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Looking Back – CFA Celebrates 30 Years

The Concrete Foundations Association will celebrate its 30th Anniversary at this summer’s meeting in San Francisco. What’s even harder to believe is that I will have been with the Association for nearly half of those years (14 to be exact). There have been a lot of changes in the industry and the Association during the past 14 years – most of them good.

The poured wall industry continues to grow and expand. Areas experiencing the biggest growth are areas where concrete masonry was once the material of choice. The poured wall industry has become more mechanized with boom trucks, conveyors, concrete pumps, stone shooters and a host of other labor saving devices. Concrete blocks must still be laid one at a time.

Technology has also had an impact on the industry. CAD systems enable contractors to enter basic details about the foundation and receive a printout that modulates the forms, calculates the concrete volume and provides data for layout. CAD systems, coupled with robotic layout systems have enabled foundation contractors to layout a foundation quicker, with fewer person-hours, and with much greater accuracy.

Cell phone technology has advanced, making communications easier. Global positioning systems allow a dispatcher sitting in his office to know where every one of his vehicles is at any given time. Digital photography allows you to take inexpensive, portable, and quality photos of a job site or job conditions. Web cameras allow you to track what’s happening on your job site 24 hours per day while sitting in the comfort of your office – or living room if you prefer. Web-based information systems allow you to do structural calculations on the wall and share project information.

The Association has also changed. Total membership has more than doubled, to over 350 members. The CFA’s publication, once a drab, 4-page, intermittently published newsletter, is now published 6 times per year in full color, and is regularly 32 pages or more. We spearhead research and represent the industry on a variety of national code and regulatory bodies. Several CFA chapters have been born and we now have regional meetings (scaled down versions of our summer meetings) twice a year.

The members themselves are also changing. I see numerous second-generation businesses where sons and daughters are taking over where mom and dad left off. Younger members are more technologically savvy and are open to new ideas but they work just as hard as their mentors.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is what has made the CFA great. It’s the kindness, openness, and friendliness of the members. Members have always been willing to share their ideas and knowledge, their triumphs and their failures, and their opinions, all for the better of the industry. The networking, both formal and informal between members, and the friendships that have developed as a result in participation in the CFA, remains the primary reason people belong. Let’s hope that is one thing that never changes.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA
esauter@cfawalls.org

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us