The qualities of SRW system offered the versatility, stability and flexibility necessary on this complex and fast-track project. Read more.

Tax reform impacts on small businesses 
Small Business Legislative Council  
Corporate Taxes
The Senate and House are set to begin a process of negotiating differences between tax reform packages approved in their respective chambers. While there are a number of provisions in both the House bill and the Senate bill that are problematic for a number of small businesses, both versions also have advantageous provisions. The Small Business Legislative Council has put together a breakdown of those provisions of interest to watch for during the reconciliation process. Read more.


U.S. third-quarter economic growth fastest in three years
Thomson Reuters
US economy
The U.S. economy grew faster in the third quarter, which has been its quickest pace in three years as businesses have been spending on equipment and expanding their inventories. The U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 3.3 percent annual rate last quarter and was also boosted by a rebound in government investment. It was the first time since 2014 that the economy experienced growth of 3 percent or more for two straight quarters. Read more.

Kraft Holiday Xmas

Tom Long: A dear friend, colleague and industry champion passes away on December 4th
Johnson Concrete Company
Tom Long
We are profoundly saddened by the death of Tom Long, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Johnson Concrete Company. Tom passed away on December 4th in Winston Salem, NC. His ascent in management at the Stalite/ProBlock/Johnson Concrete family of companies over a two-and-a-half year period speaks volumes to his commitment, skill and industry expertise while a member of the team. His experience and deep knowledge in every aspect of the concrete masonry business positioned him to serve and support the companies in many roles. Tom was Sales Manager of the new, innovative PROBLOCK product group, was the technical lead on Johnson Concrete plant expansion, played a key role in product innovation, and served on the executive committees of Stalite and Johnson Concrete. Read more.

Five questions with Kent Wilson of Joplin Building Material Company
Featured Member Kent
Name: Kent Wilson
Title: Vice President
Company: Joplin Building Material Company
City/town where you work: Joplin, MO

How did you get into the industry? “I served as an Engineer Officer in the Missouri Army National Guard at the time. Funny thing how “Combat Engineer” doesn’t always refer to blowing things up. Many of the military missions involved construction of buildings, bridges and runways.”

What is your favorite part of your job? “Watching a project move from a piece of paper to a completed facility is very rewarding. Building that relationship between Architect/Owner and manufacturer is an added bonus. Conducting business with a handshake and doing what you say you will do. It just doesn’t get any better than that!”

What is the best advice you ever got (work or personal)? “Make sure you’re home each night to have dinner with the family. Start your work day as early as you want.”

What do you do when you are not at work? “Anything that requires you to get outside. I love the mountains, hiking, hunting, fishing, sports, and grandkids in the treehouse!”

Favorite Movie? “Hunt for the Red October”

Nick Lang, VP of Business Development and Jason Thompson, VP of Industry Advancement are in New Orleans this week for the ASTM meeting. Gabriela Mariscal, Director of Geotechnical Systems will be in Chicago Dec. 11-13 for the 5th annual ICPI-NCMA Commercial sales Course.

NCMA offers the Basic Block & Hardscape Products Sales Course for sales professionals who have been in the concrete masonry industry less than three years? For more information contract Clare Ramminger at cramminger@ncma.com 

Solutions Center

How does thermal mass of concrete masonry help in design?
Solutions Center Logo
Thermal mass of concrete masonry absorbs heat, which is then slowly released to keep interior temperatures at a comfortable level. Using the thermal mass of concrete masonry as a heating system is an application of Passive Solar Design. Thermal mass reduces the reliance on mechanical heating and cooling and thus lessens the energy cost. For more information, see TEK 6-5A Passive Solar Design.

New premier education event at ICON EXPO 2018
MaSS logo
The Masonry System Selling Education Conference (MaSS) is a premier event designed to bring together experienced masonry sales personnel and regional promotional executives and to furnish essential tools to promote and sell concrete masonry as a system. A combination of inspirational general sessions featuring building product business analyst and strategist Mark Mitchell http://www.seethewhizard.com/, targeted breakouts on competing building systems and networking opportunities will foster shared marketing and promotion insights to help reframe your team’s strategy . The conference, scheduled February 8-10, 2018 is being held during ICON EXPO 2018 in Indianapolis, IN. Conference includes access to the tradeshow at no additional charge. For more information or to register click https://ncma.org/masscon/schedule/

British Columbia Plant - Basalite Surrey on ICON EXPO 2018 Plant Tour 
Plant Tour
The always-popular Featured Plant & Virtual Tour scheduled for Saturday, February 10, 2018, 7:30 - 9:30 AM during ICON EXPO will include a visit to Basalite Surrey – Manufacturing in British Columbia presented by Pathfinder Systems. Basalite installed a new TG-6 plant with finger car, CC Cuber and Robotic Pallet Accumulation. The tour will show the plant’s new generation controls and reporting, plant-wide preventive downtime sensors and Wi-Fi broadcasting GOT screens, and inline processor for pavers. Pathfinder will provide a Tundra 45 and four 30-ounce stainless steel Rambler Tumblers for a prize. Must be present to win. This is only one of the stops during the tour at ICON EXPO 2018, click here to see more. 

Boot Camp for production personnel at ICON EXPO 2018 
ICON Expo boot camp
Bring your production team to ICON EXPO 2018 for the the annual Boot Camp developed for production personnel. Boot Camp for Production Personnel will be held on Friday, February 9, 2018, 7:00 am - 5:00 pm, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Boot Camp will present information to increase employees' production and sales knowledge, consisting of three sessions:
  • Overview of the industry
  • Overview of information to produce a high quality product, with topics including density; unit dimensions; batching and proper mix sequence
  • Safety-related training sessions covering Alternative Methods to Lock Out Tag Out, Confined Space Rules and an update on the OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards. These sessions will take place in the Demonstration Area on the ICON EXPO show floor. Click here to see more and to register for this course.

Something for everyone at ICON EXPO 2018
ICON Expo Logo
Education, demonstrations, networking and more....all will be happening at the ICON EXPO 2018: Machinery & Equipment Show, February 9-10, 2018, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Now is the time to start making your plans for this inaugural show dedicated to the manufactured concrete masonry and hardscape industry. The ICON EXPO 2018 brochure highlights the programs and events taking place during ICON EXPO 2018 and the NCMA Annual Convention, February 6-8, 2018. Click here for a complete schedule of meetings and programs taking place during the week. Reserve your exhibit space and/or register to attend, if you have not done so already. Call us at (703) 713-1900 for more information. We can't wait to see you in Indy!

SRW Installer certification at World of Concrete
For the first time, NCMA will be offering Segmental Retaining Wall Basic Installer certification at World of Concrete! This one day course will be offered on Thursday, January 25 in Las Vegas. Take this opportunity to get certified now. The credential earned by participants demonstrates the knowledge and experience for successful SRW installations. Consumers and industry partners look for this certification when choosing an SRW installer. You can find more information on this course at World of Concrete here.

Last chance to register for the ICPI-NCMA Commercial Sales Course
SRW Class
The NCMA and ICPI course to help prepare sales representatives who sell hardscape products to the commercial market will take place in Chicago IL, Dec 11-13, 2017. Interested people are encouraged to register immediately as the cutoff date is approaching. Read more about the content and registration here.