Who Will Be the Next
Mentoring the future generation
www.concreteinternational.com | Ci | MAY 2019 33
by Warren E. McPherson
Legends in our industry—such as Duff Abrams, Bryant
Mather, and Mary Hurd—were once seemingly
irreplaceable, but somehow, someway, our industry has
been able to produce new “superstars” and thrive as a result.
Where have the replacements come from, and why have
these new superstars chosen the concrete industry to share
their many talents? In the future, where will the new, yetunborn
superstars come from, and how can we, as industry
leaders, help point them toward the concrete industry?
As I have sat in committee meetings and sessions at ACI
conventions, I have seen an increasing number of younger
participants. As a seasoned citizen, I am allowed to define
“younger participants” as anyone under the age of 40.
Because the lifeblood of any organization is to continue to
regenerate itself with new, younger members, I am
encouraged to see more and more young people participating.
My one concern for younger participants is that there are
committees that are very difficult for them to get involved with.
Speaking for myself, I waited many years to become a voting
member of what I consider a very prestigious committee, but
I’m not sure everyone would be as patient as I was.
The enthusiasm that the student chapters display during the
student competition is inspiring. Their excitement and
competitive spirit make me think back to my younger days in
the business. How and why did these students choose to
pursue a career in the concrete industry? Did someone
influence them at a very young age?
Last winter, my granddaughter, Abigail (Abby) Pinch, who
attends the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics) Middle School in Dearborn, MI, asked if I
would help her with her seventh-grade science fair project.
I’m not sure who coerced her into asking me, but I
obviously felt very honored. At that point, panic set in. What
could we do that would be interesting to her but would also be
hands-on and somewhat of a challenge?
What we decided to do, although both hands-on and
informative, is not really the point of this article. Having
said that, I have asked Abby to share her experience and to
outline her procedures for weighing and mixing, and,
ultimately, the results of the project (the rate of hardening
ROH of the mortar specimens she created). Her writeup on
the project follows.
My Science Fair Project
by Abby Pinch
Last year, my grandfather, Warren McPherson, and I
conducted a science fair project investigating how different
ambient and concrete temperatures affect the rate at which
concrete sets. The concrete and environment temperatures
ranged from 38 to 85°F (3 to 29°C).
Originally, I thought that if the mixing water were
heated, then the concrete would set at a slower rate.
Actually, the exact opposite occurred—when the mixing
water was heated, the concrete set faster, and when the
mixing water was cooled, the concrete set slower. During
this experiment, I found that as the temperature of the
mixing water increased, the amount of water needed to
maintain the same consistency did as well.
Mixing concrete is very similar to baking. When
weighing each ingredient, my grandfather reminded me
that exact measurements must be used or else the
consistency won’t be accurate. I also learned that the
setting of concrete is like the ice cube phenomenon. The
warmest sample did not set as fast in a cold environment
compared to the time it took for the room-temperature
sample to set in a cold environment.