Looking Back and Ahead
by Terry Holland
As most of you are aware, ACI will be celebrating its Centennial next year. I've asked Debby Cagley Orsak, who is heading up the committee for the Centennial celebration, to describe plans for it. She has done so in the article that can be found on p. 27 [of the March 2003 Concrete International, Vol. 25 No. 3]. Please take a few minutes to read the article and start planning for your participation in the Centennial. If you have never attended an ACI convention, 2004 is the year to start.
The Centennial events will focus on both the past and future of ACI. My final President's Memo focuses on the future, and on several critical issues that the Institute will face over the next few years. Overall, the Institute is in great shape. However, we cannot become complacent as we move into our second century. Here are the issues that need to be addressed:
- There are tremendous opportunities available to ACI as an international organization. So far, we have approached the international arena in a somewhat fuzzy way without clearly defined goals. We need to define exactly what our international goals are and then execute International Partnership Agreements to achieve these goals with the help of other concrete organizations around the world.
- We must continue to concentrate on the business aspects of the Institute to produce adequate funding for new initiatives. We must develop new products and services to replace those that are no longer viable in today's electronic information world.
- The Student Fellowship program initiated by Past President Dan Baker must be fully funded and expanded. The incredible quality of the students who have participated so far has certainly convinced me that these are the people whom we must attract into the industry. We can't do so unless the program is funded on a self-sustaining basis.
- The separate organizations within the concrete industry in the US need to work together in a way that benefits everyone. ACI is well positioned to take a leadership position in uniting the industry because we are the only organization with a range of interest that covers the entire industry.
- I have given a presentation on sustainability (based upon my paper in the July 2002 CI) at several ACI chapter meetings. Everyone seems to agree with the comments, but there has not been a clear consensus on the actions that ACI should take. I am convinced that ACI must take a leadership role in the broadly defined area of sustainability.
- The area of the Institute that seems to draw the most criticism is the development of documents by our technical committees. The process, rightly or wrongly, is perceived as too cumbersome and too lengthy. We must continue to refine the process while maintaining our basic consensus procedures.
I wasn't able to resolve all of these issues during my term as President. However, I am confident that the dedicated Institute members following me into the presidency will do their best to work on these matters, as well as others that they define.
Finally, I thank everyone who has helped me during the past year. Whether it was at a presentation for a chapter in the U.S. or for an international meeting, the people whom I have met and worked with have been exceptionally helpful to me and truly dedicated to the Institute. Similarly, we are fortunate to have an exceptional staff. Many of our members who don't have the opportunity to interact with staff simply don't realize how good they are.
It is up to those in the leadership positions to guide the Institute toward the appropriate goals. Given the strength and dedication of our volunteer membership and our staff, leading the Institute has truly been a pleasure.
I look forward to seeing all of you at a future ACI activity.
American Concrete Institute