TAKE A MOMENT TO TALK WITH ANY CFA BOARD MEMBER AND YOU WILL QUICKLY FIND OUT THAT WHILE THE INVESTMENT OF TIME AND MONEY CAN BE SIGNIFICANT THE THREE-YEAR TERM, THE VALUE THEY RECEIVE IS FAR GREATER THAN ANYTHING THEY COULD POSSIBLY INVEST.
MIKE REED of Reed Concrete in Ephrata, PA; MARY WILSON of Michel Concrete in Springfield, IL and TOM BROWN of TJ Construction in Ely, IA all echo this thought and have been elected to another three-year term each.
A CFA Board member is asked to attend four meetings per year. One occurs at Annual Convention in the summer, one occurs at World of Concrete and then a spring and fall meeting each occur with the ACI Convention in its location. This maximizes the leadership opportunity in our Association for code and standard development.
Many CFA members, both Board and at large, are active members on important ACI committees. Additionally, the CFA tries to maximize the opportunity for participation of the board members and engage the leadership frequently. These occur through periodic teleconferences and frequent email conversations.
This year, four new members have been elected to serve your needs and direction for the next three years. They are JOSH ESKER of J.B. Esker & Sons in Teutopolis, IL; JASON ELLS of Custom Concrete in Westfield, IN; ANDY STACHLER of Stachler Concrete in St. Henry, OH and DAN BUSER of Dandee Concrete in Kearney, NE.
We took some time with each of these new Board members following the Annual Convention to get some thoughts on their expectation and anticipation for joining the Board.
CFA: Guys, the position of CFA board member can require a fair amount of your time and focus over the next three years. What would you say inspires you to volunteer this time to the CFA?
Andy: After increasing my participation in the Association, I want to better my knowledge. Becoming active as a Board member, meeting and talking to others in our industry more regularly, is the best way to do this.
Josh: My father was both a Board member and served as president of the Board. Following in his footsteps is important to me. I was able to see the direct benefit of his involvement on our company and I want to keep that legacy alive.
Jason: The CFA has been a wonderful association to be a member of and I know that Custom Concrete has benefited from the relationship. My desire is that the time I spend on the board will be mutually beneficial to both the CFA and Custom Concrete. I hope to build long lasting relationships with the fellow board members and to gain some knowledge and wisdom from the group while offering my assistance when applicable.
Dan: We’re turning down work every day. It’s crazy out here. I’ve got a lot of help from the Association and felt I could give a little back. I also think you learn a lot more by becoming a part of something rather than sitting on the sidelines. It’s like being part of the Home Builders Association. If you don’t get involved and protect your industry, you end up paying he consequences. I know at the political level and in some ways the HBA level, if you don’t get involved, you can easily find yourself being pushed out of business because you haven’t voiced your concern and stood up for your beliefs. While not being involved in the CFA won’t likely push you out of business, it can have a significant impact on your ability to stay in business and even grow. You are connected with so many experienced and valuable peers in this network that really do share.
CFA: Those are all very admirable reasons and I can sense the anticipation you each have both for the CFA and for your companies. Legacy is important and yet, while many of our members are multi-generation members, we are experiencing a strong growth in membership bringing new professionals and companies to our network. It is important for each of them to get a sense of both legacy and new energy. Can you tell me what your earliest memory is of the CFA?
Jason: I’m not sure of the year, probably 1999 or 2000, I went to a CFA meeting during the World of Concrete in New Orleans. I was so impressed with the number of other companies like us from all over the country. I was intrigued to hear the conversations pertaining to projects, success, and opportunity in other markets.
Andy: My father, Homer, has been going to the summer CFA conventions for a number of years and telling me I should go. I always seemed to be to busy with work and used that as an excuse. This year, after going to Kalahari, I plan not to make that excuse anymore.
Dan: Convention in Breckenridge (2004). Meetings were good and my wife went walking in the mountains to enjoy the scenery so that I could focus on the business. The social events opened my eyes to new people and sharing with great peers. You learn more from talking with other contractors than you ever could from the educational sessions. That being said, the education at this event is first rate and has proven to be a stimulus for expanding your horizons and your knowledge base. Everybody has different ideas and beliefs but until you expose yourself to peers that are outside of your region, you really won’t understand the measure of sharing and how that can affect you.
Josh: I have been going to CFA summer meeting since I was five or six years old. The experiences I had then are nearly identical to what I still see taking place today. There are kids of all ages and sizes playing with each other and remembering the fun they have once each year. However, the earliest meeting that I can still remember would be Niagara Falls, Ontario.
CFA: The Niagara Falls event was my first one joining the CFA staff. It was a tremendous event and had such a rich combination of heritage and new energy. It was also the first time I had seen such a huge display of technology outside of the World of Concrete. The pumps filled the parking lot outside the hotel and even the local newspaper covered it in amazement. Speaking of heritage and legacy, can you guys describe an individual or more than one that particularly influenced your career from CFA membership? I know we have second and third generation among you.
Dan: Mary Wilson (Michel Concrete, Springfield, IL). I really enjoy talking with her. She has some great ideas and runs a heck of a business. She has burst onto the CFA scene with energy and has published articles, worked on fall protection and challenged me to think more.
Josh: The obvious answer is my dad and my grandpa who started this whole thing. However, in terms of career influence I would also have to say Arie Van Wyk from Wisconsin. Everyone does the job a little different than the next guy but Arie has always been an innovator and a free spirit that could never be denied solutions or directions to success.
Speed networking is one of the most popular events at CFA’s Annual Convention were everyone meets ten people in the first thirty minutes.
Andy: I’d have to say my dad. The knowledge that he brought back after meetings always gave me a different perspective of how I look at separate ideas that I would have never thought of before.
Jason: As a Custom Concrete employee, Joe Carr and Brad Schrock have both been very influential in my career.
CFA: Jason, you follow in a rich line of leadership as both were past CFA Board members and past presidents. The impact they have had on your company has certainly also been evidenced and felt by an entire Association. What would each of you say is the one thing you would like to be able to say has been achieved by the CFA during your time of service?
Dan: Membership growth. I think we all need to reach out to those we know and get them involved. The guys involved in my area, while competitive to me, will get just as much out of this as I do because they will connect with someone from a different region. We’re all busy and we can all use the opportunity to grow and as we do it, the market improves because we all become better companies.
Andy: Doubling the membership to get more people on board. Two minds are better than one so the more people we can have get together, the better off we are.
Jason: As a brand new member it may be too early to truthfully respond to this answer but I do agree that growth is something that will be beneficial. I hope to see more of the Board discussion and action items to determine what my top goals and anticipations are.
Josh: I would have to echo Andy’s sentiments and say growth. We are sustainable but most importantly effective if we truly represent the industry in our numbers.
CFA: That is an aggressive goal, to be sure Andy, but an attainable goal. This is especially reachable when you recognize there are still more than 6,000 poured wall contractors out there. Even a number of 10% is conservative to describe those that are truly leaders in the industry and therefore likely to immediately recognize the benefits and the opportunities. My last question for you guys is to see if any one of you might identify or know of one area of the country you think would benefit the most from the CFA network hosting a Convention there, what do you think it would be? Realizing the CFA network learns as much from each other or from an area, what do you think might be learned from that same area?
Andy: I think we need to keep them around the Midwest and East Coast. Most of the current membership seems to be in this area and the event certainly benefits from numbers. Making it easiest for the highest percentage of membership and also industry is important. World of Concrete is stationary in the west and we have a large event there as well. Unless they move the world of concrete around, it makes traveling a little nicer for the Easteners to participate more often. However, in order to best learn from where we host the event, I would say it sure would be nice to have it close to a contractor that lets us do a walk-thru like Solid Rock Foundations (Bellevue, OH) did this past year or a vendor like Irving Equipment (Tiffin, OH) who had an awesome set up to let us check out their facility. Engaging other contractors at these events is so easy when we’re all looking at ourselves through the processes and products of our peers.
Jason: Well said, Andy.
Dan: I really like the Midwest, Chicago to the Rocky Mountains. We all have many of the same practices and ideas but with different risks and influences. It is easier for me to jump into a conversation about my business. However, I also know that exposure to companies outside this region will benefit me as I see their challenges and their requirements.
IF YOU DON’T GET INVOLVED AND PROTECT YOUR INDUSTRY, YOU END UP PAYING THE CONSEQUENCES Dan Buser
The CFA is in great new hands with these members joining an experienced Board consisting of:
- Dennis Purinton of Purinton Builders in East Granby, CT
- Phil Marone of Marone Contractors in Thorofare, NJ
- Doug Doggett of Doggett Concrete in Charlotte, NC
- Valerie Gore of Solid Foundations in Bellevue, OH
- Doug Herbert of Herbert Construction in Marietta, GA
- Kirby Justesen of SCW Footings & Foundations in Salt Lake City, UT
- Sean Smith of MPW Construction Services in Wellington, OH
- Craig Bradley of Cosella-Dorken Products in Brampton, ONT
- Tom Oury of Schwing America in St. Paul, MN
Under the direction of President Dave Martinson of Martinson Construction in Waterloo, IA, the aggressive pursuit of initiatives and benefits for the Association and industry are assured. The CFA Board will meet at the end of October in Washington D.C. during the ACI Fall Convention, which will include an evening of networking hosted by past presidents Jim Bartley and Buck Bartley and their company, Bartley Corporation.