Cement Trust Symposium 2013 – First Report

Concrete Solutions from Thought-Leaders

On July 11th and 12th of 2013 the first Cement Trust Symposium was convened in McMinnville, Oregon. The following is a report of the work that the Cement Trust has started in its effort to improve the quality of cement-based building products in the developing nations.

Concrete supply chain leaders

Cement Trust background

After the enormous death-count caused by poor concrete during the Haiti earthquake, concrete experts began to express concerns about the poor cement-based construction methods in developing nations. After 2010 the Haitian people lost all trust in concrete, even though it is the building material of choice for most of the world’s poorest people.

The level of devastation shocked the US concrete industry into the realization that a supply chain was in crisis, and needed attention. Then, just a few months later, a massive earthquake hit Chile and demonstrated the value of a good concrete supply chain – Chile had only 525 deaths compared to the 300,000 deaths in Haiti just months before. One nation had taken the effort to build a concrete value chain and improved disaster resilience while the other had not.

Concrete experts noticed

These two disasters clearly demonstrated the difference between concrete success and failure. Cement Trust began to take shape with the simple idea – Trust must be reinstated in cement-based construction within developing nations. Experts from the highly developed supply chains realized that they must share their expertise and tools to make concrete construction more sustainable during disasters in areas like Haiti.

The shovel is symbolic

Concrete mixing on the ground is a failure of the concrete supply chainThe Cement Trust realized that part of the problem with concrete is represented by the practice of mixing concrete on the ground using shovels. This work is symbolic of the many failures of a broken concrete supply chain. Cement Trust saw this as something that could be fixed by knowledgeable experts if they partnered together.


Gathering Experts

 The first step was to create an awareness campaign with the help of a dynamic group of concrete experts, in the form of a Cement Trust Blog. Over the past couple of years the blog has recorded several hundred postings, comments and followers. Most of the discussions on the site have revolved around reducing disaster risk and building local resilience through an improved local concrete supply chain.

Concrete is the 2nd most consumed product on earth so gathering a database of hundreds of industry thought-leaders who can help with this issue has been easy.

Cement Trust Symposium

It was decided that a symposium should be organized to launch the effort beyond just a discussions of ideas and hopes shared on a blog.  The Symposium was scheduled for July of 2013 with the goal of gathering 10 to 15 experts from the many disciplines in the US concrete supply chain.

The event attracted some significant thought-leaders who contributed their expertise to building a foundation for a formal organization, with the mission to:  Improve the Quality of Cement-based Products in Developing Countries.

Participants included:

Luke Snell – Senior materials engineer, Emeritus engineering professor and the Chair of the International Committee of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), with field-experience in many developing nations.

Tracy Kijewski-Correa is the Linbeck Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Notre Dame.  Her focus on the developing world began with the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Thailand and Indonesia and intensified following the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti. She co-founded E2E: Engineering2Empower to seed an integrated process that empowers local entrepreneurs to deliver engineered modular housing that include local production, retail and construction. E2E will open its first incubator in Leogane, Haiti in the fall of 2013.

Chad Coil – Vice President of Lazarian World Homes, a non-profit building homes in underdeveloped nations using a unique ICF (insulated concrete form) system. Master in Marketing from San Diego State University, with years of experience building homes on Mission Projects. 3 ½ years using concrete to build in developing nations around the world.

Laurel Dovich – A engineering professor with a PhD in Structural Engineering and years of experience living, teaching and working in developing countries. She did post-earthquake assessment and engineering consulting in Haiti quake and for the  Kobe/Hanshin earthquake.

Brad Inman – With 41-years contracting experience with emphasis on concrete construction in the California Bay Area. He is the immediate past-president of the largest concrete contractors association in the US and a 25-year member of the ACI.

Joel Troyer – Founder and Operation Director of Impact of Hope-Haiti, non-profit church-based organization working to help rebuild Haiti with better concrete. Their unique business model links US-based congregations with Haiti-based congregations to provide better concrete technology.

Brett Rose – President, Advanced Crusher Technologies, Woodland, WA. and Dallesport Foundry, Dallesport, WA. ACTECH is a leading manufacturer of aggregate processing and mining solutions.

Billie Snell – Teacher, Researcher, Consultant and Author of many articles on Concrete.  Active member of ACI.

Jake Main – ACTECH consultant with years of experience in aggregate processing and ready-mixed concrete distribution.

Jim Wixon – BS, M.Eng., Iowa State, MS M.Eng., MIT, employed by NASA and owner of a private Computer Consulting business.

Tom Vail – President/Co-owner of Cart-Away Concrete Systems, Inc., sponsor of the Cement Trust Symposium.

Bruce Christensen – Founder of Cement Trust, GM of Cart-Away Concrete Systems, Operates the Cement Trust Blog and organized this conference.

The attendees were facilitated in this two-day session by a strategic planning professional from HP who helped this diverse group establish a vision and set some goals for the organization.

The Future: Work is now beginning in earnest to establish Cement Trust’s vision as critical to the sustainability of construction in developing nations. Effective disaster risk reduction will succeed only when a dynamic concrete supply chain is established in these regions. The evidence provided by both the Haiti and the Chile earthquakes lends support to the mission of Cement Trust and it’s growing list of partners. Cement Trust will expand opportunities for the poor to join a working supply system that will raise their economic futures.  A stronger concrete system will result in more local resiliency and less loss of life and property in the next disaster.  As Cement Trust expands, it will draw-in more and more concrete experts to support those who find themselves with only a shovel to build their homes and their futures.

Thank you to all those who attended and shared your expertise and enthusiasm for this effort. We also thank everyone who expressed an interest to participate yet were unable to attend. We will continue to share the details of this effort as we move forward.


About cementtrust

I am a director with Cement Trust and passionate about improving cement-based production in the poorest nations of the world.
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