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Three New Leaders Take Up The Challenge

DSC09521Meet new CFA Directors Ken Kurszewski of Hottman Construction Company; Lindsay Castles of GMX, Inc.; and Mark Irving of Irving Equipment LLC.

The march toward CFA Convention held each year in late July or early August, includes an opportunity for changes to the leadership of the Association. Over more than forty years leading this industry, a wealth of energy, expertise, passion and balance has been brought to the collection of individuals tasked with steering the organization. This leadership has led in times of large and sustained growth through the years of feast as well as times of stability required during recession.

Author, Jim Rohn has said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” The CFA Board is a reflection of this quote both in its pattern of influence and endurance as well as in the legacy that has been left behind. No different is this year than in years previous when the new Board members, taking over at their first meeting this past month in Denver, met with CFA staff to identify their goals, hopes and influences to reaching this point in their career. Jim Baty, Executive Director for the CFA welcomes Ken Kurszewski of Hottman Construction Company; Lindsay Castles of GMX, Inc.; and Mark Irving of Irving Equipment LLC during orientation as a way of helping you get to know each of them as well. Ken was elected at large by the membership for a 3-year term. Mark and Lindsay were elected to serve as representatives from the Associates’ Council with Mark receiving a 3-year term and Lindsay a 2-year term.

Jim: As we prepare to head toward your first meeting in Denver I’d like to know a few things about you that can help our members identify with your leadership. Each of you have considered participating at the Board level in the past, what would you say inspires you to volunteer your time and attention to the CFA at this moment?

Ken Kurszewski

Ken Kurszewski

Ken: Hottmann Construction has been a member of CFA since 2002 but I really wasn’t active until just a few years ago. I was overwhelmed with the members of the Association and their willingness to share information. This inspired me to become even more active and volunteer to serve on the Board.

Lindsay: That is an easy question. The CFA is a great organization that is ultimately driven by the people that are committed to its success. I am excited for the opportunity to spend more time around those great people for the common cause of advancing foundation walls in the residential building industry.

Mark: My inspiration to give time to the CFA is seeing all the generations before me that have given so much. I think it is “our” part to keep a legacy going.

Jim: There is a resounding consistency with your responses to what I’ve experienced from those directors that have come before you. I know you each have such leadership in mind when you think of the CFA Board. What is the very first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase Concrete Foundations Association or think of the CFA?

Lindsay Castles

Lindsay Castles

Lindsay: Close Knit Group

Ken: The first thing that comes to my mind is the summer convention and how much I have learned at that event, both from the seminars and the other attendees.

Mark: What comes to mind is, when I heard long time CFA members say; “I can remember when we used to talk about pouring concrete at these meetings. Now we talk about Worker’s Comp., DOT compliance and sexual harassment. All good stuff. A company has to really keep up.” I think the CFA is doing an excellent job of “keeping up” and actually leading the cast in place industry with great technical articles and great real-life information a company can use and needs.

Jim: Ken, you mention Convention and its impact on you and Mark, you also mention the focus that has evolved over time within the rich heritage of this organization. What CFA event would each of you consider as the one that has meant the most to you or that you got the most from when it comes to investing in your company?

Mark Irving

Mark Irving

Mark: Honestly, I cannot think of one special event that stands out as it seems that each event gets more interesting and get more out of each one (because I put more into each one).

Ken: The 2013 summer convention in Albuquerque was the first event that I attended. This, as I mentioned above, was what made me realize I need to be active in the association to help me grow my business and my knowledge.

Lindsay: The summer meeting in my mind is the best opportunity to really experience the CFA. I enjoy it the most.

Jim: Membership in an organization seems like an easy thing but we know it challenges the average industry professional. Leadership is yet another step above and beyond that measure of commitment and comes at a definite price to both company and individual. I hear you each responding about the impact you’ve felt already from involvement that you are taking to a deeper level. Is there any specific area of your business that you believe the CFA has influenced, inspired or impacted?

Ken: We have made several changes over the last few years. I love coming back to Wisconsin and sharing ideas with the rest of the team. We have made changes in equipment, safety policies and organizational structure to name a few. Many of these changes and ideas have come from talking with other members.

Mark: Hands down—Safety. The CFA has created so much awareness for the safety of employees on the job from running better equipment to knowing what hazards are around the site and dealing with drug use.

Lindsay: We have had the opportunity to interact with many members of the CFA to advance the cause of the below grade waterproofing industry. It has been a great pleasure for GMX to be involved with the membership and develop lasting relationships that will endure many years to come.

Jim: So, now that you have found yourself to a seat on the Board, can you identify two or three things that you would like to see happen within the CFA during your first term as a Board member?

Lindsay: I would love to see the CFA participation grow with contractors placing a higher value on being associated with the CFA.

Mark: Some of the things I would like to see are: increased membership and getting more existing members to CFA events, maybe by personal invites from non-competitors.

Ken: The main thing for me is to continue and expand the collaboration between members, whether it is at the convention or outside of it. Another is to continue to build the membership and attendance at the conventions. Oh, and get golf back into the summer convention!

Jim: Gentlemen, the CFA is in for some great things through the addition of your leadership and your passion for this industry and this Association. I want to leave our readers with something tangible to make sure they don’t think this is written in a vacuum or that you’ve signed your name to a list of responses. So, I’m going to toss out a favorite subject or item and want you each to respond to the first thing that comes to you. Maybe this will strike up an extra conversation or two the first time you are with other members. Your responses are shown along with a quick bit of biographical information. Thanks for your time here in Denver and for the contributions you are already making on behalf of not just the hundreds of members of the Association but the thousands of contractors out there reading this and benefitting from the leadership of this Association.

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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