www.concreteinternational.com | Ci | MAY 2019 7
My ACI Journey
My introduction to ACI
was at the University
of Texas at Austin
(UT Austin) in the spring
semester of 1977. I enrolled
in Reinforced Concrete
Fundamentals and was required
to purchase the 1971 ACI 318
Building Code from the student
chapter of ASCE, which made a
few dollars on each copy sold.
By the time I signed up for
Advanced Reinforced Concrete
Design in the fall semester, there
was a new 1977 edition of the
Code, which I was also required to purchase. This was my
introduction to the 318 Code cycle, and I can remember
feeling a bit frustrated that I had to buy and learn from a new
Code. Little did I know that these early introductions to the
318 Code would foreshadow my later work in ACI.
At the urging of my UT Austin graduate advisor John Breen,
I joined ACI in 1979—I am celebrating 40 years of
membership this year. I was fortunate to attend my first
ACI convention in the fall of 1980 in San Juan, Puerto Rico—
what a great venue. I vividly remember a forum on the
behavior of concrete structures subjected to earthquake loads.
This session was moderated by Mete Sozen, and I recall
thinking: Where else can I go to hear such giants in the
industry give presentations on timely concrete topics? Prof.
Breen suggested I submit an abstract related to my master’s
research for a Research-in-Progress session at the 1981 spring
convention in Dallas, TX. I followed through, and my abstract
was accepted. This started me on the path of regularly
presenting at ACI conventions.
Shortly after earning my PhD at UT Austin, I attended the
1985 spring convention in Denver, CO. I visited the meeting
of ACI Committee 224, Cracking, and was asked by Grant
Halvorsen, then Chair, to join the committee. Shortly
thereafter, I became Secretary of the committee and, after
that, Chair. This took me on the next phase of my ACI
journey—of being actively involved in technical committees.
Over my ACI career, I have participated in, among others,
ACI Committees 222, Corrosion; 228, Nondestructive
Testing; 562, Repair Code; and 318, Structural Concrete
Like many ACI members who have attended conventions
for 15 years or more, one often gets tapped for other positions
of responsibility. This happened to me in 1998, when I was
asked to join TAC, the Technical Activities Committee—yes,
the group that makes every Technical Committee Chair cringe
when hearing the name. What I found was an unbelievably
hardworking and dedicated group of 12 individuals that,
without question, makes the technical documents written by
committees better through the consensus review process.
Although it was a lot of work, it was one of the best
experiences I have had in my ACI journey.
Next, my path led me to being appointed to the Board of
Direction and to Board committees. I have served on the
Publications, Fellows Nomination, and Codes and Standards
Advocacy and Outreach Committees. Serving on these
committees was very interesting, as the mission of each
is less technical yet provides a broader view of the
The biggest challenge of my ACI life came in 2006. I was
selected as Chair of Committee 318 for the 2014 Code cycle,
which started in the spring of 2008. For the interim 2011
Code, ACI President Richard Stehly asked me to work
expeditiously with the committee to write provisions for
adhesive anchors into the Code to address concerns by the
National Transportation Safety Board resulting from the
precast panel failures in the Central Artery Tunnel in Boston,
MA. This was accomplished. For the 2014 Code, the
committee started with a clean slate in 2008 and completely
reorganized the Code to be more user-friendly—the approach
was to develop a Code framework that mirrored the design
process. With the hard work and dedication of the 318
membership, this herculean feat that took more than 150,000
hours of volunteer time was accomplished in 6-1/2 years.
I believe my journey in ACI follows a similar path to so
many others. Like many of you, I am proud of the journey I
have taken and of my relationship with ACI. I was given the
gift of mentoring by Prof. Breen; each of us now has that
same responsibility of mentoring young professionals
beginning their careers in the concrete industry.
It is my distinct honor and privilege to have been entrusted
as the 96th President of ACI.
Randall W. Poston
American Concrete Institute
Randall W. Poston