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Leading the Way – Part Two

World Cement,

This is the second of a 4-part article. To read part one, click here.

Q With more plants investing in expansion and upgrade projects, do you think there is room for significant growth within the US industry? Will we see greenfield projects being announced in the near future?

John Stull: Lafarge is, in fact, one of the companies that is investing in an upgrade project. We are modernising our cement plant in Ravena, New York, and anticipate it to be online by June 2016. Our modernised plant will provide us with an opportunity to better serve our customers in this market and allows us to continue contributing to Building Better Cities and communities across this region and specifically address the state of New York’s commitment toward sustainable infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Additionally, not only will our more environmentally efficient plant provide high quality cement to serve our customers and address the needs of Ravena’s market, it will serve those across the Northeast from Boston to New York and into Eastern Canada.

Q What is the PCA’s role and how has it changed over the years?

JS: PCA’s role has evolved from a pure technical resource at its founding to now include more focus on federal advocacy, especially around regulatory standards and codes for our industry. The industry continues to focus on the role of concrete in a sustainable built environment, whether it is resiliency, the ability of strong communities built with concrete to bounce back faster from a natural disaster, or low heating and cooling costs enjoyed by the owners of a home built with insulated concrete forms.

All these changes are addressed while continuing to maintain our focus on national and local promotion initiatives that drive gains in both market share and market size. As such, there is an increased emphasis by the Association and the industry to support research that promotes the use, attributes and benefits of concrete.

Finally, there are many local promotion activities at work where our regional promotional groups partner with various paving and building organisations.

James Toscas: At the most basic level, PCA collects, organises, and provides essential knowledge and information to improve the cement industry, develop its markets, and address the technical, regulatory, and legislative challenges and opportunities it faces. During nearly 100 years of service, the role of PCA has shifted in response to changes in the industry and the markets it serves. However, our basic message remains the same: concrete is a durable, economical and sustainable building material that can meet building needs now and for the foreseeable future.

Although PCA was at one time the only major organisation serving the business interests of the cement and concrete industries in the US, the cement and concrete industry has matured and we now have a variety of more specialised organisations. Many of these are PCA spinoffs, developed to address the unique needs of masonry, pipe, precast and other products, as well as markets like paving. In the future I see PCA providing the “cement” (pun intended!) to help bond these groups together to advance the industry in a cohesive fashion with unified messages.

This is an excerpt from the interview published in World Cement’s IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference Supplement. To read part 3, click here.

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