ACI Chapter Guide
This Chapter Guide describes the steps that a local organization must take to request affiliation with ACI as an official authorized Chapter. If ACI recognizes a local organization as a Chapter, this Chapter Guide further prescribes the steps that Chapters must take to maintain their affiliation with ACI and what steps are taken at the end of affiliation, regardless of whether ACI or the Chapter chooses to end the affiliation. ACI reserves the right to deny affiliation to local organizations, to end affiliation with any Chapter, or to take other action for reasons that include but are not limited to the following:
- Chapter has aims or objectives that are inconsistent with ACI’s chartered aims and objectives;
- Chapter fails or refuses to comply with ACI policies stated in this Chapter Guide or otherwise communicated to the local organization or Chapter;
- Chapter appears not to have the organizational or financial ability to carry out the activities of a Chapter; or
- Chapter becomes inactive.
Information in this Chapter Guide concerning Chapter programming, ideas for member recruitment, and resources ACI makes available to Chapters are merely suggestions and not binding on Chapters.
Purpose of an ACI Chapter
ACI bylaws state that local chapters are organized “to provide a means of advancing the interests of the Institute in a specified geographical area and of furthering the chartered objectives for which the Institute is organized.” The chartered objectives of the Institute are as follows:
The purpose of the American Concrete Institute (the “Institute”) shall be to further engineering and technical education, scientific investigation and research, and development of standards for design and construction incorporating concrete and related materials. The Institute shall organize the efforts of its members for a nonprofit, public service in gathering, correlating, and disseminating information. The Institute shall address design, construction, manufacture, use, and maintenance and restoration of concrete and related materials. These efforts shall promote improved technology, technical competence, design and construction for the benefit of society.
ACI and its chapters are groups of individuals who want to learn more about concrete. It is important this principal be kept in mind when developing programs, activities, and technical presentations.
ACI chapters are nonprofit educational associations. United States chapters are generally classified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) organizations. The chapter must refrain from actions that could jeopardize this nonprofit status. Actions that 503(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from doing include attempting to influence legislation, promoting any product (even a nonproprietary product such as cement), and any political activity. Make certain that special interest groups do not gain control of the chapter, its technical programs, or other aspects of its work. The chapter should prevent meetings from being used as a forum for promoting specific commercial products, companies, or individuals, or the use of its name in the promotion, enactment, or rescission of local, state, or federal legislation. The chapter should also avoid discussions of proprietary goods or services in a promotional context and refrain from involvement in political lobbying. A local chapter may, however, on written invitation from a legislative body, present technical information concerning a proposal under study by the legislators.
The chapter should supplement the efforts of other groups and cooperate to resolve technical solutions to problems in the field of concrete where chapter members with special training and experience can be of service. However, the chapter may never act or speak for ACI unless authorized by the ACI Board of Direction, and no chapter member may speak on behalf of a chapter unless approved by the chapter Board of Directors.
Organizing a New ACI Chapter
The formation of an ACI chapter begins when a group of people feel there is need for education and discussion of technical information on concrete in their area. The group surveys ACI members and others to determine the level of interest in forming a local chapter. ACI provides contact information for ACI members within the proposed chapter area. The chapter is required to submit 1) application; 2) petition; 3) charter; and 4) bylaws to become an official ACI chapter.
The Organizing Committee
After the initiating group has determined interest exists to form an ACI chapter, an organizing committee of 4 to 12 participants is formed and an organizing chair is elected. (The chair must be an ACI member.) The Organizing Committee will submit an official application outlining the chapter boundaries, the chapter’s dues schedule, frequency of meetings, meeting locations and times, and a plan for the circulation of an organizing petition and draft the initial bylaws. Members of the Organizing Committee should represent all geographic areas in the proposed chapter, various segments of the industry, and be willing to play an active role in the chapter’s formation.
To form a chapter in the United States, the signatures of 25 ACI members residing within the proposed chapter area are required, and at least 50 ACI members must reside in the area. To form a chapter outside of the United States, the signatures of 15 ACI members residing within the proposed chapter are required. The organizing petition must be submitted to ACI headquarters along with proposed bylaws for approval by the Chapter Activities Committee.
Upon approval, the new chapter will receive a charter, chapter banner, and an announcement in Concrete International. An announcement of the chapter’s formation is also sent to all ACI members who live within the new chapter’s boundaries.
Bylaws are the rules that govern the chapter’s operation and must be submitted with the organizing petition for approval by ACI. Bylaws should be patterned after and within the limitations of the ACI Chapter Model Bylaws. Variations to suit local laws and conditions must be considered. Once approved by ACI, bylaws must be voted on by the chapter members. The final approved bylaws must be submitted to ACI for record safekeeping.
As a nonprofit educational association, membership in an ACI chapter is open to anyone with an interest in concrete. Chapter membership classifications are usually patterned after ACI membership classifications. Any suitable combination of these membership classifications may be defined in the chapter bylaws. A chapter may consist of a mixture of Honorary Members, distinguished chapter members, sustaining members, contributing members, organizational members, Fellows, individual members, affiliate chapter members, young professionals, and student members.
The chapter may recognize or honor eminent chapter members by conferring upon them membership in the special individual category of distinguished chapter member. Distinguished chapter members are individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the chapter and/or to ACI. Distinguished chapter members are selected by the chapter Board and may be made exempt from chapter dues. It is recommended that chapters use the term “distinguished chapter member” rather than “honorary member” to differentiate these individuals from Honorary Members of ACI. A distinguished chapter member does not have to be a member of ACI.
ACI members may belong to more than one chapter but may only specify one official chapter for voting and holding office. A member only needs to specify chapter affiliation if it is other than the chapter area in which he or she resides.
Affiliate chapter members are not members of ACI. They may actively participate in local chapter affairs but may not hold office in the chapter (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Board). An affiliate chapter member may be a chapter committee chair. The basic purpose for having the affiliate chapter membership category is to encourage the participation in chapter work of nonmembers of ACI. Chapter dues for affiliate chapter members cannot be less than the dues for ACI members who are members of the chapter.
Generally, student members neither vote nor hold office in the chapter, but may be appointed as members of a committee with voting privileges on that committee.
Chapters should publish an annual membership directory online and/or in print that includes all chapter members, chapter officers, and Board of Directors.
ACI’s bylaws permit chapters to establish chapter dues for each membership classification.
Sixty days prior to year-end, the Secretary or Treasurer should prepare and mail annual dues statements for the upcoming year to all chapter members. To improve dues collection, include a renewal notice letter with the statement that answers questions and lists the benefits of chapter membership.
The responsibility for chapter finances lies solely with the chapter Board. Chapter finances are governed by the following general principles:
- Operate within an income and expense budget set up before the fiscal year’s activities begin;
- Most, if not all, activities of the chapter should be self-supporting;
- The chapter Board must be kept constantly and accurately advised by the Treasurer; it is strongly recommended that the Treasurer be bonded and the chapter establishes an audit committee to provide oversight;
- An annual audit (by the audit committee) of financial records is recommended;
- A bank account must be opened to handle receipts and disbursements; and
- Standard business practices should be followed in the handling of all funds.
It is recommended that the President, Vice President(s), Secretary, and Treasurer be authorized to sign checks for the withdrawal of chapter funds and have access to the chapter’s safe deposit box. Normally, two signatures are required before funds can be withdrawn. New bank signature cards must be executed every year immediately after elections reflecting the signatures of authorized check signatories.
At a minimum, it is recommended that a year-end audit be made by the Financial or Audit Committee appointed by the chapter Board. This committee should consist of three members who are not members of the chapter Board, and who are familiar with financial statements. The audit should be completed and a report submitted within 30 days from the fiscal year-end. An audit or review should be made by an outside firm with no other relationship to the chapter every 3 years.
Chapters must submit an Annual Report summarizing activities to ACI. The annual report must be received at ACI headquarters by February 1 of each year. The annual report outlines membership statistics, financial data, and a summary of activities. The ACI Chapter Activities Coordinator will send a request for the annual report to the chapter Secretary in November/December of each year. The annual report is also used to determine the chapter’s score in the Chapter Recognition Program. If a chapter does not submit an Annual Report by the due date, the chapter is considered delinquent. If the chapter does not submit an annual report for 12 months, the chapter’s charter may be revoked and the chapter disbanded.
Submit the annual report »
A Chapter Roster Form with the results of the chapter election must be submitted to ACI annually. This information is used to update the chapter’s home page on the ACI website and to send email communication from ACI. A copy of the chapter’s approved bylaws must be forwarded to ACI headquarters for record safekeeping. Notice of pending or approved amendments also must be forwarded to ACI. Prior to your membership voting on bylaw changes, you must obtain approval of the revisions from ACI. Copies of the chapter’s article of incorporation and tax-exempt status letter should accompany your bylaws.
Simplified forms can be used for applications for chapter membership, membership record forms, dues acknowledgment, etc. ACI will supply membership application forms, and on a bi-monthly basis, provide the names and addresses of all new ACI members in the chapter area.
For antitrust reasons, the chapter must prepare agendas and minutes for all business meetings. This practice also permits the chapter to review previously discussed issues and decisions. A file should be maintained containing announcements of chapter meetings and the subjects discussed.
Some items that are of legal and historical value and that should be retained permanently include:
- Chapter bylaws
- Incorporation papers
- Forms filed for tax-exempt status
- IRS ruling granting exempt status
- Chapter charter
- Tax returns
- Annual financial records
- Agendas and minutes of board meetings
- Organizing petitions
- Annual list of chapter officers
- Chapter annual reports
- Chapter newsletters
- Charter members listing
ACI Headquarters will maintain an electronic copy of all your important legal documents upon request and at no charge.
An effective method to communicate with your membership is by developing and distributing an electronic newsletter. The e-newsletter should contain information on meetings and programs, comments on ACI publications, a message from the chapter President, and any other news which may be of interest to your members. Some chapters include the names of new members and the minutes of their last meeting in the chapter newsletter. Chapters are welcome to republish articles directly from Concrete International.
The e-newsletter is usually the responsibility of the chapter Secretary, a member of the Public Relations Committee, or a chapter member who is a talented writer. Many chapters sell advertising space in print and e-newsletters to generate income. In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service views any profit (income minus the cost of the advertisement) as taxable income and the chapter must file the appropriate tax forms.
Responsibility of Chapter Officers and Board
Most chapters hold elections for President, Vice President, the Board of Directors, and the Committee on Nominations each year (and also the Secretary and Treasurer if these are elected positions). The chapter’s bylaws must be stringently followed in the election of officers. Normally, the Committee on Nominations submits a slate of candidates to the chapter Secretary at least 40 days before the chapter’s annual meeting.
A chapter may nominate one member each for President and Vice President, or may nominate several candidates. In some cases, a list of nominees for directors may include more nominees than vacancies, giving the members a choice of directors, with those receiving the most votes being elected to the vacancies. All chapter officers and directors must be members of ACI. The one exception is the chapter Secretary/Executive Secretary or Executive Director, if they are appointed and do not have voting privileges on the chapter Board of Directors. In this case, the Secretary/Executive Secretary or Executive Director need not be an ACI member.
Generally, the Secretary distributes the list of nominations to the membership of the chapter at least 30 days before the next annual meeting. Additional nominations for offices or for membership on the Committee on Nominations may be made within 15 days thereafter by petition to the chapter Board of Directors and signed by at least 10 members of the chapter. While these are general guidelines, the exact procedure is specified in the chapter’s bylaws.
The complete list of nominations is submitted at least 15 days before each annual meeting to the chapter membership for letter ballot. Many chapters limit the right to vote for officers to those chapter members who are also members of ACI, although this is not an ACI requirement. The person with the most votes is named to the office with his/her term starting as defined in the bylaws.
After elections are completed, it is the responsibility of the existing chapter Secretary to forward the list of new chapter officer roster to the ACI headquarters.
Chapter Presidents are the leaders of the chapter, an ex-officio member of all committees, and upon retirement of Presidency, normally serves as Chair of the Committee on Nominations. When choosing a President, the individual should have held a leadership position (Director, Secretary, Treasurer, or Vice President) within the chapter.
After being elected, the President calls a meeting of the chapter Board and meets promptly with the chapter Secretary and Treasurer to determine what committees exist and the status of chapter records and finances. After the board appoints committee chairs, the President schedules a meeting with them to discuss respective duties. This is instrumental to the smooth operation of the chapter. At these meetings, the Vice President is present as he or she may be asked to act in the event the President is unavoidably absent.
It is recommended that the incoming President attend an ACI Chapter Leadership Training and Roundtable. The training and roundtable is an opportunity to meet the ACI President, Chapter Activities Committee Chair, ACI staff, and chapter leaders from around the world. The incoming President should also attend an ACI convention.
Some chapter Presidential pointers include:
- Review Chapter President’s Checklist as follows;
- Review the chapter’s bylaws;
- Delegate as much responsibility as possible;
- Make certain that the chapter has written agendas and minutes for all meetings;
- At Board meetings, limit discussions to the matters at hand and insist that decisions be reached rather than postponed;
- Don’t hesitate to try a new method or approach, but avoid changing everything just because you can; and
- Monitor potential antitrust violations.
A chapter President should inspire others to do the chapter’s work by stressing the importance of the activity. Because a chapter President can never please everyone, it’s better to be criticized for getting things done than for inaction.
The following is a checklist list of action items for a new chapter President:
- Schedule first Board meeting (within 30 days);
- Read Chapter Guide;
- Review chapter bylaws;
- Review responsibilities of chapter Secretary and Treasurer;
- Review chapter’s files;
- Review chapter finances;
- Change bank signature cards;
- Review recent annual reports;
- Review minutes from recent Board meetings;
- Review committee reports;
- See that director and officer updates are filed with ACI headquarters;
- Prepare agenda for next Board meeting;
- Review schedule for upcoming meetings, programs, and seminars;
- Recommend committee to Chairs and to Board of Direction;
- Confirm that annual report has been submitted to ACI headquarters on time; and
- Review Chapter Awards guidelines to assist in planning annual activities.
The chapter Vice President acts on behalf of the chapter President when the President is absent. He or she should, however, be assigned some definite responsibilities. In some cases, the Vice President might be the Program or Education Committee Chair, or be assigned another specific activity. Where such a practice is followed, it is best to state this in the chapter bylaws.
The chapter Vice President assists the President, Secretary, and Treasurer at meetings with all chapter operations and is ready to act on behalf of the chapter President in his or her absence. In most chapters, the Vice President is next in line for the presidency of the chapter. Specifics are stated in the chapter’s bylaws.
An efficient chapter Secretary and Treasurer is essential to the success of a chapter. In many chapters, these two positions are combined and all responsibilities given to a single Secretary/Treasurer. In other chapters, the responsibilities are separated between two individuals.
The chapter Secretary is the vital point of contact between the chapter Board and the membership, and between the chapter and ACI. In some chapters, the Secretary is a member of the chapter Board and is elected annually. However, in most chapters, the Secretary is not a voting member of the Board and serves for several years. It is recommended that, to preserve continuity, the Secretary be retained from year to year. (Many chapters pay the Secretary an honorarium for their work or hire an association management group.)
The responsibilities of the chapter Secretary include:
- Custody of the chapter records and minutes organized so that it can be easily turned over to a successor;
- Maintaining the chapter membership list and mailing list of non-members;
- Recording chapter activities for inclusion in the annual report;
- Distributing, collecting, and counting all ballots for officer or bylaw votes and reporting the results to the membership;
- Preparing and issuing notices to local industry members for all meetings of the chapter;
- Preparing, with the chapter President, the agenda for Board and regular meetings;
- Preparing minutes of the Board meetings and distributing to all Board members;
- Reporting information on chapter activities to ACI headquarters for publication in Concrete International (unless this is done by a Publicity Chair). This information could include reports on monthly meetings (date and location, attendance, program topic), nominations, elections, changes in the chapter Board and membership, chapter news, and publicity notices;
- Preparing the annual report;
- Handling routine correspondence and passing correspondence on to the chapter President for attention of the chapter Board or membership, and the routing of official ACI notices, requests, etc.; and
- Maintaining a file with all pertinent information on previous chapter activities to be passed on to incoming chapter Secretaries.
The responsibilities of the chapter Treasurer include:
- Maintaining records of chapter funds;
- Paying all invoices covering expenses; and
- Assisting in managing ticket sales for meetings and other functions.
The chapter Treasurer is the custodian of the chapter funds and is the principal disbursing agent. He or she should insist on chapter Board authorization of all expenditures and monitor authority for financial commitments.
The chapter Treasurer handles all chapter banking operations, ensures that necessary bank signatures are on file annually, and reports to the chapter Board on chapter finances. He or she should be bonded in an amount sufficient to cover the chapter’s average funds and premiums should be paid by the chapter.
In taking over his or her duties, the chapter Treasurer should insist on a complete accounting of chapter funds. At every year-end, the chapter Treasurer must cooperate with the Finance/Audit Committee in the preparation of the audit report for the chapter Board.
The chapter Secretary and Treasurer (or Secretary/Treasurer) must work closely with the chapter President at all times.
Board of Directors
The chapter Board establishes and directs all chapter policies through the chapter President. The Board may authorize and appoint the Chairs of all administrative and technical committees or it may delegate this responsibility to the President.
Frequent and regular chapter Board meetings are highly desirable in carrying out the business of an active ACI chapter. Many ACI chapters hold a brief Board meeting just preceding (or immediately following) the regular chapter meeting. The chapter Board meets as prescribed in the chapter bylaws.
The chapter President and Secretary/Treasurer should prepare an agenda for each Board meeting listing subjects and order of discussion. A copy is distributed to all chapter directors at least seven days before the meeting. It is the President’s duty to inform committee chairs in advance when committee reports should be presented in person to the Board.
The first meeting of the new Board should be held within 30 days following elections. At this time committee Chairs for the year are approved and plans are made for chapter activities.
Board meetings are open to all members of the chapter and should be held in an atmosphere conducive to discussion in an orderly business-like setting.
Major Board Responsibilities
The chapter Board may delegate authority but cannot avoid responsibility for any official chapter activity. Therefore, the Board must be kept apprised of the work of all officers and committees.
Primary chapter Board responsibilities are to:
- Determine chapter policies;
- Determine the condition of chapter finances;
- Approve budgets for chapter revenues and expenses;
- Approve all chapter expenditures;
- Establish committees;
- Approve all committee appointments;
- Accept all committee reports;
- Approve all committee budgets and significant activities;
- Approve and direct special activities;
- Cooperate with the ACI Board of Direction and the ACI Conventions Committee on conventions held in the chapter area; and
- Maintain a liaison that coordinates with ACI headquarters and the Chapter Activities Committee to meet the chapter and overall Institute objectives.
While no Board should commit future Boards to long-range activities, some activities demand decisions affecting the chapter in the future. Examples include, sponsorship of an ACI convention where commitments would be made several years in advance, educational programs conducted with a school or other organization requiring policy continuity in dealing with school officials, and with early commitments for facilities and speakers.
Committees should have three to nine members, depending on the assigned mission and size of the chapter. It is important to maintain committee continuity; therefore, it is recommended that appointments are initially staggered over a period of 3 years, so that no more than one-third of the committee turns over at any time.
Committee service is a means of assuring active participation in chapter affairs by a large number of members. To grow in strength and prestige, the chapter must spread its workload, seeking out new workers each year, especially among a younger group.
Committee on Nominations
The Committee on Nominations is responsible for nominating candidates for the chapter Board, President, and Vice President (and also for Secretary and Treasurer if these are elected positions), following the guidelines set forth in the chapter bylaws.
The Committee on Nominations is elected each year. The size of the Committee on Nominations varies depending on the chapter bylaws, but members of the incumbent Board should not be elected to membership on the Committee on Nominations. The only exception may be the Past President who may be a member of the chapter Board and also Chair of the Committee on Nominations, if so specified in the chapter bylaws.
It is proper and advisable for the chapter Board to instruct the Committee on Nominations on procedure but not on names of candidates. Instructions should cover only the following:
- Recognition for outstanding chapter service;
- Proper balance among the various industry segments and geographical representation by chapter membership; and/or
- Need to select individuals of Presidential caliber. Qualities such as leadership, chapter interest, and willingness to serve should be sought out.
The Chair of the Committee on Nominations should schedule a meeting of the committee several weeks before the committee report is due to be submitted to the chapter Secretary.
Throughout the year, the members of the Committee on Nominations should observe chapter activities and attendance to see who is active and capable. The committee may also invite suggestions for candidates from the chapter membership. At the meeting of the Committee on Nominations, the candidates are discussed and a slate proposed. Once the Committee selects candidates, they should be contacted immediately to see if they are willing to serve if elected. If individuals do not consent to their nominations, new nominees must be selected.
Before the annual meeting (check the chapter bylaws for specific number of days), the Committee on Nominations must submit a slate of candidates for the chapter officers and Board, and also for their replacements on the Committee on Nominations, to the chapter Secretary and President.
The Audit Committee is responsible for auditing the chapter’s financial records. The Committee reviews the chapter’s financial transactions to ensure that all financial matters have been authorized and properly recorded. This audit should be completed within 30 days after the chapter’s fiscal year-end. Some chapters may wish to have the financial records audited by an independent auditor (CPA firm). In this case, the Audit Committee should interview appropriate firms and recommend to the chapter Board that a specified firm be hired by the chapter. Only the chapter Board has the authority to hire an independent auditor. At the conclusion of the annual audit, the Audit Committee must report its findings to the chapter Board.
The Membership Committee is responsible for implementing the chapter Board’s plan for chapter expansion through all segments of the concrete industry. The Membership Committee also cooperates with the Secretary in the maintenance of accurate membership rosters and files.
The Committee should consist of three to nine members reflecting maximum geographic and industry interests. Promotion and planned campaigns are necessary for successful membership growth. Efforts should be expended in four areas:
- Retaining members;
- Maintaining accurate membership records;
- Increasing the percentage of Institute members who are also chapter members; and
- Increasing the percentage of Affiliate Members (non-ACI members).
Cooperation and coordination with other chapter committees is important, because all chapter activities are useful in increasing the attraction of chapter membership. Particular activities that should be emphasized to current and new potential members are general membership meetings, educational programs, and certification programs.
The Membership Committee should assist with verifying accuracy of membership files. Information that should be kept on each member includes enrollment date, dues billing date (if not on calendar year), membership class, official representative(s) for organizational members, job title, address, phone number, fax number, e-mail address, any committees or offices held, and a complete log of dues payment. The membership application should be posted on the chapter home page.
The Membership Committee should establish goals, such as:
- The total number of chapter members on the roster at year-end;
- The percentage of ACI members in the chapter region who are also chapter members; and/or
- The various industry segments that should be represented in chapter membership, and the number of chapter members to expect from each.
Once realistic goals have been established, target dates should be set to review progress during the course of the year. Organize formal campaigns that would include direct mail and e- mail promotion, and personal contact. Direct mail, being a cost item, will require chapter Board approval. One of the most effective membership efforts is direct contact by telephone or in-person. Ideally, the members of the committee will each work in a different segment of the concrete industry and will act as the chapter’s representative for that segment. Each committee member can then be responsible for the goal for that specific industry interest, and can use personal contact as one of the prime tools.
Having a successful and active chapter is only possible if you are meeting the needs of your members. Potential members should be informed and aware of the chapter’s objectives and activities. It is suggested that chapters survey local ACI members and other individuals in the concrete industry to determine how the chapter may be of service. Surveying may also assist with future chapter program development.
The Programs Committee is responsible for planning and conducting program meetings, including the selection of subject, speaker, speaker arrangements, meeting facilities, and tour plans and arrangements. Establish a policy on co-sponsorship of programs with other organizations or other ACI chapters. Appoint someone to act as the liaison with other organizations.
Education is a multi-faceted activity encompassing seminars or short courses, or speakers for local organizations interested in concrete, or any other concrete education-related activity.
The Education Committee is responsible for conducting educational programs within the chapter area (both sponsored solely by the chapter and in coordination with ACI’s Professional Development Department), and increasing concrete industry effectiveness with colleges and universities in the chapter area.
The Education Committee should consist of three to five members. Ad hoc committees may be established to plan and coordinate major education projects such as seminars. The Chair of this committee should contact the ACI Professional Development Department for a copy of The Local Cosponsor’s Role in Conducting an ACI Seminar. Although this specifically applies to seminars conducted jointly with the ACI Professional Development Department, many of the tips and procedures described will work for any educational program.
If the chapter is an approved certification sponsoring group, the Certification Committee is responsible for organizing and conducting chapter-sponsored certification training courses and/or examinations. This includes scheduling, arranging for facilities, materials, equipment, personnel, budgeting, local publicity, obtaining instructional manuals from ACI, collecting fees, and submitting all collections to the chapter Treasurer for the payment of invoices.
The Awards Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the chapter Board for the distribution of chapter awards based on the guidelines established by the Board. Awards for projects or achievement in the local concrete community are an excellent activity for chapters. For several chapters, the awards process and presentation banquet are the most prevalent events of the year.
Awards presented by an ACI chapter can have a great influence locally, and for that reason, the members of the Awards Committee must be selected carefully to ensure balance and fairness. Awards Committee members should not have special interest in any of the nominated projects. All members of this Committee should be chapter members and represent all parties within the chapter: designers, suppliers, contractors, and owners.
The Awards Committee itself may act as the judges for the awards, or they may appoint judges from outside of the committee. It is the Awards Committee’s responsibility to set guidelines and rules, to determine a timetable of submissions and awards, and to get a budget approved by the chapter Board for the awards program.
Technical Activities Committee
The Chapter Technical Activities Committees is responsible for giving ACI chapters a stronger voice in the development of the consensus standards (codes, specs, standard practices) and committee reports (guides, state-of-the-art reports, etc.) originated by ACI technical committees. Another responsibility of this committee is to review any technical publications developed by the chapter prior to its submission to ACI’s Technical Activities Committee.
The make-up of the Chapter Technical Activities Committee ideally consists of members representing all concrete industry interest groups within its geographic area. The functions of the committee review proposed ACI documents, report to the chapter membership, and submit a chapter consensus discussion to the Institute when appropriate. The Chapter Technical Activities Committee should also encourage the forwarding of individual comments.
A 45-day public discussion period for every proposed new or revised standard is announced in Concrete International prior to publication. During this period, questions, suggestions, and criticisms received by ACI are forwarded to the technical committee that developed the proposed standard for consideration and response. This process can result in changes before the document is officially adopted.
Chapter Technical Activities Committees can propose new action to ACI technical committees if existing technical documents overlook local needs. New action should be proposed in a letter to the Managing Director of Engineering and/or to the committee chair.
Public Relations Committee
It is the responsibility of the Public Relations Committee to write local press releases, establish press contacts, and submit meeting reports and chapter news items for publication in Concrete International. This Committee is also responsible for publication of the chapter e-newsletter.
A chapter depends on the Public Relations Committee to publicize and advertise its programs and activities, to maintain good member relations, and to increase the public awareness of concrete. A chapter’s “public” is defined as the many interest groups it influences, such as the general public, the academic world, government, business, finance, important population centers within the chapter geographic area, and other ACI chapters.
The Public Relations Committee should consist of three to four people with the time and inclination for personal contact. The Committee must be kept fully informed of all chapter activities; thus, liaison with all committees and officers is important.
A division of responsibilities into internal and external public relations is desirable. Internal public relations refer to publicizing chapter activities to members and maintaining good member relations. External public relations refer to news media contacts and other means of publicizing concrete and the chapter to the chapter’s “public.”
Student Activities Committee
The Student Activities Committee is charged with encouraging student involvement in activities related to the design, construction, manufacture, use, and maintenance of concrete products and structures at both the local and international level. This Committee provides guidance and encouragement for student involvement in ACI activities.
The Student Activities Committee should consist of three to five members. The Chair should select an additional three to four members approved by the chapter Board. Committee members could be faculty advisers of ASCE, ALA, Chi Epsilon, or other appropriate student groups; professors of concrete technology or design; student representatives of appropriate student groups; or any other persons interested in serving on this Committee.
The Website Committee is responsible for maintaining the chapter website, which could include awards, chapter contact information, meeting announcements, membership applications, e-newsletters, and scholarship information.
One of the most common ways to keep chapter members involved is with regular meetings. These are usually meal functions with an accompanying technical program. Consistently high-quality programs with good speakers and subjects of interest to the members may determine meeting attendance, and indirectly the status of the chapter in the local community. Program planning is an essential ingredient in successful chapter operations. Most chapters organize a program committee to manage these activities.
Not every member will be interested in all of the subjects presented at chapter meetings. However, your chapter can present programs that will be of interest to a wide sector of the membership and different programs that will appeal to different sectors. Successful subjects of technical programs are often those that address local issues and invite speakers who have a special knowledge of local conditions. Speakers of national reputation should be scheduled from time to time to encourage attendance by those who may not have attended previous programs. (When out-of-town speakers are invited, the chapter should offer to cover their travel expenses, suggest local hotel recommendations, and provide local transportation to and from the meeting venue.)
We recommend that the chapters organize a complete series of programs at least 6 months in advance. Doing so provides better distribution of meeting subjects and results in better attendance. Long-range planning allows for variety in the program schedule, interspersing technical and panel discussions, joint meetings with other organizations, and plant or construction site visits. Don’t forget to publicize your events on the ACI calendar.
Chapter meetings can be held as breakfast, luncheon, or dinner meetings with a technical program of moderate length. Many chapters have found that a scheduled social hour of approximately 1 hour prior to a dinner meeting is beneficial and affords an opportunity for interaction and discussion among attendees. It is important to select a meeting place that is easily accessible, and well-known. (Meeting notices should stress that all are welcome to attend the technical program even if they cannot attend the dinner or luncheon.)
When serving alcohol, consider limiting the number of drinks consumed by using drink tickets. Other tips include:
- Always serve food with alcohol;
- Avoid dry snacks that encourage attendees to drink more; and
- Order a minimum of four hors d’oeuvres for each attendee.
The Program Committee, Publicity Committee, and chapter Secretary should coordinate efforts to assure as large an audience as possible. This involves sending meeting notices well in advance (at least 2 weeks) and organizing other publicity. Offer posters or printed announcements to schools and firms for posting on bulletin boards. Brief announcements giving date, place, and program details can also be sent to editors of local newspapers. Also, other concrete-related associations will promote meetings upon request.
Chapters should invite students to meetings by sending an announcement to the appropriate departments of the colleges and universities in the chapter area and request that the meeting be announced and posted. (Some chapters invite students at little to no cost). This activity is the responsibility of the Student Activities Committee.
Restaurants often require a meal count in advance. Enclosing a business reply postal card or e-mail reply request with the meeting announcement will allow for better estimates.
Educational seminars are an important activity of chapters. There are two ways to conduct seminars:
- Cosponsor seminars with ACI’s Professional Development Department, which conducts approximately 50 seminars annually through chapter cooperation. Chapters receive a share of the revenues from these seminars, yet have minimal financial risk.
- Conduct your own seminars by organizing, marketing, collecting fees, and arranging speakers.
ACI has developed a series of 1-hour meeting presentations for use by chapters. Programs are available on a first-come basis and ACI will cover the speakers’ travel expenses (up to $1000). For requests outside of North America, ACI will provide a single-use license to the chapter to translate and conduct the presentation.
Request A Speaker »
ACI Board of Direction Engagement
Upon request, a member of the ACI Board of Direction, including the ACI President and Vice President, may be available to attend a chapter board meeting or provide a keynote address during a chapter meeting. Chapters will be expected to cover the cost of meals, accommodation, and transportation for the ACI board member.
Request A Speaker »
Project Awards Program
There are two types of awards programs that a chapter could conduct: project awards and personal awards. Project awards recognize design and/or construction of outstanding local concrete projects, usually divided into categories. Personal awards recognize local individuals who have had an exceptional impact on the local concrete industry or on the chapter, while project awards recognize the owner, engineer, contractor, and architect involved in the construction project. Similar procedures can be used for either type of award.
If your chapter is considering the establishment of an awards program, first consider if there is a need for such a program and if there is sufficient interest within the chapter to sponsor (support) the program. The chapter could sponsor an awards program by itself or co-sponsor the program with other concrete-related associations in the area.
If your chapter establishes an awards program, it must be identified as the chapter’s program and not a program of ACI. ACI presents many awards for work or research for ACI. It is important to emphasize that the award is given by the ACI chapter and not ACI. For a nominal fee, ACI provides award plaques. For more information, contact the Chapter Activities Coordinator.
The Project Awards Guide was created to help chapters initiate a local awards program. These guidelines should be adjusted to accommodate local conditions and needs.
Project Awards Guide »
Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards
Established in 2015, the Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards honors the vision of creative projects throughout the global concrete design and construction community. The competition is open to entries submitted by ACI chapters and international partners. The purpose of this program is to support local chapter project awards and encourage growth and the development of new awards programs.
ACI Excellence Awards »
An ACI chapter can be a catalyst in its area for different types of programs that encourage and recognize innovative concrete techniques and practices, and often serve as a leader in joint efforts with other organizations such as schools, industry associations, and government agencies. ACI chapters are in an ideal position to close the gap between theory and practice. There are many worthwhile projects for a chapter including:
- Presentation of ACI publications to schools and libraries;
- Free student memberships in the chapter to outstanding college students in the chapter area (students can be selected by professors in the various local colleges and coordinated by the Student Activities Committee);
- Scholarship programs;
- Co-sponsorship of short courses and training conferences;
- Coordination with state or local agencies to develop codes and specifications; and
- Concrete projects for schools.
There is a close relationship between education and chapter activities. ACI chapters are in a position to promote effective education in concrete locally at all levels of education. Chapters can serve as advisers to local schools and organizations, assist in the development of curriculum for secondary school trade courses and adult education programs, and assist community colleges in preparing technician courses on concrete. Chapters can announce forthcoming evening extension classes or conferences and actively cooperate with educational institutions and industry associations in sponsoring such courses and conferences. In most cases, these courses should be self-supporting. ACI publications used in chapter cosponsored courses can be purchased from ACI at member prices and quantity discounts.
Technical service in the public good is a desirable activity of a chapter. It is, however, essential that chapters enter into such projects with care and in such a manner that chapter actions will conform to ACI policies, chartered aims, and standards. Chapters are encouraged to offer advice or solutions to local technical problems in the field of concrete and in which chapter members with special training and experience can be of service.
Chapters or their representatives may give technical advice related to building codes or other technical topics to an agent or group representing a government agency. As a safeguard to the chapter and to ACI, all such requests for technical advice must be in writing. Lobbying or activity to urge passage of legislation is an improper activity for a chapter and could be cause for the withdrawal of the chapter charter.
The recommendations of the chapter or its representative group must be in the form of technical advice. It cannot take the form of a resolution or recommendation outside technical lines. The chapter recommendation could be in the form of verbal testimony before a legislative committee or city department, or could take the form of a report by an individual designated by the chapter. Where the advice is prepared in writing, a “record copy” should be sent to the chapter Board and to ACI headquarters at the same time or before submission to the government agency.
In cases where chapters work with organizations where concrete problems and desirable practices are considered, care should be taken to avoid conflict with the work and recommendations of ACI technical committees. It must be emphasized that no inference can be made of any national status or acceptance of chapter committee reports. It is desirable for such committees to be active at the local level as long as it is made clear that they are speaking for the chapter and not for ACI. Suggestions and recommendations resulting from such committee work should be passed on to the ACI technical committee with expertise in the same topic for possible incorporation into their technical documents.
Technical publications of the Institute such as standards, journals, and symposium publications are developed through the efforts of individuals and committees utilizing careful review procedures under the direction of ACI’s Technical Activities Committee (TAC). Chapters may publish technical information to meet local needs due to local conditions or lack of published ACI information. Chapter technical publications must meet the same criteria for high quality as set for ACI technical publications and must be written in such a way so as to not be confused with, nor conflict with, other ACI documents.
After preparation by the chapter and review by the chapter’s technical activities committee, the report must be submitted to ACI’s TAC, Educational Activities Committee (EAC), or Certification Programs Committee (CPC) for review. The committee will review the quality and technical content of the document. If TAC, EAC, or CPC approves the document, the chapter may publish the report as a chapter document. Such reports will be considered the responsibility of the chapter and must be identified as a chapter publication. (At times, such a report may be considered for publication in an Institute periodical or used in development of ACI reports or standards.)
Chapters outside of the United States are permitted to publish conference proceedings in a language other than English provided that the chapter adheres to the following steps:
- Establish a local chapter review process for papers patterned after the ACI process;
- Include a page (or preface) in the volume describing the manuscript review and screening process for that conference;
- Publish a statement that the conference material was not reviewed by ACI; and
- Publish under a logo and name that emphasizes and gives credit to the chapter as publisher of the proceedings. A copy of any such publication should be sent to ACI headquarters.
A chapter may not establish a Standard Recommended Practice. This type of publication is the responsibility of ACI.
Hosting an ACI Convention
Chapters are encouraged to sponsor ACI conventions, which require a serious commitment of time by the chapter and are often scheduled as much as 5 years in advance. ACI has developed a guidebook to help Chapters understand how to plan and operate a successful convention.
Hosting an ACI Convention »
Meeting Planning and Events
When planning seminars and meeting programs, consider the fields of interest of chapter members. Generate subjects of interest to the majority of members while being open to the introduction of new subjects into the total program.
It is helpful to check the topics and attendances at seminars and programs in the past to judge what current interest levels might be. Talk to your members. Listen to what they’re saying. There are many sources for good programs in casual conversations. Send out surveys after a program; ask for feedback that will help improve the next program. Also, review the chapter section of Concrete International for programs offered by other chapters as a source of new ideas.
When organizing a seminar and program, ask the question, “If this event is not held, would it be missed?” Remember that every organization in your locality is planning programs. Make your programs essential to ensure high attendance.
When selecting speakers, try to obtain the best qualified person for any specific subject who is also an interesting speaker. Don’t hesitate to invite people from long distances; the request may have more success if the invitation is tied to a proposal to visit a local site of interest to them.
When inviting a speaker to present, it is important to maintain regular communication before, during, and after the meeting.
When researching locations to hold chapter meetings, seminars, or certification exams, remember that, when dealing with hotels, everything is negotiable. Despite the “rules” that the hotel employee may explain, bringing an event to the facility and the potential for repeat business is important to the hotel. Negotiate to obtain the best deal for your chapter.
Once you have arranged the location, begin organizing setup arrangements:
Head Table: If you will have a head table (not always suitable for a seminar), be sure that there are enough place settings. The President should select and invite appropriate individuals to sit at the head table. It is preferable not to seat anyone at the ends of the head table.
Check-In Table: A table and two chairs are needed for the chapter Secretary or Treasurer to check registrations and accept payments. Some chapters use tickets; others rely on badges. A small cash box (with sufficient change) is needed for those paying on-site. The check-in table may be inside or outside of the room but must be placed strategically to control the entrance.
Identification badges: Name badges help attendees become acquainted and are an easy way to control who has or has not paid. Identification with the chapter is important, especially when meetings are held in public places. Badges of different colors may be used for members and non-members and may encourage a non-member to apply for membership.
The speakers’ lectern, screen, and microphone should be behind and to one side of the speakers’ table whenever possible, especially when there is a technical program. Always provide a public address system. Many speakers lecture in low tones, and some may have an accent. Amplification makes dialogue more understandable.
For dinner meetings, the lectern should be in place before dinner begins. Ensure that the lectern light works and that the microphone is in place and functioning properly. Even if the chapter President does not use a microphone, it should be provided for the guest speakers, and tested in advance. If guest speakers use slides, overheads, or whiteboards, a lavaliere microphone allows more mobility.
It is the Program Chair’s responsibility to predetermine audio/visual needs and preferences, and to communicate with the individual or hotel representative in charge of arrangements. A laser pointer should always be provided.
Locate all room lights and know their switch positions in advance. Mark the switches, or keep a small diagram in your pocket. Designate someone to sit near and control the lights.
A seminar is a special type of program on a single subject that ranges from one-half to several days in length. One or more speakers who are experts in their field(s) discuss various aspects of the chosen subject, with visual aids such as PowerPoint presentations and videos. Payment of travel expenses is generally necessary, and sometimes payment of an honorarium is also provided.
The fee charged for the seminar should cover all of its expenses. Typical seminar expenses include promotional pieces, hotel meeting room fees, speaker expenses, food and beverage breaks, audio visual equipment rental, and handout materials. Technical publications if needed can be obtained through ACI headquarters.
Chapters and the ADA
For United States chapters, whenever a meeting, educational seminar, or certification exam is organized, it is a “public accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As such, you are required to make sure that the event is equally available to all parties, regardless of disabilities.
There are two points to consider in advance:
- Use an accessible facility; and
- Include a question on your registration form asking for information on any disability-related needs.
Accessible facilities are relatively easy to find. In fact, most hotels and restaurants meet the requirements. Ask the hotel representative to provide an accessible room.
On registration forms, provide disabled individuals with the opportunity to inform the chapter of their needs. A statement to consider adding to your registration form has been recommended by the Association on Higher Education and Disability:
“If you have a disability that may impact your participation in this activity, please check here and append a statement regarding your disability-related needs. Someone will contact you prior to the program to discuss accommodations. We cannot assure the availability of appropriate accommodations without prior notification of need.”
If you receive a request for additional accommodations, contact the person for more detail. The attendee must provide a reasonable amount of lead time to fulfill the special accommodation request. Requested assistance with mobility and note-taking could be fairly easy to provide using a volunteer chapter member. If the person is visually impaired, the chapter could make copies of handouts in large type or provide an audio tape of the seminar.
The chapter is only expected to incur costs that are reasonable. What is a reasonable expense to a large chapter may not be a reasonable expense to a small chapter. In the case of a certification exam, it is not the chapter’s responsibility to judge whether or not the individual could do the job if certified. The chapter’s only concern is whether or not the individual’s request for accommodation can be provided for and is reasonable.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs)
Awarding CEUs for chapter educational programs should be considered. Chapters are not required to obtain a license to award CEUs; however, the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) has fairly rigorous guidelines that must be followed. There are two sets of criteria, administrative and program, that are in place to ensure professional administration and high quality programs.
Administratively, the primary requirement is that a record of participation must be kept for 20 years and that this record is easily accessible. Chapters must have the ability to issue a “transcript” for each program attendee.
The program criteria state that there must be identified learning objectives, and a way to assess completion of the course. This could be as simple as stating that they attended. There must also be a clear form of evaluation of the program.
CEUs are awarded as 1.0 unit for every 10 contact hours of the program while PDHs equal one contact hour. Contact hours must exclude coffee breaks, lunch, and dinner, as well as any business portion of a meeting including announcements and welcoming speeches.
CEU criteria and guidelines available at www.IACET.org.
ACI certification programs may be available for sponsorship by ACI chapters. These programs are intended to improve the quality of concrete construction, testing, and inspection and can be an important link between your chapter and the concrete industry. ACI certification programs usually include a preliminary training course (although not required) followed by a written examination, and in most cases, a hands-on performance examination session. Chapters are encouraged to use ACI Certification workbooks while conducting training in conjunction with an ACI certification exam session because the exams are written from the resource material presented in the workbooks.
ACI Certification »
Role of the Sponsoring Group
ACI certification programs are administered by Sponsoring Groups (SGs). SGs are independent, nonprofit organizations authorized by ACI to conduct ACI certification examinations. In the United States, where no Sponsoring Group is actively administering a specific ACI program, the local ACI chapter (not a student chapter) shall have first rights to administer that specific exam. International sponsorship for any ACI examination will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Sponsoring Group Resources »
Although the ACI Certification Department will assist the SG in setting up its certification program, most of the work must be done at the local level. The SG is responsible for scheduling, arranging for facilities and personnel, obtaining materials and equipment, budgeting, handling local publicity, insuring that each examinee has access to all of the technical resource materials, collecting fees and paying invoices, and distributing certificates.
To carry out its responsibilities, the SG must establish a committee of at least three people. The composition of the committee should reflect various interests, such as governmental and private testing laboratories, owners, consulting engineers, architects, and contractors. To determine the likelihood of success in sponsoring a certification program, the committee should:
- Conduct an informal market survey to assess the interest of potential applicants.
- Estimate the costs of sponsoring the program and conducting the training course and/or examinations.
- Calculate the fees that must be charged to break even. If the fees seem too high to be attractive to the market, consider seeking underwriters for a part of the costs. Potential underwriters are those industrial organizations that would benefit from more qualified concrete construction personnel. Whenever possible, borrow facilities and equipment rather than renting or buying.
After weighing the various factors, decide whether to proceed and whether to offer a training course. If the decision is to proceed, the chapter must contact the ACI certification department for a SG application.
For more information about ACI certification programs and procedures, visit the “Certification” tab on ACI’s website.
Publishing Chapter News
Publishing chapter news and events in Concrete International (CI) magazine is a great way to get information about your chapter to ACI members and nonmembers. Due to space constraints, CI can’t promise to publish everything; however, staff will try to accommodate all submittals.
What is News?
Just about anything your chapter has done or is planning to do: upcoming meetings, speakers, seminars, tours, award programs, and special projects are all good items to submit. Let the public know well in advance what’s coming up. Advance publicity can help drive attendance.
Send information to be included on the magazine’s “Meetings” page. In addition, ACI members can post to the online events calendar, under “Events & Conventions.”
Add impact to your news report by including two to three photographs. Here are some tips:
- Digital photos should be taken at the highest resolution possible. Images need to be a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, sized at 6 x 4 in. for best magazine reproduction.
- Send images separate from text in JPEG or TIFF formats. Do not embed images in word processing documents.
- Color laser copies of digital photographs cannot be used.
- Identify everyone in the photo by name and title. Make sure names are spelled correctly.
Submit news items 3 months in advance of the scheduled event date. For example, if you want to publicize an event scheduled in July, you’ll want the item to appear in the June issue. The deadline for the June issue is April.
Typically, releases range in length from 150 words to a maximum of approximately 500 words and electronic submissions are encouraged. Be thorough, factual, and concise, and provide:
- Who—The name of the chapter. Use both first and last names of all individuals, title/position, company and affiliation, and other details.
- What—What’s this all about? Spell out the basic data.
- When—Day, date, location, etc. Don’t write “next Tuesday.” Instead, be specific: “Tuesday, June 5, 2012.”
- Where—The building, the address, the city.
- Why—A meeting, a tour, a seminar, a special project, etc.
If you have any questions, contact the Director of Chapter Activities.
The Chapter Student Activities Committee develops activities and programs for students. This committee’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to better understand concrete, its uses, and properties. ACI has a number of student activities that chapters can take advantage of. ACI Committee E801, Student Activities, offers several student competitions each year and often sponsors various student activities in coordination with Student and Young Professionals Activities Committee at ACI conventions. Chapters should encourage and sponsor local student involvement in these competitions.
ACI Student E-Membership
In an effort to provide students worldwide with the connections, resources, and opportunities to be successful in their studies and ultimately in their careers, ACI has made e-membership free and easily accessible through the internet.
Student E-Membership »
Student seminars are generally 1- or 2-day sessions covering a specific subject of interest to students. Speakers should be experts and preferably members of the local chapter, to minimize (or eliminate) speaker expenses.
Seminar fees should be held to a minimum and preferably free. Contributions from local industries and organizations should be solicited to cover expenses. Seminars should be held on days that interested students can attend without creating conflicts with their studies.
Short courses are a series of 2- to 3-hour evening or weekend sessions, generally conducted once or twice a week over a period of 3 to 8 weeks. Speakers should be local chapter members or faculty of appropriate learning institutions. One or a variety of subjects may be covered with a series of short courses following one another. Integrate short courses with the students’ educational programs and keep the courses complimentary to students. If expenses are encountered, raise funds through contributions from local industries and organizations.
The Faculty Network is a support group for educators interested in ACI and the concrete industry. Members of the network serve as the formal conduit between ACI and university students and receive notifications of interest to educators and students. The objective of the ACI Faculty Network is to encourage and support student interest in concrete engineering and construction through dissemination of educational, scholarship, and research information from various cement and concrete organizations.
ACI Faculty Network »
Student Projects and Competitions
Student projects are extracurricular activities by individual students or groups of students representing their school. Students may be able to earn credit for the work on these projects. Student projects are developed by either the local chapter or in conjunction with ACI Committee S801, Student Activities. The project should provide experience for the students in the design, construction, manufacture, use, and maintenance of concrete products and structures. Projects should offer competition among students or learning institutions, and should be judged by the local chapter or ACI Committee S801. The student or school judged to have the superior project should be recognized for the effort.
ACI Student Competitions are held the Sunday afternoon of each ACI convention. Your chapter can become involved with these competitions and increase the chapter’s profile at local colleges and universities.
ACI Student Competitions »
Career guidance provides students and other interested parties, including high school students, with information regarding educational and career opportunities. This can be done through presentations at local high schools, universities, vocational schools, or youth groups. If requested, provide personal counseling and information about working conditions, opportunities, and salaries. All areas of employment in the concrete and cement industries should be presented.
ACI Career Center »
Tours and field trips could be designed to give students a first-hand view and understanding of the concrete and cement industries. Tours should view actual work being performed and a detailed explanation of the task, along with substantial background information. Tours could include engineering offices, construction sites, cement plants, chemical production plants, ready-mixed concrete plants, and other related sites. Schedule tours so they do not interfere with classes, and avoid charging fees other than transportation costs.
Fellowships and Scholarships
The ACI Foundation focuses on helping students with an interest in concrete achieve their educational and career goals by offering various fellowships and scholarships. Chapters should encourage local students to apply for these highly prestigious scholarships and fellowships. Several ACI chapters offer scholarships to colleges or universities in their area. These vary from free ACI publications and chapter memberships to $15,000 or greater stipends. Opportunities for chapters to establish a named scholarship (minimum pledge of $30K) or a named fellowship (minimum of $75K) are also available through the Foundation.
ACI Foundation »
ACI offers an electronic student version of the Manual of Concrete Practice (MCP) that includes all of the ACI committee reports and standards included in the regular MCP, except for the building codes (ACI 318 and 530). The special edition is available to students free through their student membership. The purpose of this program is two-fold: 1) provide technical information to students and make them more aware of ACI; and 2) provide chapters with a program of interest to the universities giving chapters the opportunity to interface with the university, which may result in improved relationships between chapters and local universities.
The chapter may sponsor student chapters at local universities, colleges, and technical and trade schools. Student chapters are extensions of the chapter and, therefore, must be monitored by the chapter. The advisor of the student chapter should be a member of the chapter’s Student Activities Committee.
The Student Activities Committee should maintain a membership list, including all alumni of the student chapter. The committee should encourage all student chapter members to become members of both the local chapter and of ACI. A member of the Student Activities Committee should act as liaison to the student chapter to advise and coordinate the student activities.
To form an ACI student chapter, an advisor—who is an ACI member, a faculty member, and a member of the chapter—is selected, and 15 students must sign a Student Chapter Formation Petition. The petition is submitted by the chapter to ACI along with a draft of the student chapter’s bylaws for approval. ACI will consider a Student Chapter Formation Petition in situations where a sponsoring chapter does not exist.
Once approved, the student chapter is responsible for balloting/final approval of bylaws, electing officers, establishing a dues structure (if desired), and developing programs of interest to students.
The student chapter is a sub-section of the ACI chapter, and as with all ACI chapters, may not speak on behalf of ACI or the local ACI chapter. The ACI chapter should monitor the actions of the student chapter and should be aware of the student programs and activities. The ACI chapter Board may withdraw its sponsorship of the student chapter if the student chapter activities are deemed improper, and may recommend to ACI that the student chapter be disbanded. A list of the chapter responsibilities is shown below:
Sponsoring ACI Chapter Responsibilities
The ACI chapter sponsoring the formation of a student chapter has the following responsibilities:
- Form a Student Activities Committee;
- Assign a chapter officer (Chair or member of the Student Activities Committee is preferable) to act as a liaison with the student chapter. This is usually the student chapter’s advisor;
- Encourage the President of the student chapter or another officer to attend ACI Chapter Board meetings;
- Encourage the student chapter’s advisor to attend student chapter Board meetings;
- Sponsor one meeting per year that is a student activities meeting;
- Recommend sponsorship of educational seminars on the local campus each year;
- Purchase ACI publications at cost for use in the student chapter library, if desired; and
- Approve the bylaws of the student chapter. ACI will assist with the review of the student chapter bylaws, if required.
Student Chapter Responsibilities
The student chapter has the following responsibilities:
- Develop bylaws. (These must be approved by the local ACI chapter, ACI staff, and ACI’s Chapter Activities Committee);
- Elect officers;
- Establish dues;
- Maintain bank account;
- Prepare agendas and minutes for all meetings other than social events;
- Keep the ACI chapter informed of its plans, programs, and activities; and
- Submit bylaws and annual reports to ACI headquarters and to the chapter.
Student activities may include, but are not limited to, ACI student competitions, fundraising efforts, newsletters, seminars, and work-study programs. Student chapters are encouraged to submit recaps and photographs of meetings to ACI for inclusion in Concrete International.
If the student chapter has a library, it must be under the control of the student advisor. The student chapter may wish to have a chapter Secretary; however, a permanent copy of all activities must be maintained by the student advisor.
It is the responsibility of the student chapter’s advisor to ensure that these guidelines are followed.
ACI will assist in the organization of student chapters in North America, and if requested, will attend the organizational meeting with local chapter and university representatives. While it is up to the ACI chapter to assist the student chapter with a majority of their needs, a list of services provided by ACI headquarters is shown as follows:
- “The ABC’s of Parliamentary Procedure” pamphlet for running meetings;
- An ACI student chapter banner and charter;
- Discounts for student chapter members on educational seminars;
- Committee membership. Upon request, the student advisor’s name will be submitted for membership (or corresponding membership, if he cannot attend the meetings) on ACI Committee S801, Student Activities;
- Publication of the activities of student chapters in Concrete International and social media;
- ACI publications available at cost for use in the student chapter library;
- Chapter assistance with review of student chapter bylaws; and
- Graphic design support in creating a chapter logo.
Requirements for U.S. Chapters
Incorporation and Nonprofit Status
Chapters should be incorporated and file for a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. In the United States, incorporation helps protect the chapter’s officers from potential financial liability. ACI chapters are separate legal entities from ACI. As a separate legal entity, each chapter is required to file its own reports with governmental authorities, as well as pay any fees or taxes. This means that each chapter must incorporate itself and obtain its own tax-exempt status.
Incorporation is a way to gain recognition as a tax-exempt organization. If your chapter is not incorporated, it is known as an “unincorporated association.” As such, the chapter can enter into contracts, sue, and be sued in its own name. The primary distinction between an unincorporated association and an incorporated chapter is the ultimate liability of the members for any debts or other legal obligations of the chapter. In an unincorporated association, the members are personally liable for the debts and other legal obligations of the chapter. In an incorporated chapter, the members are not personally liable. For example, if someone slips and falls at a chapter meeting, the injured party could sue the unincorporated association and all of its members.
Laws concerning incorporation and tax-exempt nonprofit status vary by state, province, and country. The chapter should determine the requirements for registration as a nonprofit organization.
In the United States, chapters may take advantage of postal rate savings. To do this, the chapter must be approved by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The chapter must then obtain a nonprofit bulk mailing permit from their local post office. The cost of this permit is minimal. This permit allows the chapter to print/stamp the nonprofit mailing indicia onto mailing pieces. Contact your local post office for more information.
It is required that all officers know and understand U.S. antitrust regulations. Relevant federal antitrust laws include:
- The Sherman Act , which “prohibits contracts, combinations, or conspiracies in restraint of trade”;
- The Clayton Act , which “creates a private right to sue for Sherman Act violations”;
- The Robinson-Patman Act , which “prohibits price discrimination where the effect is to lessen competition”; and
- The Federal Trade Commission Act (Section 5), which bans unfair acts or methods of competition.
Antitrust violations are serious and the government may bring either a civil or criminal suit against the organizations or individuals involved. The penalty for a criminal action can be a fine of up to $1,000,000 for a corporation or $100,000 for individuals and/or imprisonment.
Example of Antitrust Violations
The request for multiple Sponsoring Groups (SGs) to coordinate pricing is a perfect example of a per-se violation which is defined as an agreement, conspiracy, or contract that violates The Sherman Antitrust Act. It doesn’t matter if the intent of the violation was not anti-competitive; the SGs could still be found guilty. Just having a conference call to discuss a price fixing request could expose each SG to huge liability. Again, it doesn’t matter if the intent was not anti-competitive, just the appearance (or accusation) of anti-competitive behavior can cost your group thousands of dollars in legal defense.
It is, of course, completely acceptable for any large employer to try to negotiate special terms for its own employees. However, this negotiation must be done with each SG individually, not collectively.
In response, we asked each group to immediately cease discussing the request. To further protect each SG, ACI recommended each document the rejection of such a request in writing in their board minutes. Also, recommended was a written rejection under the grounds that the request is not an appropriate way to conduct business under accepted U.S. practices. Anytime you encounter a situation that raises anti-trust red flags, contact John Conn, Director of Chapter Activities for guidance.
Antitrust Guidelines »
Filing Taxes with the IRS
Chapters are not covered under ACI’s tax-exempt status and, in the United States, must file for tax-exempt status. Recognition as a tax-exempt organization is granted by the Internal Revenue Service. Click here for information on becoming tax-exempt.
Downloadable instructions and forms include:
Apply to the IRS for an employer identification number (required even if you have no employees).
One common misconception is the chapter will never have to pay taxes if it has received tax-exempt status. Tax-exempt status means that the chapter does not pay corporate federal income tax on income from activities that are substantially related to the purposes for which the chapter was given the exemption. The chapter would have to pay taxes on any “unrelated business income.” For example, if the chapter had advertising income (advertising revenues minus printing costs) from their newsletter or directory, Form 990T must be filed for Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). For more information on unrelated business income, contact your local tax preparer. Filing of tax returns is the responsibility of the chapter. Chapter tax returns are not prepared or approved by ACI headquarters.
990-N Tax Postcard Filing Service
ACI will complete and submit the 990-N E-Postcard on behalf of your Chapter, assuming gross receipts are under $50,000. If you would like ACI to file your 990-N, contact the Chapter Activities Coordinator.
Who must file Form 990-N (e-Postcard)?
Under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, most small tax-exempt organizations whose gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less must file Form 990-N, Electronic Notice (e-Postcard) for Tax-Exempt Organizations not Required To File Form 990 or 990-EZ. Before this law was enacted, these small organizations were not required to file annually with the IRS. The first filings were due in 2008 for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2007.
When is the e-Postcard due? How often do I need to file?
The e-Postcard is due every year by the 15th day of the 5th month after the close of your tax year (usually the same as your accounting period). For example, if your tax year ended on December 31, the e-Postcard is due May 15 of the following year. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is the next business day.
If you do not file your e-Postcard on time, the IRS may send you a reminder notice but you will not be assessed a penalty for late filing the e-Postcard. However, an organization that fails to file required e-Postcards (or information returns—Forms 990 or 990-EZ) for 3 consecutive years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status. The automatic revocation of the organization’s tax-exempt status will not take place until the filing due date of the third year.
Programs for International Chapters
At times, it may be more challenging for international chapters to access some of the resources available to North American chapters. To give assistance to international chapters, the ACI Board of Direction has approved the following programs:
Airmail Shipment of Concrete International and Periodicals
Since it takes months for members in some countries to receive Concrete International and the ACI Journals, upon request, ACI will airmail a complimentary copy of each of these periodicals to international chapters. The chapter can write abstracts of the articles in these periodicals and include the abstracts in their chapter newsletters so that the members may be aware of the latest information available prior to receiving their own individual copy.
Consignment of ACI Publications
ACI enters into a consignment agreement with chapters that want to make ACI publications available locally to their members. The chapters may select up to 12 ACI publications. ACI will ship five copies of each publication (except for the Manual of Concrete Practice, which is limited to three copies) to the chapter on consignment (meaning you don’t pay for it at that time).
When any of these publications are sold, the chapter sends the payment to ACI. When payment is received, ACI headquarters mails the chapter a replacement copy.
By December 31 of each year, the chapter must send a list of the publications being held on consignment to ACI for record verification.
Chapters are charged member price for all publications. Chapters must make publications available to ACI members at member price and sales to non-members must be made at non-member price.
A chapter officer must sign the Consignment Agreement.
If a publication on consignment is revised, ACI will furnish copies of the new edition. When the new edition is received, chapters should mail the front covers of the old edition still in stock to ACI’s Executive Vice President.
Chapters outside of the United States have special rules, including permission to publish conference proceedings in a language other than English provided that, in each case, the chapter adheres to the following requirements:
- Establish a local chapter review process for papers patterned after the ACI process;
- Include a page (or preface) in the volume describing the manuscript review and screening process for that conference;
- Publish a statement that the conference material was not reviewed by ACI; and
- Publish under a logo and name that emphasizes and gives credit to the chapter as publisher of the proceedings. A copy of any such publication should be sent to ACI headquarters.
A chapter may not establish a Standard Recommended Practice. This type of publication is the responsibility of ACI.
Support Available to ACI Chapters
Chapter Activities Committee
The Chapter Activities Committee (CAC) is an ACI Board-level committee and acts as the liaison between chapters and ACI’s Board of Direction. Its mission is to manage the affairs of the institute involving the policies directed to the establishment and operation of chapters. The Chapter Activities Committee meets twice a year during ACI conventions. During this time, it considers new policies and revisions to current policies, monitors activities of chapters, and makes recommendations to the Board.
CAC is made up of chapter representatives appointed by the ACI President. Each usually serving a 3-year term. To assist the President in the selection, each chapter is invited to nominate individuals who would be willing to serve. Nominees must be able to attend at least one ACI convention each year and provide strategic input regarding chapter activities. If your chapter has questions or considerations that they would like the Chapter Activities Committee to review, email them to ACI’s Director of Chapter Activities.
Chapter Leadership Training and Roundtable Meetings
Chapter Officer Training and Roundtable Meetings are conducted by ACI bi-annually to bring together chapter officers to meet the ACI President, Chair of the Chapter Activities Committee, and ACI staff members. Roundtables assist in the development of newly elected chapter officers and are an opportunity to exchange ideas with other chapters, update chapters on ACI’s activities, and improve communications.
The chapter may send up to two representatives and ACI will cover a portion of the travel expenses.
Officer Training and Roundtable »
Outstanding and Excellent Chapter Awards
The Outstanding and Excellent Chapters Awards program was instituted to recognize chapter efforts. The criteria for these awards ensure that all chapters, large and small, new and seasoned, receive consideration. Points are given for the level of achievement in each category of activity, and are based on information provided on the annual chapter report.
ACI Chapter Awards »
Chapter Personnel Awards
The Chapter Activities Award was founded in 1975 to recognize outstanding service in the promotion and development of a chapter or chapters by a member of ACI. The nominee must me an ACI member. Nominations are submitted by chapters to the Chapter Activities Award Committee (CAAC) in the spring and presented to the ACI Board of Direction at The ACI Concrete Convention and Exposition in the fall for approval. Awards are presented to awardees at the ACI Convention the following year.
Chapter Personnel Awards »
ACI Honors and Awards
Did you know that ACI has 13 award programs designed to recognize individuals for their contribution to the advancement of the concrete industry? All awards are granted by the ACI Board of Direction on the recommendation of an Awards Committee. The designated recipients are invited to attend the annual spring ACI Concrete Convention and Exposition to receive their recognition. The available awards are:
- ACI Certification Award
- Arthur R. Anderson Award
- ACI Distinguished Achievement Award
- Roger H. Corbetta Concrete Constructor Award
- Joe W. Kelly Award
- Henry L. Kennedy Award
- Alfred E. Lindau Award
- Henry C. Turner Medal
- Charles S. Whitney Medal
- Cedric Willson Lightweight Aggregate Concrete Award
- ACI Young Member Award for Professional Achievement
- Walter P. Moore, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award
- ACI Concrete Sustainability Award
Honors and Awards »
Chapter Home Page and ACI Event Calendar
Your ACI provided chapter home page on www.concrete.org will make your chapter and its activities more visible. You may also post special events, meetings and certification training dates on the ACI Event Calendar.
Chapter Listing »
ACI Event Calendar »
Chapter Stationery and the ACI Logo
ACI chapters may use the ACI logo on items such as letterhead, envelopes, and membership applications; however, the ACI logo may not be used without the chapter name included. It is also mandatory that the name of the chapter be large and displayed more prominently than the ACI logo. It must be clear to anyone that the material is from the chapter and not ACI. ACI will design chapter logos at no cost. If you would like to take advantage of this service, contact the Director of Chapter Activities.
Insurance and Indemnification
ACI provides general liability insurance coverage to all chapters in the United States and Canada. It is mandatory that chapters participate in this program. This policy provides broad coverage, including litigation fees for the chapter and its officers for some of the common forms of liability that might be incurred by an organization. Coverage includes host liability, bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury.
The liability insurance policy does not cover directors’ and officers’ mismanagement. It also does not cover certification activities. Recognizing this, the ACI Board of Direction has indemnified those acting on ACI’s behalf. Officers and chapter members working on the certification programs are covered by ACI’s insurance policy.
ACI headquarters should be notified immediately if a chapter is being sued or if there is a possibility of legal action. ACI will assist you in how to proceed and seek advice of legal counsel for assistance, if necessary.
Additional liability coverage is available upon request for functions requiring extra coverage. Request certificates at least one to two months in advance of the event or function.
Other Items Available to Chapters
ACI provides various items including extra chapter banners, award plaques, and membership information/promotional materials for chapters planning an exhibit or seminar. Contact lists for ACI members within your chapter’s boundaries are also available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why form a chapter?
ACI chapters provide a local grass-roots platform for individuals and groups to network, discuss, and disseminate technical and educational information on concrete.
Can chapters be formed outside of the United States?
Yes—chapters are located worldwide—where ever there is an interest in concrete.
What assistance is available?
Dedicated staff is available to answer questions and there are various online tools, including this Chapter Guide. ACI will provide lists of ACI members within the chapters’ boundaries.
What is the first step in forming an ACI chapter?
Contact ACI for a list of ACI members in the proposed chapter area. Conduct a survey or hold a meeting to determine interest in forming a local chapter. If there is sufficient interest, obtain the required number of ACI member signatures for the organizing petition. Only ACI members can sign the petition; however, nonmembers of ACI can still participate in the chapter.
How many ACI members are required to form a chapter?
In the United States, at least 50 ACI members must live within the area and 25 current ACI members who live within the boundaries of the proposed chapter must sign the organizing petition. Outside of the United States, signatures from 15 ACI members who live within the proposed boundaries are required. If there are not enough ACI members in an area, a membership drive will be necessary. Industry-related individuals may be solicited to join ACI to help launch the new chapter. Once the chapter is operating, there are no minimum membership requirements as long as the chapter remains active, submits an annual report, and is accomplishing its objectives.
Can a local group (such as an engineering society or ready mix concrete association) be involved in chapter formation?
Yes, but the chapter must operate as a separate/independent entity. Some chapters house their chapter office in the facilities of another local organization. ACI chapters are intended to be exclusively educational and networking organizations. No part of an ACI chapter’s efforts can be directed towards promoting the use of concrete or raising funds to promote concrete use.
What does ACI expect from a chapter?
ACI chapters are expected to adhere to the policies described in this Chapter Guide, submit an annual report, and maintain a line of communication with ACI of the needs of chapter members.
Can chapter members speak on behalf of ACI?
No. Chapters and/or chapter members may not speak on behalf of ACI unless authorized by the ACI Board of Direction. However, chapters may give technical advice.
What is the secret to a successful ACI chapter?
Communicate with your members, identify needs, and develop programs to meet those needs.
Must chapter members be ACI members?
No. Anyone interested in concrete may join a chapter. However, only ACI members may sign the organizing petition and participate as chapter officers and Board members.
How often should a chapter have meetings?
This depends on the size of the area the chapter covers and the interest of the chapter members. Some chapters meet monthly while others meet only once a year. Some have Board and committee meetings frequently but only one annual general membership meeting. In other words, the chapter should meet as often as necessary to meet the needs of the chapter’s membership.
How does a chapter raise funds?
Chapter members pay annual dues, which vary from chapter to chapter. Additionally, chapters raise funds through organizing educational seminars and certification programs, among other activities.
What types of programs do most chapters have?
Chapter activities vary depending on the need of chapter members. Many chapters are involved in educational seminars, meetings with technical speakers, certification programs, short courses, social/networking events, awards programs, student scholarships, chapter newsletters, technical publications, ACI conventions, community service projects, and other activities.
Does ACI dictate what programs should be conducted by the chapter?
No. However, ACI’s Professional Development Department conducts over 20 custom Seminars throughout the United States and Canada and often co-sponsors these with chapters. ACI also has several technical presentations delivered by ACI staff available for free or minimal cost to the chapters. See Chapter Talk Programs for more information.
Must all chapter meetings cover technical subjects?
No. Some chapters have focused on general subjects like the legal liabilities of engineers and contractors. Also, many ACI chapters conduct chapter awards programs or host social/networking events.
Can ACI chapters publish technical, educational, or certification publications?
Yes. However, they must be reviewed and approved by ACI’s Technical Activities Committee (TAC), Educational Activities Committee (EAC), or Certification Programs Committee (CPC) prior to publication.
Will ACI help the chapter establish a library of ACI literature?
No. The chapter library program has been discontinued; however, a chapter officer may purchase books using an ACI member discount to create a library for the chapter or purchase books on consignment to sell to chapter members (who are not eligible for the ACI member discount).
What support will ACI provide?
Support services provided by ACI include dedicated staff support; the chapter guide; model bylaws; a chapter web page; event calendar; co-sponsorship of international events; chapter award program; chapter activities award (personal); liability insurance program; coverage in Concrete International; chapter officer training/roundtables; a contact list of ACI members; and e-mail updates.
Should ACI chapters incorporate?
Yes. Every chapter (where applicable) should incorporate. Without incorporation, the chapter’s officers could be held personally liable in a lawsuit (chapters in the United States and Canada are required to purchase group liability insurance through ACI). Also, chapters in the United States should apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS. This status not only exempts United States chapters from paying federal and state income taxes, but also sales taxes on items purchased. Legal counsel should be retained as laws vary among states, provinces, and countries.
Is an ACI chapter covered under the ACI tax-exempt status?
No. Chapters are independent of ACI and must apply for tax-exempt status. It is the intent of ACI that the chapters manage their own affairs. Tax-exempt status for ACI domestic chapters is routinely approved by the Internal Revenue Service. Chapters in other countries should investigate their own country’s laws on tax exemptions.
Are ACI chapters covered by insurance?
In the United States and Canada, chapters are covered under ACI’s General Liability Policy. Eligible chapters are assessed at the beginning of the year for an equal share of the actual cost of the insurance. The policy provides coverage for typical liabilities.
Can chapters develop a website?
ACI provides each chapter with a chapter home page, which contains useful tools for organizing chapter information and communicating with chapter members. Chapters are also free to develop their own third-party websites that can be linked to the ACI website.
Does ACI provide assistance to chapters outside the United States?
Yes. ACI provides copies of Concrete International and ACI Journals by air mail for the chapter Secretary to review for upcoming events, to use as news items in the chapter’s newsletters, and for use in the chapter library. International chapters are also eligible for a limited consignment program on ACI publications. Additionally, the ACI Professional Development Department and the ACI Certification Department assist international chapters in organizing seminars and certification programs in their country.
What are ACI student chapters?
A student chapter is a section of the local chapter, is organized by the local chapter, and is the responsibility of the local chapter. Student chapters are a great way to involve local universities in chapter activities.
How does ACI recognize chapters who have the best programs?
ACI annually recognizes chapters whose performance is considered excellent or outstanding through the Outstanding and Excellent Chapter Awards program. This recognition is based on the activities the chapter describes in its annual report.
Can chapters reach out to other chapters to discuss common problems?
Yes. Contact information for all chapters is located under the “Chapters” tab of ACI’s website. You may also connect with ACI Chapter Activities staff and other chapters through LinkedIn and Facebook.