In June, the NPCA Foundation Board of Directors held a strategic planning meeting in San Diego, in conjunction with the 2018 ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition, where they discussed the future of the Foundation and how to best advance the precast concrete industry. During the meeting, the board refined their mission and identified new opportunities to help NPCA members with their business needs, including workforce development.
The Foundation also sponsored the concrete canoe competition, which was hosted by San Diego State University. This is the third year the Foundation has been involved with concrete canoe and ASCE’s 31st annual competition. Concrete canoe attracts more than 200 schools to local and regional competitions nationwide. The top 24 teams are then invited to the national competition.
As a sponsor of the event, the Foundation participated in both display and race days where they hosted a tent to network with students and faculty from schools mainly from the United States and Canada. Foundation board members and NPCA professional staff met nearly 200 students, sharing information with them about the many career opportunities in the precast concrete industry, as well as unique applications for precast. Additionally, they talked with students about Foundation scholarship and internship opportunities at NPCA member companies.
“Because of our outreach effort at the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition, the Foundation was able to bring in almost 70 new student and faculty members of NPCA,” said Marti Harrell, NPCA Foundation executive director. “These students and faculty are now connected to our network of NPCA members for plant tours, lunch and learns at their schools, and internship and job opportunities within the precast concrete industry. The Foundation is working to connect NPCA members and future engineers with the goal of bringing qualified engineers to the industry to work, and to keep precast concrete top of mind for those engineers who end up in specifying roles once they are out of school.
“I encourage NPCA producer and associate members to get involved with their local schools to be a resource for concrete canoe teams, and for students and faculty in general. Opening your plant for plant tours is a great way to introduce yourself to the local school and an excellent way to get precast into the forefront of engineering and construction management. If you’re not sure how to get started, NPCA professional staff is always willing to help with resources and introductions to schools in your area.”
California Polytechnic State University’s concrete canoe team took home the big prize with their Vincent van Gogh-inspired canoe, repeating their 2017 win. University of Florida and Université Laval came in second and third, respectively.
The Foundation will sponsor the 2019 ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition, which will be held at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla.