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We made it through 2008. Not unscathed by any means – membership and dues are both off by nearly 30% from 2007 – but we are here to begin 2009. Survival is the good news. The bad news is that 2009 promises more of the same, at least if you believe practically every economist and analyst in the business. At CFA, we are not about to recede into the trenches. Our members need us now, more than ever. Not as much as you need your banker or customers, but we still feel we can be of value.

The CFA-Certified Contractor Program is up-and-running. The first group of contractors to apply for the program has been approved and CFA has begun to promote the program on a national basis. The first exposure was a half page ad in a recent issue of Concrete Contractor magazine. We are also promoting the program at the upcoming IBS show in January. The message, “Why you should use a CFA-Certified Contractor,” is directed at builders and developers. The message will change at the World of Concrete to, “Why you should be a CFA-Certified Contractor.” We are also considering expanding the certification program to include the designation “Residential Foundation Technician” for those who have passed the qualifications exam. A considerable amount of effort and knowledge is required to pass this comprehensive exam and a method of recognizing those individuals is warranted. It also gives those interested in becoming a CFA certified contractor, but unable to make the full commitment at this time, a way of getting one segment of the program behind them.

The CFA Self-Insurance Program is still progressing. Unless you have shut your doors, you need insurance. The CFA is still performing “due-diligence,” evaluating alternative programs and getting answers to critical questions to make certain the program we recommend is the best one for our members. The current economic slow down hasn’t helped since there are minimum fi gures for both company premiums and number of companies to get the program started. We will keep you informed of our progress.

The Project of the Year competition has received the highest number of submittals in its history. Eighteen foundations were submitted this year. There will be three opportunities for you to vote for your favorite project: The CFA booth at the World of Concrete; the ballot in this issue of CFA Concrete Facts on page 19; or, you can cast your ballots on-line at Make certain you vote before the deadline (Friday at the World of Concrete). Balloting will open the first week in January.

We are continuing with our planning for the 2009 Summer Convention at Amelia Island, hopeful that many of you who missed last year’s can get away in 2009. We have cut the number of rooms in our set-aside by 33% so if you think you might make it, we suggest you get your reservation early. Another great program is in store.

Finally, like most of you, we are also cutting back. The booth at the World of Concrete is smaller, expenses are being scrutinized, and non-essential costs deferred. We are in this for the long-haul and we are using this time to refine programs and benefits that will help all of you be more profitable when the economy turns around – and it will turn around. Give us a call or drop us an email and let us know how you are doing. We wish you the best for 2009 and beyond.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA
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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