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40 Is The New 30!

So what does it look like for an association to turn the calendar to its 41st year?

This is a particularly poignant question one might ask in an industry that is as pressing and full of hard work as that of the concrete industry.  But what of the people, the places and the technologies found throughout the industry today tell the story of forty years of development, education, research and tradition; that is where you will find the real answers to what an association looks like at 40 and more importantly, what it might look like in another 40.

This past August, the largest gathering of poured wall contractors, the Annual CFA Convention took place in Sandusky, Ohio. CFA Executive Director, Ed Sauter challenged those in attendance to recall the history of the Association as he entertained with images and stories of the past. A rich and robust timeline was unveiled demonstrating the achievements and the aggressive maintenance of this industry through the leadership of the CFA. Much of this timeline directly answers the goals set out by the founding members you may recall published in a previous edition (June 2014). The chronology of the CFA over 40 years of tireless volunteering, dedicated leadership and industry evolution has been modeled as you see below. The CFA website carries significant histories for the presidents that have served beginning with Larry Clark (Michigan) in 1975 and currently under the leadership of David Martinson (Iowa) as well as histories of the project and professional awards.

CFA History Timeline

Beginning in 2000, the CFA made a decisive move to become the technical leader for the industry.  Since that time, four editions of the CFA’s own mandatory language document, the CFA Standard, have been published; four editions of ACI 332 Requirements for Residential Concrete have been published; three editions of the International Residential Code have referenced the information published in these documents; online design software has been offered; OSHA regulation positions have been established; cold weather impact to walls and footings have been researched and published; and technical resources for design and construction as well as dozens of presentations have been delivered.

Perhaps the most surprising element of CFA history has been the evolution of membership. Initially, seventeen companies from eleven states set out to establish a network where sharing and development could broaden the access to knowledge and opportunity.   In 1993, with Ed Sauter taking the direction of the Association, an aggressive growth initiative was put in place.  By 2001 the CFA had grown to over 300 members and by 2006, 400 companies were engaged and represented by the CFA.  Recession then became the reality and year by year companies made the difficult decision to leave a network that continued to support and strengthen the position of the industry. By 2012 the number of companies active in the CFA had fallen to nearly 150. Today, that number is once again growing as current membership stands at 185.  Reading this article, if your company is not a current member or if you have your doubts, contact CFA headquarters and make this change happen. The strength of an industry network comes only from the breadth and depth of its leadership and structure, no different than the foundations you are involved.  The founding members that gathered in Sandusky, Ohio this past August for Convention, surprised at how many of them were still around, all echoed the same statement;  “we could never have dreamed that this Association would start from such humble beginnings to become as effective, powerful and resilient as the CFA is today.”

Beginning this winter, establish your company among the true leadership of an industry. Take advantage of the CFA’s position as co-sponsor for the World of Concrete and register with code A30. Those that do identify themselves as foundation contractors and together become one of the largest demographic groups represented at the World of Concrete each year.  As the founding members did so many years ago and the leaders that followed them demonstrated, your next step is to get off the sidelines and invest in your company in a very small way that will generate unparalleled returns.  “Every level of your company will be refined by becoming a CFA member,” states Doug Herbert of Herbert Construction (Georgia).  Not only is there something for everyone in the CFA, there is everything for everyone.

As the Association continues the celebration of 40 years, the commitment to the industry is every bit as great and even more so than it was at the start and ten years ago at its high point.  The 41st year that lies ahead will be one to not miss being part of.

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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