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Are You Willing to Reach Into Your Stocking?

In seemingly a blink of an eye, we have gone from our Concrete Foundations Convention in July, through the ACI Fall Convention in Cincinnati, and promptly right through Christmas and New Year’s Eve. While I am writing this a couple of weeks before that actually happens, I realize you are reading this after it has all taken place. So, to make it even more unbelievable, it is now time for World of Concrete. Can it ever slow down?!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been describing the Association as your toolbox. It seems an appropriate analogy, given that every contractor can agree tools are second only to your workers, in terms of critical value. But it seems to me that tools are actually objects; they fit in your hand and, with use, clearly make a visible impact on the work environment. Benefits provided by the CFA, on the other hand, are often more intellectual or experience based.

With Christmas comes a time of giving presents and seeing the familiar stockings hung by the fireplace. There is a romanticized yet real joy about the way children, generation after generation, awake all giddy on Christmas morn and race to see what fills their stockings from St. Nick. Some will grab the stocking by the toe and dump it out on the floor in front of them, seeing everything at once with wide eyes. Others – patiently, excitedly – will pull out special items one by one with “ooh’s” and “ahh’s.” 

That’s it! It is so often like that, month after month, working for this membership. Even members that serve on the board may not fully recognize the gift they give themselves in membership until they are unexpectedly introduced to a needed advocacy position or to a peer whose experience is similar to their current challenge. Yes, the job of your Association is to continue finding ways for the value to be refreshed, new, exciting and, in many ways, unsuspected. 2020 will be just that for CFA members. We will unveil a new interactive membership site that offers real-time, searchable forums to replace the current email conversation Hotline. There will be forums that will be more specific to subject matter or areas of expertise. 

Speaking of expertise, we will also be introducing a forum moderated by selected experts from diverse backgrounds to offer more professional and constant feedback than what is typically received in more social-based forums. Convention this year will feature renewed attention to the pursuit of profitability and attention to diversified and maximized revenue sources. Even energy for solving the quandary that is the concrete housing market will come to life. These are all ways we are keeping the CFA fresh and offering contractors, whether founding members or newly welcomed to membership, a chance to reach into a stocking to find something surprising.

In 1897, Francis Church responded to young Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the editor with one of the most famous phrases in the history of print: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” As you have each no doubt celebrated what is most important to you these past couple of weeks, I hope each of you who own or manage a concrete contracting company not yet a CFA member might take on a similar wide-eyed and curious interest to this Association. The CFA, made by contractors just like you, cares to maintain your access to the most important, intangible ways for you to constantly be better than your competition, better for your employees, even better for your customers. To borrow from Church’s closing, I hope that a hundred years from now, nay ten generations from now, CFA will continue to make better the profession of being a residential concrete contractor.

James Baty

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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