Last week, I became president of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). Although I was supposed to move into this position during ACI’s Convention in Chicago, I proudly accepted my new role from the north woods of Minnesota, where we still have three feet of snow, via web conference. I am sure working remotely has become a reality for many of you as well because of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, there is no such thing as “business as usual.” Warren Buffet is famous for saying “don’t bet against the U.S. economy.” I would add, “don’t bet against U.S. science, technology and medicine," we will find a way out of this current pandemic. In the interim, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the resilience of our respective organizations and to explore new ways of doing business.
Whether or not you are a member of ACI, I would like to share my address to the ACI membership as I believe it provides a powerful message to our entire industry about the importance of knowing why we do what we do, the value of partnerships as well as volunteerism. Even in these challenging times, and maybe even more so, I believe these three objectives are key to our survival. I ask you to consider how you can take stock in what it is that you provide to your clients and employees at this juncture. Then, look at ways to collaborate with your partners. Finally, remember that your associations are here to serve you and provide resources and training to help you navigate these waters. Be sure you show up for them as well as volunteer.
Winston Churchill is a hero of mine, both for his achievements and his faults. While I am not suggesting that the current conditions are in any way comparable, I would like to share his viewpoint on becoming prime minster in likely the darkest day in European history. He acknowledged the horrible challenges ahead and said “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Today, I make that same pledge to you, our valued clients. Our team is ready and able to help you navigate through the impact of COVID-19.
I invite you to watch my presentation to the ACI community and contact me with any concerns.
Jeffrey W. Coleman, PE, FACI